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PENNSYLVANIA TURNPIKE DEEDS WETLANDS TO BIG BEAVER BOROUGH

       PENNSYLVANIA TURNPIKE DEEDS WETLANDS TO BIG BEAVER BOROUGH
    PITTSBURGH, April 14 /PRNewswire/ -- In an unprecedented venture, the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission has met with officials of Big Beaver Borough in Beaver County regarding the transfer of a 14-acre wetland site on the Beaver Valley Expressway project.
    Commissioner James J. Dodaro said, "This is another first for the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission.  We are planning some limited development on the site.  When complete, we propose turning the wetlands area over to Big Beaver for use as a small picnic area with a pond and nature trail for local residents."
    John L. Sokol Jr., executive director for the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission, stated, "In building the Beaver Valley Expressway, we impacted about 13.6 acres of existing wetlands.  The law requires us to replace that acreage one for one.  The Turnpike Commission voted to take two parcels -- one part is a lake and the other is a proposed wetland. In these areas, the turnpike will provide a gravel trail for nature walks, along with an overlook area, a picnic area, and a small parking lot for public use."
    The site, located along State Route 168 north of New Galilee, Pa., may have other future public uses including the possibility of a location for nature and science outdoor education classes for Beaver County's school students.
    In return for the property, Big Beaver Borough must agree not to sell the land, must keep the site in the public domain for perpetuity, and would agree to the commission's right to expand the site for additional mitigation if necessary.
    This proposed action has pleased the Department of Environmental Resources (DER).  Roger Fickes, chief of the Division of Rivers and Wetlands Conservation of the Bureau of Water Resources Management for the DER, said he is excited about the new venture because it will not only preserve the wetland area but will provide for its future protection by a local authority.
    Joseph R. Lindsay, president of Big Beaver Borough Council, said, "Council as a whole thinks it's a good idea.  We hope to maintain it as a natural setting for residents to enjoy the wildlife."
    Lindsay added that there are no plans to develop the site for hunting.  The water will be too shallow for any use other than as food for birds and wildlife.
    Lindsay said that Big Beaver Borough Council members anticipate the public will use the area primarily as a facility where residents can stop to admire the naturally beautiful surroundings.
    -0-                      4/14/92
    /CONTACT:  Clare E. Doran of the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission, 412-856-0886/ CO:  Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission ST:  Pennsylvania IN:  TRN SU:


KA-MP -- PH022 -- 8277 04/14/92 12:15 EDT EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Apr 14, 1992
Words:445
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