Expanding Our Perimeters

Expanding Our Perimeters

Since Highland’s beginning more than 60 years ago, there have been several occasions when we have been able to expand our property through purchasing adjacent parcels of land. The most recent addition was the former Green Valley Clinic, which Highland purchased from Linford and Becky Gehman in November of 2019. We are now approaching the final stages of transforming that building into two separate living spaces for Highland staff and volunteers, now called Green Valley House. The Gehmans have also offered to sell Highland their residence at a future time of their choosing, which gives us the rare blessing of advance notice of future expansion. What no one could’ve predicted was that there would be yet another opportunity to expand our perimeters in the meantime.

Summer campers and staff who have made the hike to Church Rocks or Tiger Rocks any year since the 1960’s will be familiar with the mostly undeveloped land along Pee Wee Run Road, between Highland’s upper fields and the National Forest. Highland has worked to maintain good relations with the handful of neighbors in that area, thus also maintaining the privilege of crossing their property for those summer camp hikes. But the land was never ours, so the trails were never developed for regular use by Highland’s guests.

In the 1990’s, there was a desire to purchase a parcel of land that would give Highland regular access to those beloved hikes. Though many of the Highland staff and board members at the time saw the value of preserving right of way and access to the National Forest, the purchase simply wasn’t feasible at that point. But now, about 30 years later, the opportunity to purchase the land has risen again, and some of those same individuals are in a position to help make sure we don’t miss our chance this time around. (In photo at top, former camp manager, Lee Martin, and former board member, Tony Brenneman, stand on the same property they desired to purchase for Highland almost 30 years ago!)

With several generous donations already in hand to help fund the purchase, Highland made an offer on the Pee Wee Run property. We’re pleased to share that our offer was accepted, the land has been surveyed, and we are in the midst of the remaining processes needed to finalize the purchase. Multiple volunteers are ready and waiting to begin preparing trails through the new property as soon as it is officially ours! We are so grateful for the gift of opportunities to expand our perimeters.