Preservationists in York County scored a major victory Friday when ownership of 47 acres of Camp Security was, after years of effort, transferred to Springettsbury Township for preservation.

Historians, public officials, and supporters of the plan to preserve the Revolutionary War-era prisoner-of-war camp have for years been working to acquire 162 acres of the historically significant site along Locust Grove Road in Springettsbury.

The push for the final 47 acres started in May 2012, when the nonprofit preservation group The Conservation Fund bought the land from developer Timothy Pasch for about $1.05 million, including settlement costs. Pasch had been planning to build on the site, which he had named "Hunters Crossing."

The Conservation Fund held the property until the township was able to raise enough money to buy it back and move forward with historic interpretation plans on the site.

On Friday, the township announced the property had been "saved from residential development" and the fundraising campaign was complete.

Donations: The township contributed thousands of dollars to the effort, as did The Conservation Fund, the Friends of Camp Security, York County, the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, and numerous private donors from across the U.S.

The total 162-acre site was a British internment camp used from 1781 to 1783 to house about 1,500 British prisoners of war and their families following the Battles of Saratoga and Yorktown, according to the township's press release.

The land is being farmed until 2014, then transitioned to grassland for environmental and historic preservation, archeological research, public open-space and park access, according to the release.

"After more than a decade of effort, Friends of Camp Security is thrilled to see the preservation of this important historic site come to fruition," said Carol Tanzola, the preservation group's president. "We are proud to contribute to this purchase the many donations from our York County members and from people across the United States who gave to support the vital task of preserving our nation's history."

- Reach Christina Kauffman at ckauffman@yorkdispatch.com.