With over 136,000 acres of permanently-protected land, approximately 28% of the county is preserved as open space or agricultural land. This web page provides data on open space preservation, an overview of county open space policies, and links to conservancies and other open space partners.
Programs and Projects
Chester County Protected Open Space Tracking (POST)
Every year the Chester County Planning Commission inventories and maps all protected open space in the County including conservation easements, agricultural easements, and public parkland. View a webmap of these properties as well as information about the program.
Each year the Planning Commission asks each municipality and non-profit land trust to submit information on parcels of land that have been protected within the past year. Submit parcel information into the POST on-line inventory. Individuals with questions about POST should contact the POST administrator at POSTadmin@chesco.org or (610)-344-6285.
Protected open spaces provide substantial economic, environmental, and health benefits to surrounding communities, but these benefits are often overlooked or undervalued in policy debates and investment decisions. A better understanding of these benefits can demonstrate how protected open space contributes to economic development and fiscal stability and can reverse the common misconception that conserved undeveloped land is non-productive and non-revenue producing. Chester County partnered with the major land conservancies active in the county, as well as the Chester County Economic Development Council and Chester County Association of Township Officials to produce the Return on Environment report that estimates the economic impact of the county's protected open space. View the report.
County-Wide Planning Policies
Landscapes3 is the comprehensive plan for Chester County, and renews the county's commitment to balancing growth and preservation to foster vibrant communities. Landscapes3 is organized around six goal areas: Preserve, Protect, Appreciate, Live, Prosper, and Connect, and addresses land use, growth, and preservation as part of the Landscapes Map. Open space is addressed primarily within the Preserve goal area of Landscapes3, with additional discussion as part of the Landscapes Map and within Live.
Linking Landscapes was the open space element of the county's prior comprehensive plan. View the plan.
Watersheds is the county-wide Stormwater Management Plan, which was produced by the Chester County Water Resources Authority in 2002. It includes recommendations for prioritizing the preservation of land that can help protect water quality and minimize flooding, such as riparian buffers and floodplains. View the plan.
Issues and Trends
View a summary of preservation efforts in Chester County.
There are many organizations based in or working in Chester County who protect open space in the county, either on their own or in conjunction with the County or State. View a list of these preservation organizations.