Strategic Plan

Mission Statement

The purpose of the Department of Parks and Preservation is to provide preservation, recreation, educational, and stewardship services to the residents and visitors of Chester County so they can connect with natural and cultural resources and thrive in a sustainable healthy community. 

Department Issues

Issue 1: Development / Population Increase
The increasing development pressures due to population increases, if not managed as they have been planned for, will result in:

  • Development of land and placement of infrastructure in locations that contain critical natural resources
  • Loss of open space and recreational resources for public benefit
  • Infrastructure upgrades and expansion that threatens current open space
  • Land values increasing beyond agricultural industry accessibility
  • Violation of Article 1 Section 27 of the State of Pennsylvania’s Constitution
  • The people have a right to clean air, pure water, and to the preservation of the natural, scenic, historic and esthetic values of the environment.
  • Diminished desirability of Chester County as a place to live and work

Issue 2: Connection to Nature (Recreation & Education)
The continuing risk that citizens are not educated about and connected to preserved open space, stewardship, and recreation put the community at risk of:

  • Lower quality of life
  • Increase in mental health issues, suicide, depression, etc
  • Losing sight of the value of nature and open space preservation
  • Losing local food sources
  • Increase health care costs, workers comp, medical expenses
  • Loss of public and political support to protect and steward natural resources
  • Losing sense of place and the history of Chester County

Issue 3: Land Values
The increasing value of land and declining available funding, if not addressed will result in:

  • Agricultural land not obtainable for active farming
  • Unprotected land being purchased for development
  • Higher taxes (increased cost of community services)
  • Loss of potential preserved open space and decreased rate of preservation
  • Fragmentation of and lack of connectivity / access to preserved open space

Issue 4: Agriculture
The increasing volatility of the existing agricultural industry and increasing economic pressures associated with changing trends, if not anticipated and addressed, will result in:

  • The demise of the agricultural sector as a primary economic driver
  • The lack of production of local food products 
  • Existing farms inability to thrive in future business environment
  • Loss of farming by the next generation farmer
  • Loss of agro-tourism
  • Loss of jobs
  • Loss of active farmlands to other uses or unproductive land

Issue 5: Environment
The increasing pressures on land if it is not preserved and properly stewarded will result in:

  • Decrease in climate resiliency
  • Loss of environmental benefits
  • Filter pollutants – Water quality
  • Replenish water supply
  • Flood mitigation
  • Clean air pollution – Air quality
  • Carbon sequestration
  •  Loss of native habitats (wildlife / insects / birds / flora / fauna)    

Strategic Goal - Preserve Open Lands and Sense of Place
By 2024, Chester County citizens and visitors will benefit from an established platform of awareness concerning the value of open lands, stewardship, and environmental and economic benefits from preservation in the form of farms, preserves, parks, and trails so critical natural resources, quality of life, and sense of place are preserved in Chester County as evidenced by:

  • 32% of the acreage in Chester County will be preserved as protected open lands
  • 2% increase in preserved farmland; an additional 7,000 acres
  • 90% of preservation grants (commercial farmland, municipal, conservancy) will be in compliance with program guidelines
  • 85% of municipalities have been engaged to provide direct communication, support, and educational information to assist them in providing accurate information and awareness to their residents.
  • 80% of partner organizations are met with annually to identify program offerings and collaboration opportunities.
  • 85% of park program participants express the program exceeded their expectations