Scenic Hudson Honors Land Conservation Groups

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HUDSON VALLEY – Scenic Hudson will honor 13 local, regional and national land trusts at its gala at Listening Rock Farm in Wassaic, Dutchess County, on Saturday, June 21.

Scenic Hudson is saluting the groups for their outstanding work in safeguarding critically important land and scenic wonders throughout the Hudson Valley.  Scenic Hudson credits the land trusts with preserving and enhancing the assets that inspired the Hudson River School painters in the 19th century, that earned the region its designation by Congress as a National Heritage Area, and that provide hope for a sustainable future in the 21st century.

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“These organizations, their boards,
staff and members bring skill, passion and resources to bear to
preserve the places that give the Hudson Valley its very identity – and
quality of life.  We have partnered with many of these organizations in
the past – to protect scenic vistas, push for crucial environmental
legislation and halt sprawling riverfront projects – and we look
forward to many more successes,” said Scenic Hudson President Ned
Sullivan.

In speaking of future partnerships,
Mr. Sullivan stated that the groups are collaborating with Scenic
Hudson on its Saving the Land That Matters Most initiative to protect
65,000 threatened acres throughout the Hudson Valley that have been
deemed by the state to have the highest scenic and/or biological
significance.

The land trusts being honored are:

Audubon New York

Dedicated to protecting birds and
their habitats, this state program of the National Audubon Society has
been a conservation leader, through advocacy and education, since
1996.  The group manages 11 sanctuaries and nature centers, including
four in the Hudson Valley – Constitution Marsh, Garrison (Putnam
County); RamsHorn-Livingston Sanctuary, Catskill (Greene); Rheinstrom
Hill, Craryville (Columbia); and Buttercup Farm, near Pine Plains
(Dutchess).  Local chapters manage additional sanctuaries throughout
the region.

Especially noteworthy in its
success, Audubon New York secured passage of legislation creating the
state’s Bird Conservation Area program.  The group’s current goal is to
ensure protection of critical bird habitats threatened by global
climate change and other causes.  In addition to land protection and
stewardship, Audubon New York is promoting smart growth measures and
connecting more people to the wonders of nature through education.

Columbia Land Conservancy

For more than two decades, the
Columbia Land Conservancy has been devoted to conserving the farmland,
forests, wildlife habitat and rural character of Columbia County and to
strengthening connections between people and the land.  The
organization has protected 20,000 acres of privately owned land with
conservation agreements, has helped provide 5,300 acres of public
lands, and helped secure $6 million in funding to protect some of the
county’s best farmland.

 

The Columbia Land Conservancy sees
its work as a powerful community-building enterprise, employing
outreach and education to deepen people’s commitment to conservation,
in turn strengthening communities.  The group’s leading goal is to be a
dynamic force in supporting and sustaining a strong and vibrant rural
community, where agriculture plays a central role in the economy, where
development respects historic traditions and natural resources, and
where there are accessible open spaces and abundant, healthy natural
lands and wildlife habitats.

Dutchess Land Conservancy

Having preserved over 27,000 acres
of land since 1985, the Dutchess Land Conservancy protects the scenic,
agricultural and environmental resources of Dutchess County and the
surrounding area.  The group’s land conservation focuses on farmland,
open spaces, forests, water resources and wildlife habitats.

Highlights include protecting 305
properties with conservation easements, working with local and state
partners and private citizens to raise more than $15.4 million to buy
development rights on over 2,500 acres of working farmland in 11
Dutchess County towns, and working with Dover, the county and a private
citizens group to preserve the Dover Stone Church property for passive
recreational use.  This land includes a historic cavern and waterfall
with documented Native American presence in the 1600s, noted as
significant by FDR and visited by New York City tourists in the 1800s.
Emerging strategies include working with communities to acquire
municipal conservation areas that provide recreational opportunities
for the public and also helping towns foster sound decisions about
strategic land conservation and well-planned growth.

Esopus Creek Conservancy

Conserving significant natural
landscapes in the Lower Esopus Creek watershed and the Saugerties area
has been the mission of the Esopus Creek Conservancy since its founding
in 2003.  The organization accomplishes its work through a strong
belief in involvement of the local community along with forming
partnerships with other environmental organizations in Ulster County
and in the wider Hudson Valley.

The Esopus Creek Conservancy is
preserving the property now know as the Esopus Bend Nature Preserve,
whose 161 biologically diverse acres are located partially within the
village and town of Saugerties, Ulster County.  Situated on a dramatic
bend in Esopus Creek, the preserve is visible to 10,000 travelers who
cross the creek daily on Route 9W.  The Esopus Creek Conservancy also
has developed a variety of environmental-education programs.  The
Nature Preserve as Classroom, created in partnership with the Catskill
Center for Conservation and Development, has meant that over 1,000
children—future stewards of our land—come to the preserve twice a year
with their teachers to learn the value of conserving nature.  Looking
ahead, the group is seeking to increase its capacity to further develop
programs and involve the community, in Saugerties and beyond, in the
appreciation and protection of our fragile environment.

