Penn State

What’s ahead for Musser Gap? You have a chance to help decide

The Musser Gap Greenway connects Musser Gap in Rothrock State Forest to the Centre Region Bikeway system.
The Musser Gap Greenway connects Musser Gap in Rothrock State Forest to the Centre Region Bikeway system. Centre Daily Times, file

Penn State and ClearWater Conservancy are seeking input from the community on plans to conserve Musser Gap, the land Penn State owns between the future Whitehall Road Regional Park and Rothrock State Forest in Ferguson Township.

That land is also located near the site of a new Toll Brothers planned luxury student housing development called The Cottages.

Don Snowden and Bernie Hoffnar, of the Nittany Valley Water Coalition, spoke to Ferguson Township police officers about the eviction on the Toll Brothers site. The site is a potential spot for student housing development, which the coalition has b

The online survey became available to the public Monday and will close Jan. 17. It seeks to learn residents’ familiarity with and ideas for the 365-acre holding of land the university is calling the “Musser Gap to Valleylands” project.

“Our vision for this area is to not only help protect the local water supply, plant and animal species, but also make it a place where people can enjoy nature, learn about the environment and be inspired,” Penn State President Eric Barron said in a press release last month.

Last year, ClearWater Conservancy reached the $2.75 million fundraising goal for its Slab Cabin Run Initiative to permanently conserve a little more than 300 acres of agricultural land — the Meyer Dairy property and the Everhart Farm.

All 365 acres of the Musser Gap property are outside of the regional growth boundary and are zoned rural agricultural, conservancy Executive Director Deb Nardone told the CDT last month.

“Your responses will assist a group of students from Penn State University to propose possible themes for future land use and management scenarios for the property,” said the introduction to the survey.

That group of Penn State students is made up of undergraduates and graduates who spent last semester studying the land carefully as part of a landscape architecture course.

The students will continue their work in another class this spring, where they will incorporate stakeholders’ opinions, data from the fall class and survey responses to craft ideas about potential future land use of the Musser Gap site.

The first community forum on the “Musser Gap to Valleylands” project is scheduled for 6 to 8 p.m. on Jan. 31 at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Centre County, 780 Waupelani Drive, State College.

Sarah Paez covers Centre County communities, government and town and gown relations for the Centre Daily Times. She studied English and Spanish at Cornell University and grew up outside of Washington, D.C.