Putnam County Land Trust: Save Open Spaces, Inc. was established and incorporated in 1969 as Southeast Open Spaces, Inc. and is one of the oldest land trusts in New York State. As demand grew for a county-wide land trust and properties were acquired outside of the Town of Southeast, the name of the organization was changed to Save Open Spaces, Inc., and then to Putnam County Land Trust: Save Open Spaces, Inc (PCLT).
PCLT is a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving and protecting natural resources through ownership of sensitive lands, easements, planning strategies, and environmental education. Acquired properties must meet specific criteria of the organization, including, but not limited to: unique natural resource features or unusual scenic (aesthetic) or cultural qualities; resources significant to the protection of the environment and biodiversity (habitats, wetlands, watercourses, steep slopes, etc.); or greenways. Lands must also be of a size to permit use for passive recreation and/or a natural sanctuary and contain reasonable public road access. The land’s proximity and significance to other protected parcels is examined as well. PCLT works with various governmental agencies, environmental organizations, and the public to help meet their corresponding goals and objectives, as well.
To date, 1018-acres of diverse habitat have been preserved. In addition, legislation known as Resolution R-555 was drafted by Michael Ciaiola, our past president, in 1984-1985 with the help of the County Executive, Robert Bondi. Over 2,000 acres have been preserved as Putnam County Conservation Areas through this measure.
Membership is open to the general public through annual dues to the organization, however the use of the properties is open to everyone. Additional fundraising is accomplished through grants, events, and donations. PCLT is staffed by volunteers, thus enabling all monies collected to go directly to programs and preserve maintenance.
The Land Trust publishes a newsletter periodically which is sent to our members and keeps them informed of the latest accomplishments and upcoming events. On our preserves, events are always open to the general public and are advertised in local media sources. Programs are also organized for schools and scouting groups to complete badges, perform community service, and to work on educational projects.