Eastern Delaware County has almost no remaining forests, so it cannot afford to lose the few it has left. Losing 213 acres of taxpayer-subsidized woods adjoining Don Guanella in Marple Township will substantially increase downstream flooding and will seriously impact the air quality of that part of the county. Sadly, Delaware County came in 3,126th place out of 3,143 counties nationwide in one dangerous air pollution category. Our elected officials need to do everything in their power to keep this crisis from getting worse by working with all interested parties to save this forest.
In recognition of the ongoing open space crisis in Delaware County, we, the undersigned, ask Delaware County elected officials as well as the Archdiocese of Philadelphia to use their influence and position to facilitate the protection of the 213 acre taxpayer-subsidized forest adjoining Don Guanella in Marple Township. Forests provide many health benefits for residents and the mature woods in Marple Township are no exception. Not only have untold thousands of residents used this place for many decades for all sorts of passive recreational activities, this forest provides substantial air quality benefits to the people of Marple and eastern Delaware County.
This is especially important in light of Delaware County’s extremely low national air quality ranking by the American Lung Association. Losing 213 densely wooded acres would further degrade Delaware County’s air quality which would pose a serious additional health risk to the children of the county. Losing this forest would also exacerbate flooding in downstream communities from Springfield to Darby. Finally, because Delaware County, Marple Township, and Newtown taxpayers paid higher rates for more than a century to cover what the Archdiocese was not paying in taxes on this land, taxpayers ought to have a say in its disposition. (We don't begrudge the Church's tax exempt status, but given how much taxpayers have helped the Archdiocese own this land, it's more than reasonable for taxpayers to be offered the chance to save this forest.) We ask, then, that the county and other elected officials help assemble a consortium of parties to purchase the land from the Archdiocese so that it can be preserved for future generations.