In January the creek was in no mood for intruders. Heavily iced, it hissed its brittle protest as I moved out deeper into the stream, further stirring its peace and fleeting dreams of sanctity. The East Branch of the Brandywine Creek was under siege, but it was not me who was its adversary.
Within my view was the silent site where plans for a 180 room resort hotel taunted and menaced the creek. Seven miles south of me, and much closer to our brewery, plans were moving forward to divert the creek, rip its existing bed open, and strip vegetation from the Ludwigs Run tributary, all to lay a larger gas transmission line in. But under the dark winter sky and these portent circumstances, I managed a smile for the photographer who was covering the article on the Brandywine Valley Association, the creek’s friend and protector. It was a smile born of hope.
Here in April, hope is abundant as rains and enthusiastic anglers have brought vitality back to the stream. And the siege is no longer so lop-sided. The Pennsylvania Dept. of Environmental Protection has rejected the proposal of dry-cutting the East Branch for the gas transmission line, opening the door for the pipeline’s owner to use less environmentally disruptive methods, such as direct drilling beneath the streambed to achieve completion of their plans. It had not been such a quiet winter for us at Victory, a cadre of concerned locals and Senators Schroder and Dinniman as we all valiantly petitioned the PA DEP to consider the best solutions for the East Branch in permitting the gas line operator to grow their business.
And a few miles north, the conditional use hearings in front of a township board of supervisors had moved from the country club resort developer’s rhetoric to objective testimony furnished by traffic, land planning and water resource experts hired by the newly formed citizens group, Guardians of the Brandywine. The Wallace Twp. Board of Supervisors are now getting expert testimony on the environmental impact of hotel construction on steep slopes draining directly to the East Branch and grading for golf greens within established forests buffering and abutting the creek. With balanced information, we can hope that they will make good decisions regarding the creek’s fate for us in Downingtown and those in its remaining 40 miles of downstream communities. Not to mention, the Victory fans in 26 other states who have come to greatly appreciate our 12 ounce ‘postcards from Downingtown.’
The quality of those 12 ounce gems is very dependent on high quality water, which the Brandywine delivers to us. High quality and abundance were two keys to us locating in this former papermill town. So, as some explanation to the passion behind this story, you can now understand our devotion to water resource protection. We are, in essence, protecting the beer that you love.
As if natural themselves, the ebb and flow of development threats upon our natural resources grow troubling on audacious proposals and then are tempered by reasonable minds in positions of authority. Usually. But, recognizing that human plans are seldom natural in motive or effect, we all share the responsibility of being a reasonable mind. Like individual water molecules in motion, we need to flow as a harmonious entity toward common objective.
Bill and Ron Brewmasters