In October 2013, the Land Protection team closed an easement on Sunny Acres, a 183-acre easement (primarily agricultural) in the Back Creek watershed that is contiguous with three existing Conservancy easements. Together, these four properties form a green hub that extends over 600 acres of protected land!
Sunny Acres is owned by John Venskoske and is managed by John, his wife Charlotte, and their sons. John was inspired to protect his acreage from future subdivision after his neighbors placed over 300 acres of land into conservation easement. Wealthy developers’ purchasing rural land and then subdividing it, is a very real threat when your property is less than 10 miles from downtown Winchester, VA!
John is a farmer, as was his father on this very property. As such, the 183-acre easement is primarily agricultural with just 18 acres under forest management. Back Creek splits the property almost directly down the middle, with cattle pastures on both sides. Working with Potomac Conservancy staff and Lord Fairfax Soil and Water Conservation District, John is installing stream fencing and off-stream waterers that will make it easier for him to abide by the easement restrictions on cattle in the riparian area, while still enabling him to manage a productive working farm and healthy pastures. Sunny Acres adjoins several other large properties. It is John’s hope that his neighbors will embrace the advancement of land and water protection and pursue permanent protection of their lands.
The easement placed on Sunny Acres by the Venskoske family helps preserve local and regional stream health as the waters of Back Creek meander into the Shenandoah River and ultimately flow into the Potomac.
Potomac Conservancy wishes to thank its members and supporters for helping us advance land conservation in the Potomac’s highlands including the Agua Fund, American Rivers, Dominion, and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Learn more about Potomac Conservancy’s Easement > program.