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Wise Preservation Planning LLC
      1480 Hilltop Road
      Chester Springs PA 19425
      Phone (484) 202-8187
 

Wise Preservation Planning LLC is a full-service historic preservation planning firm. We research, document, analyze and ultimately help protect historic resources and our cultural landscape. Our firm serves a variety of clients, including municipalities, engineers, architects, historical societies, and owners of historic resources.

The firm was founded in 1997 by Robert J. Wise Jr., who has 20 years of experience in the historic preservation field. He is assisted by Seth Hinshaw, Senior Planner, who has been with the firm since 2001. Both planners have M.S. degrees in historic preservation from the University of Pennsylvania and exceed the 36 CFR 61 Professional Qualification Standards established by the National Park Service for architectural historians.

Eagles Mere Historic District Expanded

On June 4, the Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commissionís Preservation Board voted unanimously to officially nominate an expansion of the Eagles Mere Historic District to the National Register of Historic Places. Located in the Borough of Eagles Mere and Shrewsbury Township, Sullivan County, the nomination doubles the size of the existing 500-acre district (listed in 1996) by adding Eagles Mere Lake and lands to the north, east and west of the lake that include the resort communityís historic trail system. These trails include the Red, White and Green Arrow Paths, and parts of the Yellow Arrow, Loyalsock Canyon Vista Trail, and the former Eagles Mere Railroad grade. Along with the Laurel Path (in the original district), many of these paths have been in constant use for over 100 years. The trails and their adjacent forestland augment the districtís conservation and recreation areas of significance; the district is recognized for its statewide importance. The expansion will be officially listed to the National Register of Historic Places sometime this summer by the National Park Service.
 
The trail system and early protection of adjacent land was engineered by several individuals responsible for the way Eagles Mere looks today. Horace McFarland, a nationally recognized conservationist, designed several "Arrow" paths to allow visitors to enjoy nature without being too strenuous. According to Robert Wise, a historic preservation planner who prepared the nomination, McFarland was going to call the Red Arrow Path the "North Woods Trail." It was soon called the Red Arrow Path however, after the trails were blazed with red arrows using leftover paint from his shed. The White, Green and Yellow Arrow Paths soon adopted their respective arrows and color schemes. Little has changed since these paths were laid out in the early 1900s. Captain Embley Chase, a land manager who developed so much of the town's infrastructure, laid out the Laurel Path and helped design the Eagles Mere Railway (now a scenic path). The trails loop around the village and lake, reaching natural destinations such as the Labyrinth, Eagle Rocks, Prospect Rocks, Fat Man's Squeeze and Big Spring.
 
With this addition, the Historic District now includes approximately 98% of Eagles Mere Lake's 435-acre watershed. Protection of this watershed has always been a priority, but has become an area of more concern as hydraulic "fracking" activities for natural gas comes increasingly closer to Eagles Mere. The Protect Eagles Mere Alliance (PEMA), a nonprofit organization started in 2010 to help protect Eagles Mere from negative impacts of the natural gas industry, spearheaded the nomination. PEMA President Shannon Baker explains, "PEMA was happy to take the lead on this collaborative effort within the community to further emphasize the historical value of Eagles Mere. The new expanded designation will add a layer of review and possibly protection to areas that are of historic significance now and for future generations."
 
The project received support from the Eagles Mere Association (who owns and manages the lake), the Eagles Mere Conservancy, the Eagles Mere Park Association and the Borough of Eagles Mere. The expanded historic district includes land owned by these entities, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and private landowners, who were also in support of this project.
 
Wise has prepared essays to explain the criteria for determining historic significance and the process in Pennsylvania for listing a historic property on the National Register.