The First Community Foundation Partnership of Pennsylvania (FCFP) has entered into a no surface occupancy lease agreement with Inflection Energy LLC to ensure the preservation and sustainability of Rider Park in perpetuity.
On Friday, the foundation's board of directors unanimously voted to lease gas and mineral rights of Rider Park, an 867-acre park in Eldred and Gamble townships, to Inflection Energy.
The lease ensures that there will be no drilling activity within the park and there will be no disturbance to the land other than incidentals related to the required seismic testing.
The terms of the five-year lease include lease bonuses of more than $2.5 million collectively and the assurance that there will be no permanent surface damage or disturbance to the park.
Dr. Davie Jane Gilmour, board chairwoman, said: "The main priority of the board of directors has been the long-term preservation and sustainability of Rider Park. This agreement will ensure that the foundation has the necessary resources to preserve and develop the park for the public to enjoy forever."
The board voted to allocate the entire lease bonus to a newly created Rider Park Endowment Fund at the foundation. That fund will be subject to the foundation's investment and spending policies and restricts annual grant-making income to the maintenance and enhancement of Rider Park.
"When Thomas J. Rider gifted this beautiful property upon his death in 1988, he did so with the desire that the land would benefit the people of Lycoming County," said Jennifer D. Wilson, foundation president and CEO.
"The foundation's decisions regarding Rider Park have always been driven by the directives in Mr. Rider's will, and we are pleased that Inflection Energy was able to honor our intentions to protect our park while ensuring that Mr. Rider's goal for developing the land for our community could also be achieved."
"Inflection is pleased to have entered into this leasing agreement with the First Community Foundation Partnership of Pennsylvania for oil and gas development of these lands," said Mark S. Sexton, Inflection Energy's chairman and CEO.
"We have a strong commitment to protecting the environment and to pay careful attention to our surroundings as we develop the mineral interests with only nominal surface impacts during the seismic activity, no surface impacts on Rider Park and only minor distractions during our drilling and completion operations.
"The positive outcome of these negotiations reflects the integrity of the board as well as the thoroughness and professionalism shown by Jennifer D. Wilson and others within her team," Sexton continued. "Early on, we discovered that we all share a deep concern for environmental stewardship as well as recognition of the need to develop the Marcellus Shale's resources in a responsible way to create income for Rider Park, the foundation and new jobs and revenues for Lycoming County and the state of Pennsylvania.
"We are looking forward to working with the members of the Foundation and other community organizations to realize these goals in the years ahead."
"We appreciate the open community-minded approach that Inflection Energy has demonstrated and anticipate keeping the park accessible to the public all but a few days during the seismic testing," said Wilson.
Information related to hours of operations and park and/or trail closings may be found at www.RiderPark.org or by calling 601-3377 or toll free at 1 (877) 480-3377.
If Inflection Energy ultimately decides to extract natural gas beneath Rider Park by drilling on nearby properties, royalties received by the foundation will create two more new endowed funds that reflect the spirit of Mr. Rider's last will and testament.
One fund would support unrestricted grant-making in Lycoming County, and a second fund would support projects and programs of Susquehanna Health that provide recreational and rehabilitative opportunities for its patients.
"While uncertain, these possible dollars have the potential to greatly impact the residents of the county and would truly fulfill Mr. Rider's original desire to benefit the people of our community through the places of importance to him," said Dr. Gilmour.
Inflection Energy LLC, a Denver-based natural gas developer with field offices in Canonsburg and Williamsport, is privately held and is focused on protecting their operating environment and in minimizing disturbances when conducting oil and gas activities on their royalty owners' lands. Inflection strongly values its relationships with landowners who are their partners in the efficient and orderly development of the resource. Inflection operates principally in the Marcellus Shale play in Pennsylvania and New York state.