Editorial: Celebrate Milton reforestation effort

February 1, 2019

“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”  

While strain on infrastructure often takes center stage in the development debate, loss of trees is also an all-too-often unfortunate casualty. That’s why it’s nice to see The Nature Conservancy take on the task of planting nearly 11,000 seedlings on 39 acres off Round Pole Bridge Road south of Milton.

The conservancy is the caretaker of 143 acres on the rural road, all part of the Edward H. McCabe Preserve, a hidden gem that runs along the Broadkill River.

The reforestation effort is the biggest project at the preserve since the land was donated more than 25 years ago by Constance P. McCabe as a memorial to her late husband and grandson.

The restoration project is designed to improve the quality of water moving into the Broadkill River, reducing agricultural runoff and groundwater transfer of nutrients into the river.

The native tree species selected for the project will create new habitat for wildlife, including the more than 100 species of migratory and nesting birds present at the preserve.

Funding for the project came from fines imposed on Perdue Foods LLC by the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, which took proceeds of a bad situation in Georgetown and reinvested it in the environment, an effort that deserves replication more often.

The Nature Conservancy says it will be steadfast in caring for the new forest to ensure its success.

It may take decades, but the results are sure to be beautiful.

After the new forest has time to mature, the conservancy plans to add trails, extending the nearly three miles already available to the public at the McCabe Preserve.

So when the next generation is hiking through the preserve in 20 years, they can be thankful someone in 2019 had the vision and determination to plant a tree. Make that 11,000 trees.


  • Editorials are considered by the editorial board and written by Dennis Forney, Publisher Emeritus, with occasional contributions from other board members: Trish Vernon, CoPublisher and Editor; Dave Frederick, Sports Editor Emeritus; Jen Ellingsworth, Associate Editor; Nick Roth, Sports Editor; and Chris Rausch, CoPublisher and General Manager.

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