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Public Invited to Hear Ideas for Musser Gap to Valleylands Project
Pennsylvania Ag Connection - 04/22/2019

Penn State landscape architecture students will present five ideas for the Musser Gap to Valleylands project at a community conversation event from 6 to 8 p.m. on April 25 at the Foxdale Village auditorium, 500 E. Marylyn Ave., in State College.

The event builds on two previous events that sought to engage the campus and local community in a dialogue about the project, which aims to conserve land Penn State owns that is roughly between Whitehall Road and Rothrock State Forest at Musser Gap, in Ferguson Township just outside of University Park campus.

"We encourage the community to come out and hear how all of the feedback has been shaped into five landscape ideas," said Deb Nardone, executive director at ClearWater Conservancy. ClearWater Conservancy has partnered with Penn State to help facilitate public input. "The students gathered input from our community through several community forums, surveys and stakeholder interviews. We're excited for our community to see how their input is helping to shape conservation for these 365 acres."

Penn State President Eric Barron will be on hand at the April 25 event, helping kick off the event and outlining next steps. The event will also include an open-house style viewing of each idea and an opportunity for community members to examine and discuss the concepts.

The Musser Gap to Valleylands (MG2V) project was announced by Barron in December 2018. The 365-acre property includes the Musser Greenway Trail and is bordered by Rothrock State Forest and the proposed Whitehall Road Regional Park.

For the project, the University partnered with ClearWater Conservancy, which focuses on conserving and restoring the natural resources in central Pennsylvania. ClearWater has been working with the community and gathering input from local residents on the MG2V project.

A team of Penn State undergraduate and graduate students spent the fall 2018 semester carefully studying the property as part of an upper-level landscape architecture course, which was sponsored by E+D: Ecology plus Design, a new Penn State center in development.

A second landscape architecture class, also sponsored by E+D, is continuing the work this semester. The spring team is expanding on the fall effort by seeking input from stakeholders both within and outside of Penn State. As part of the work, students and ClearWater staff developed an online survey to gather community input on the project.

The students presented preliminary land-use scenarios on March 28, based on the values and interests that students have gleaned from stakeholder input and from the fall site analysis.

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