Please don't pick the flowers--they belong to all of us. And they are in danger of being lost forever.
That's the situation at the Bowman's Hill Wildflower Preserve near New Hope.
Bowman's Hill abuts on Washington's Crossing Historical Park, which a non-profit group is struggling to take over and revitalize. It is, though, not historical in itself; it is something even rarer--a 134-acre treasure trove of rare flowers and other plants, sometimes referred to as "the upper park." (Washington's Crossing itself is called "the lower park.")
The extent of Bowman's Hill's botanical wealth is summed up by the Preserve's director, Miles Arnott. "It's one of the most important plant repositories in the North East," he says. "More than 800 flower species are here, some of them quite rare."
But as a site for preservation, Bowman's Hill has special complications. Chief of these is the
fact that to many people the preserve looks like nothing so much as raw land, suitable for development into such questionable amenities as housing developments, shopping centers, and casinos. Even the group attempting to save the site has been accused of wanting to sell it for development--a classic example of propaganda disinformation. The sale of the land to the would-be preservationists has to pass the state legislature, where it has run into severe snags.
Why should we want to keep this place as a public possession? Arnott suggests that, for the answer to that, you begin by exploring Bowman's Hill's excellent website, at www. bhwp.org. If you live within easy travel range, call (215)862-2924, arrange to visit, and see the place firsthand. It's open all year around.
Want to do more? Give a donation. Join the Bowman's Hill Wildlife Preserve. If you can, call volunteer coordinator Kathleen Muth and offer your services. You can choose among a variety of interesting and challenging volunteer assignments.
Above all, if you want to help secure Bowman's Hill for the future, contact Barbara Franco, the executive director of the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, and your state senator. Tell them you want the ownership of Bowman's Hill ceded to the group currently running it, who will keep it safe as what it is--a nature preserve. It is especially important to contact state Senator Charles McIlhinney, who can be reached at (215) 489-5000, or at 22 South Main St., Doylestown, PA 18901-4668.