Preservation efforts are commendable

November 18, 2022

Sussex County legacy farmer Walter Hopkins stood on a chair and said his family would not grow houses on their land during an Oct. 22 event to announce plans for Hopkins Preserve, a 52-acre parcel of farmland on Sweetbriar Road west of Lewes.

His comment drew a hearty round of cheers from the hundreds attending.

We also applaud the Hopkins family for their forward thinking to not only preserve the property, but also transform it into a publicly accessible nature preserve.

The project includes trails connecting to the Lewes-Georgetown Trail, natural areas for wildlife, 11 acres of mature woods with plans to reforest another 10 acres, a meadow and seasonal wetlands. It's a model for preservation and habitat enhancement.

The land was purchased, at a 50% discount, by Sussex County, and the project will be administered by the Sussex County Land Trust.

Thanks to Sussex County Council efforts, just this year, the county has spent $5 million to preserve more than 150 acres of critical habitat around the county. Since 2003, the county has spent $13.5 million to preserve more than 5,200 acres, most of which are farmland.

In partnership with the county, the land trust has stewardship over many of those acres, with a major emphasis on public access, conservation and historic interpretation. Since 2001, the land trust, the county, and other state and nonprofit organizations have worked together to preserve more than 6,000 acres of land, with ambitions to find even more preservation opportunities.

The Hopkins family, with Sussex County roots going back to the 1600s, has placed many of its 1,000 acres in the state's Farmland Preservation Program, with no plans for development.

Considering the farm’s location off Route 9 in one of the most desired areas to build houses, it's commendable that the family has taken these actions.

In times when residents and visitors complain about the fast pace of development in the Cape Region, it's important to consider the steps being taken to preserve farmland.

We urge anyone concerned about development to support the Sussex County Land Trust’s efforts to preserve more land. Go to for more information.


  • Editorials are considered and written by Cape Gazette Editorial Board members, including Publisher Chris Rausch, Editor Jen Ellingsworth, News Editor Nick Roth and reporters Ron MacArthur and Chris Flood. 

Subscribe to the Daily Newsletter