The Greene Land Trust

Launched in 2004, this group works
with a wide range of partners to facilitate a balance between sound
development practices and effective protection and preservation of
Greene County’s natural and cultural resources for future generations.
The Greene Land Trust has protected over 350 acres for habitat and
watercourse protection, preservation of farmland and/or in mitigation
of development.

The group has received kudos for an
innovative partnership with the Greene County Industrial Development
Agency.  Contrary to the oft-adversarial relationship between
development and preservation, Greene County leaders have recognized the
value of finding common ground—literally and figuratively.  Future
plans include broadening the organization’s scope to include more
mountaintop preservation projects while maintaining a rigorous line of
protection against imprudent development practices in the Hudson River
towns of New Baltimore, Coxsackie, Athens and Catskill.

Hudson Highlands Land Trust

Working to protect the natural
resources, rural character and scenic beauty of the iconic Hudson
Highlands, this group was founded in 1989.  It has directly protected
over 1,300 acres in Philipstown and Putnam Valley through
conservation-easement donations.  Additionally the Hudson Highlands
Land Trust can claim a lead role in protecting several thousand more
acres through partnerships with other regional land-conservation
organizations—including Scenic Hudson—and New York State.

While land conservation continues
to be the central tenet of the group’s mission, it is extremely proud
of the great strides made in the areas of public policy, outreach and
education.  Partnerships with local municipalities, schools, community
groups and other conservation organizations have proven to be of
enormous benefit.  By 2011 these conservationists are seeking to
protect over 2,000 acres.

The Nature Conservancy, Eastern New York Chapter

Founded in 1953 as the first
chapter of the The Nature Conservancy, the Eastern New York Chapter is
dedicated to preserving the plants, animals and natural communities
that represent the diversity of life on Earth.  It owns and manages 43
nature preserves encompassing over 15,000 acres throughout the Hudson
Valley and Catskill Mountains.  The Nature Conservancy has protected
more than 500,000 acres statewide.

The chapter is spearheading Rising
Waters, a collaborative planning effort that is helping Hudson River
estuary communities adapt to climate change.  With a diverse group of
partners, Rising Waters is building coalitions and opening new sources
of state and federal funding to enable more effective conservation in
the Hudson Valley.  The goal is to have the estuary’s tidal wetlands,
shorelines, flowing waters, tributaries and migratory fish seamlessly
integrated into an interconnected landscape that is robust against
climate change and other threats, benefits people as well as natural
systems, and can address challenges originating within and far beyond
the watershed.

New York-New Jersey Trail Conference

The New York-New Jersey Trail
Conference has been developing, building and maintaining hiking
trails—as well as preserving the land through which they pass—since
1920. The group has safeguarded 5,200 acres, helping expand Minnewaska
State Park Preserve, Sterling Forest State Park and State Forest lands
along the Shawangunk Ridge and the Long Path.  Trails the group built
and maintains stretch 1,700 miles, extending along both sides of the
Hudson River and from Long Island to the Delaware Water Gap to north of
the Catskills.

The conference is dedicated to
boosting its Community Trails Program, which aims to create new trails
close to where people live and, where possible, linking them to larger
trail networks or greenways; and protecting through strategic land
acquisitions or easements three at-risk long-distance Hudson Valley
trails—the 36-mile Shawangunk Ridge Trail, 350-mile Long Path and
150-mile Highlands Trail.

Orange County Land Trust

Founded in 1993 by former County
Executive Louis V. Mills, the Orange County Land Trust has preserved
3,200 acres of fields, forests, wetlands, ridgelines, river corridors
and working farms in Orange and Sullivan counties.  It owns and
maintains eight preserves open to the public free of charge for passive
recreation and nature education.  The group recently completed the
acquisition of Arrow Park lands in Monroe, adding 254 acres of pristine
woodlands to Sterling Forest and creating a greater amount of
contiguous open space—crucial for wildlife dependent on a variety of
habitats.

Working in partnership with the
county and its many municipalities, the land trust is committed to
doubling existing preserved land to 6,000 acres over the next three
years.  This work is crucial because Orange County remains the
fastest-growing county in New York State, and development pressure
continues to threaten its scenically important and biologically
sensitive lands.

Trust for Public Land, New York State

Since its 1972 launch, the Trust
for Public Land has completed more than 3,500 land-conservation
projects in 47 states, protecting more than two million acres that
define America’s communities and are central to its ecosystems.  Its
projects range from expansive recreation areas and historic homesteads
to vest-pocket city parks.  Since 1994 the trust also has helped states
and communities craft and pass more than 330 ballot measures generating
almost $25 billion in new conservation-related funding.

In New York the organization is
dedicated to delivering more “on the ground” conservation locally;
expanding and creating linkages between parks at the state, county and
local levels; and, through conservation transactions and visioning,
building support for land conservation as a forward-looking treatment
for sprawl.

