Thompson Woods Preserve
Thompson Woods Preserve (TWP) is a 43.36-acre natural area consisting of trails and natural ecological features. This public preserve offers a unique natural setting within walking distance of the surrounding urban environment of downtown State College and the Pennsylvania State University. TWP property is jointly owned by College Township and the Borough of State College. The preserve operates under normal municipal park rules in addition to having specific regulations set forth to protect the natural habitat.
Encouraged Activities in TWP:
Thompson Woods Preserve is restricted to passive outdoor recreation use because of its vulnerability to perturbation and further disturbances that result from the surrounding urban development.
• Hiking, Walking, Running
• Nature study (birding, etc.)
• Scientific research (by permission)
The purpose of a preservation is to protect the natural environment from the negative effects of anthropogenic activity. Nature preserves are land areas that are conserved to maintain and restore the natural ecological conditions within an urbanizing environment. Preservation is necessary because population increase and urban development poses a threat to the natural environment.
The Benefits of Land Conservation
• Protection of Water Resources
• Providing green spaces in urban environments
• Enhancing outdoor recreation opportunities
• Protecting fish and wildlife habitat
In January 2000, the Thompson Woods Residential Subdivision was initially proposed by the property ownership group, Smith Partnership. Recognizing the value in preserving the forested residual tract, Clearwater Conservancy secured a $500,000 Pennsylvania Department of Conservation of Natural Resources (DCNR) Land Trust grant for acquisition of the property. College Township, the Borough of State College, and the public also contributed toward the property acquisition.
In October 2000, the residential subdivision under ownership of the Smith Partnership was approved. Shortly thereafter, on November 13, 2000, a sales agreement was reached between the Smith Partnership and Clearwater Conservancy for the 43.36-acre residual tract remaining from the Residential Subdivision known as Thompson Woods Preserve. Clearwater Conservancy subsequently transferred the deeds of the Thompson Woods Preserve to the Township of College (36.61 acres) and the Borough of State College (6.75 acres).
In 2022, College Township and the Borough of State College recognized that a new governance structure was required for Thompson Woods Preserve to ensure proper adherence to the property covenants and the Thompson Woods Preserve Management Plan.
To that end, the municipalities entered into a Intermunicipal Cooperation Agreement establishing a new governance structure for the Thompson Woods Preserve consisting of two distant committees and further outlining the purpose, objective(s), structure, duration, power and scope of authority being delegated under the newly established governance structure and the manner and extent of any necessary financial obligations pursuant to this agreement.
The Thompson Woods Preserve Advisory and Governance Committees membership were fully appointed and began their work in the Spring of 2023.