Be Protected - YCPC Logo

be aware.
be proactive.
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protect york’s resources.

York County is located in a beautiful region that attracts people for its lush, rolling hills, proximity to undisrupted nature, strong agricultural heritage, welcoming community and quality of life.

So much of what makes York County attractive needs to be protected for the future generations. Open spaces are an important part of keeping the County beautiful and economically viable, and plays a key role in keeping its residents healthy.

York County Open Space and Land Preservation Grant Program

The 2021 York County Open Space and Land Preservation Grant Program will be announced in the spring and the application period will open this summer. We will be evaluating applications and announcing grant awards in December.

Municipalities and charitable non-profit organizations with 501 (c) status may apply for funds to acquire land for natural resource protection or parkland. Funding is also available to York County municipalities to conduct planning studies and to develop portions of comprehensive plans and ordinances to address the County Comprehensive Plan’s open space, land protection, sensitive natural features, and agricultural protection related goals and objectives.

Check out the links below to get more information and apply for a grant.

Grant Program Guidelines
Apply for Grant
Grant FAQs

The York County Open Space and Land Preservation Program is dedicated to helping communities and non-profit organizations around the County to preserve and protect open space that can be enjoyed by both current and future generations.

York County Open Space and Land Preservation Virtual Grants Workshop

Click to Watch the Recorded Workshop  

A workshop that was held on August 17, 2020 provides an overview of the York County Open Space and Land Preservation Grants Program and the application process.  Please click on the workshop video to learn more about the grants program and how you can leverage DCNR’s program for matching funds.

In the spring of 2019, the York County Land Protection Committee commissioned the Arthur J. Glatfelter Institute for Public Policy to better understand the perspectives of York County residents towards protecting open space, as well as residents’ desire to establish a dedicated, sustainable source of funding for open space protection.  The following links provide an overview and full report of the survey results.


Survey Results – Overview
Survey Results – Full Report
Survey Results – Presentation

What are open spaces and why should they be protected?

Open space is publicly or privately-owned land and water that is:

  • Providing areas for passive or active public recreation (parks and trails)

  • Privately owned agricultural land managed for food and fiber production

  • Predominately in a natural state

  • Protecting natural or historic resources (water, air, soil, minerals, forests, wildlife)

  • Preserving scenic quality and maintaining community character

Open Spaces Video

Today, only 12% of York County is protected open space.

Did you know that open spaces also contribute to the overall wellbeing of our environment?

For every acre of land protected, you…

  • Protect drinking water supplies

  • Recharge groundwater and aquifers

  • Provide recreational and aesthetic values

  • Provide habitat for wildlife

  • Absorb air pollution

  • Cool urban communities in the summer

  • Help water quality through natural filtration

  • Ensure generations of farmers

York County has a goal to protect 2,500 acres annually. Since 2009, we’ve been missing the mark on protecting our open lands to keep up with quality of life.

See how York County is currently protected with our interactive map.

Interactive Map
York County Crops

York County is comprised of 583,040 acres. Of that, 71,555 acres are currently protected. There are approximately 85,000 additional acres that are worthy of protection.

These efforts started in the 1950s through state park dedications. Land protection continued through the 1990s with county park dedications and agricultural and natural lands protection.

How This
Affects You

Communities that prioritize protecting open spaces and agricultural lands:

  • Boost small businesses

  • Attract retirees and families

  • Have a more robust tourism industry

  • Have access to fresh, local foods

  • Strengthen the natural environment

  • Benefit from additional tax revenue with decreased cost of public services

Land is a finite resource and efforts to protect open space are essential to maintaining and improving the quality of life, health and economic opportunities for the citizens of York County, now and for future generations.

Taking Better Care of York County

The goal of the York County Land Protection Strategy is to create a long-term viable funding stream to protect and preserve land through purchases or permanent easements.

A stable and predictable funding source should be used to create a coordinated and connected landscape by preserving our agricultural economy, providing land for recreation, preserving natural habitats and protecting our waterways.

York County Farmland Open Space - Be Aware

Download the Cost of Community Services study and Conservation: An Investment That Pays to learn more about open spaces.

Grant funding used to support this effort was provided by the York County Community Foundation and the Powder Mill Foundation.

York County Community Foundation Logo

York County Land
Protection Partners

york county conservation district logoyork county planning commission logoCounty of York LogosFarm Lands Trust LogoYork County Parks LogoPreserving York County Agriculture Resources logo

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