Wallkill Valley Land Trust

The Wallkill Valley Land Trust has
been working with landowners to protect the rural character of southern
Ulster County since 1988.  It has preserved 24 parcels encompassing
approximately 1,500 acres, including eight farms and the 12-mile
Wallkill Valley Rail Trail.  Among its notable recent accomplishments
was the successful completion of the Two Farms Campaign in 2007.  This
initiative, achieved in partnership with the Open Space Institute,
safeguarded 181 acres and nearly a mile of Wallkill River shoreline on
adjoining working farms.

The organization now is working on
29 additional conservation projects. It also is collaborating with
other grassroots, community-based land trusts to hold the second annual
Ulster County land preservation conference in November, and to improve
the rate, quality and permanence of land protection throughout the
county.

Westchester Land Trust

Founded in 1988, Westchester Land
Trust partners with private property owners to conserve land, helps
communities create new parks and preserves, and fosters sound land-use
planning.  It has protected over 5,700 acres, including almost 3,800
acres on 163 conservation easements, 547 acres on 27 preserves it owns
and 1,385 acres on 12 preserves and farms for which it helped negotiate
preservation agreements.  Overall it has safeguarded land in 25 of
Westchester’s 42 municipalities.

In an effort to halt sprawling
development in the county, the land trust has set a goal of protecting
a total of 10,000 acres by 2012.

Winnakee Land Trust

Recognizing that the identity of
northern Dutchess County is deeply tied to its agricultural and
forested landscapes dotted with compact villages, the Winnakee Land
Trust has been protecting the natural, scenic, recreational, historic
and cultural resources of this region since 1989.  It holds
conservation easements on more than 2,000 acres, owns two public parks
– including Burger Hill Park in Rhinebeck, originally protected by
Scenic Hudson – and has established miles of hiking trails.

Through partnerships with other
land trusts and municipalities, the group is committed to strengthening
its stewardship of the environment by protecting additional acreage and
creating new trails for the public to enjoy.

Galas honor partners crucial to land-preservation campaign

The gala is one of three events
Scenic Hudson is hosting in May and June to celebrate the partnerships
that will enable the organization to complete its campaign to Save the
Land that Matters Most.

The Pew Charitable Trusts, which is
providing Scenic Hudson with support for its land-saving campaign,
recognizes the need for collaboration in protecting the Hudson Valley’s
iconic landscapes and unique history. “For the region and the nation,
it’s critically important that future generations have an opportunity
to enjoy this valley’s special places,” said Rebecca Rimel, president
and CEO of The Pew Charitable Trusts. “At Pew, we work with
conservation-minded individuals and institutions who share our
commitment to preserving our natural resources, and we’re delighted to
be part of this undertaking.”

A May 20 event in Irvington,
Westchester County, honored three “smart growth” developers – Bridge
Street Properties, LeylandAlliance and the Jonathan Rose Companies –
that have revitalized downtowns, bringing economic prosperity to former
industrial waterfronts and connecting people to the Hudson River while
protecting historic and ecological resources.  Their work epitomizes
Scenic Hudson’s strategy to steer development to municipal centers,
protecting working farms and other open space on their outskirts.

On June 25 Scenic Hudson will honor
State Parks Commissioner Carol Ash and the organization Parks &
Trails New York for spearheading efforts to restore our magnificent
state parks.

About Scenic Hudson

Scenic Hudson works to protect and
restore the Hudson River and its majestic landscape as an irreplaceable
national treasure and a vital resource for residents and visitors.  A
crusader for the valley since 1963, we are credited with saving fabled
Storm King Mountain from a destructive industrial project and launching
the modern grass-roots environmental movement.  Today with more than
20,000 ardent supporters, we are the largest environmental group
focused on the Hudson River Valley.  Our team of experts combines land
acquisition, support for agriculture, citizen-based advocacy and
sophisticated planning tools to create environmentally healthy
communities, champion smart economic growth, open up riverfronts to the
public and preserve the valley’s inspiring beauty and natural
resources.  www.scenichudson.org.

eHeziScenic Hudson Honors Land Conservation Groups

Comments 4

  1. yep heard rumors
    even heard one of the aprtments belongs to Mcdow
    wait another five years, when sea walls need repairs, paving requires replacement, the entire “esplanade” needs to be rebuilt and the buildings are converted to condos just before they fall apart.
    who do you think is going to pay for all this? collins? SFC? McFarlane?

  2. speaking of poorly designed: Has anybody else heard about ceilings falling in at the Collins buildings on the waterfront after one of the latest thunderstorms? Those buildings are what, 5 years old and the ceilings are falling in already? A preview of things to come…

  3. The “dopey developers” do see it – who won’t see are the rest of the residents of Yonkers who’ll be looking at backs of badly designed, poorly built high-rises instead of the Hudson River. No awards for the Yonkers waterfront after the developers are finished!!!

  4. yonkers has one of the most spectacular parts of the river at its door front
    and not one of these dopey developers can even see it.
    it’s really unfortunate.

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