Welsh Mountain Nature Preserve in East Earl Township has expanded by 23 acres, raising its total to 940 acres.
The acquisition was eight years in the making, according to a statement from Lancaster Conservancy, which indicated the preserve's last expansion 10 acres in 2016.
The new tract "is one of the last remaining forested properties adjacent to the preserve, which also borders Money Rocks County Park," the statement said.
Together, the preserve and park total 1,267 acres preserved for recreation and habitat, "the second-largest contiguous forest in Lancaster County," and the addition enhances the security of the Pequea Creek and Mill Creek watersheds.
According to the conservancy, the purchase was aided by a 2018 grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.
Also, matching contributions from the Ressler Mill Foundation, Lancaster County Community Foundation and conservancy board member Michael Flanagan; and the Welsh Mountain Fund supplied by private individuals, the townships of Caernarvon, East Earl and Salisbury, and Chester County Solid Waste Authority.
The conservancy started acquiring land for the preserve in 2008 and — although the growing area had been in public use since that time — held a formal opening ceremony in 2015, when it totaled 906 acres.
The conservancy's first 24-hour BioBlitz at the preserve also happened recently, with community partners and experts from Millersville University searching the area and identifying many species of plants and animals.
More information on the BioBlitz findings is at natureatlas.org/all/welsh/.