Island Ford Farm; a Legacy of Protection

"If I am lucky enough to get a weekend pass out of the Pearly Gates 100 years from now or later, I will come back to visit Island Ford Farm and I want it to look exactly like I left, only better" - Larry Vance, picture with former Potomac Conservancy Staff, Emily Warner, the day the easement closed.

"If I am lucky enough to get a weekend pass out of the Pearly Gates 100 years from now or later, I will come back to visit Island Ford Farm and I want it to look exactly like I left, only better" - Larry Vance, picture with former Potomac Conservancy Staff, Emily Warner, the day the easement closed.

Sometimes, even though permanent protection of a beautiful piece of land is something that everyone wants, it can take a while to make it happen.

That was the case with Island Ford Farm, an easement that closed last July. Two generations of landowners, three government agencies and Potomac Conservancy all worked together over the course of many years to protect this working farm property on the North Fork of the Shenandoah River south of Strasburg, VA. The owners, brothers Larry and Gary Vance, were raised on the farm by their mother, who was in turn raised there by her mother. All generations greatly valued their farm and rural life, vowing to never sell the land for development as they watched other farms nearby suffering the fate of the developers bulldozers.

After their mother's passing in 2007, Gary and Larry sought out a more permanent solution to protection beyond the verbal promises of future generations. Their search eventually resulted in permanent protection of 179 acres - 45% of which is forested with the remainder being pasture/cropland or homeplace/barns. As the farm lies directly on the river, there is one mile of riverbank protected along with two perennial streams with permanent 35 foot buffers and two small islands.

While the process took time and patience by all involved, everyone is happy to have this property permanently protected from subdivision. Possibly no one is happier than Larry Vance who said at the closing, "if I am lucky enough to get a weekend pass out of the Pearly Gates 100 years from now or later, I will come back to visit Island Ford Farm and I want it to look exactly like I left, only better".