Recent History of Tom's Creek
Glatfelter’s Tree Farm #1 was designated Pennsylvania’s first Tree Farm in 1947. During that time, until it was put up for sale in 2007, the 2,500-acre tree farm was a local natural and recreational resource while being actively managed for timber production.
When Glatfelter Pulp Wood Company decided to sell Tree Farm #1, there were many interested buyers who wanted to develop the property. Concerned local citizens worried that the property’s water resources, wildlife habitat and recreational opportunities were threatened. So they banded together and worked to raise funds from the local taxpayers, from the county, the state, the federal government, and from various conservation-minded organizations to purchase the land so that it would be preserved in its beautiful natural state.
In March 2008, The Conservation Fund purchased the property and served as temporary owner while more than $13 million was raised to complete the project and transfer it to the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR), to become part of Michaux State Forest.
The coalition of partners who raised funds included local citizens, Hamiltonban Township, Adams County, other townships and boroughs in the
region, DCNR, the United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service, the Pennsylvania congressional delegation, the Land Conservancy of Adams County, The Nature Conservancy, and the Richard K. Mellon Foundation.
At the time the property was turned over to the citizens of Pennsylvania, in May 2010, Hamiltonban Township Supervisor Colleen Reamer said, “Future generations will applaud our efforts. It is an important part of our regional watershed that supplies Hamiltonban Township and its many neighboring communities with a precious, clean water supply.”
The Conservation Fund said: “The 2,500-acre property abuts the Strawberry Hill Nature Preserve, serves as a buffer to the popular Appalachian Trail corridor and lies within the viewshed of Gettysburg National Park. It sits at the headwaters of much of western Adams County’s water supply and its protection will help provide clean air and water to county residents.
Increased opportunities for hunting, fishing, hiking, wildlife viewing and other forms of recreation, combined with on-site sustainable forest management by DCNR, will provide a long-term boost to the local economy.”
Specialty Granules, Inc. (SGI), formerly ISP, and DCNR worked out a deal wherein SGI acquired a 112-acre parcel at the intersection of Gum Springs Road and Mount Hope Road. In exchange, DCNR acquired three in-holding parcels of land. Residents appreciated DCNR’s efforts to protect and maintain the three in-holding parcels. Friends of Tom’s Creek would like to help SGI prevent the 112-acre parcel from adversely impacting Tom’s Creek.
In April 2013, Hamiltonban Township Supervisors approved the rezoning of Pine Hill from conserved forest land to industrial, clearing the way for Specialty Granules Inc. to mine the property adjacent to Tom's Creek and Michaux State Forest.
In February 2014, the Hamiltonban Township Supervisors approved the mine's conditional use application, clearing the way for mining to take place within 300 feet of the center line of the creek. The mine has indicated that it intends to apply for a mining permit from the Bureau of Mines (DEP) and will proceed at the appropriate time with removing the trees and overburden (rock) from the mountain in preparation for mining. Eventually Pine Hill will be a pit about 400 to 500 feet deep.