The Girard farm is owned and overseen by the Hagen History Center
GIRARD — Lake Erie Region Conservancy has conserved more than 80 acres of the Battles Farm in Girard borough and township.
The conservancy obtained a conservation easement for 84.5 acres of the farm from the Hagen History Center, which owns and oversees the property.
“The Battles Farm acquisition will protect the property from being subdivided, fragmented or developed, which benefits the local community, economy, water quality of Elk Creek, and wildlife,” David Skellie, LERC board president and coastal land use specialist for Pennsylvania Sea Grant, said in a statement.
The farm was established by the Battles family in the 1860s. Originally 300 acres, the farm produced potatoes, corn, wheat and barley. Nut trees, grapes and a fruit orchard once flourished on the property.
Almost 170 acres were sold or developed over past decades.
The farm today is just 131 acres and includes a walking trail through a woodland of mature native trees and a more recently planted grove of American chestnuts. Efforts to conserve all of the remaining acreage are being discussed, Skellie said.
Conserving the property will help preserve it for future generations in keeping with the legacy of Charlotte Elizabeth Battles, the last Battles family owner of the farm, Hagen History Center Executive Director George Deutsch said in a statement.
“The history of the Battles family runs deep in Girard and all of Erie County, and we are proud to be the stewards of the Battles Trust,” Deutsch said.
The conservation project was funded by the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Natural Resources and the Erie Insurance Giving Network, with the donation value matched by the Hagen History Center.
Technical assistance was provided by Pennsylvania Sea Grant.
Lake Erie Region Conservancy now holds five perpetual conservation easements valued at almost $2.3 million and protecting more than 226 acres.
The conservancy also owns nine tracts of land totaling 208 acres and valued at $1.3 million in Pennsylvania’s Lake Erie watershed.
The Battles Farm property is outlined on the map, above. The cross-hatched area denotes the 84-pus acres that have been conserved for the public. [Contributed]