PCLT Protects an Additional 222 Acres!

Fieden 1 by Matt Decker

The past few weeks and months have been a whirlwind of activity at PCLT.  Four new properties were added to PCLT’s preserve roster, totaling 222 acres.  This brings PCLT’s total acreage protected to over 1000 acres.  Each property goes through a rigorous evaluation by PCLT’s Acquisitions Committee of its preservation value before it is accepted.

The largest and most recent preserve is on Prospect Hill Road in the town of Southeast.   Consisting of two parcels totaling 81 acres, the property borders the northern portion of Brewster Heights on the south, and the Putnam County Bike Path on the west.  The highest point of the property is 650’ above sea level, sloping (sometimes rather steeply) down to the county bike path, Route 6, and Middle Branch Reservoir.  When the leaves are off the trees, it offers some great views.  This property protects the view shed from Tilly Foster Farm as well as from the lands surrounding the Middle Branch Reservoir including heading east from Carmel along Route 6 toward Brewster and east on Route 312.  The property was donated by the Garden family.  Westchester Land Trust will hold a conservation easement on the preserve.

Of the acquisition, WLT Executive Director, Lori Ensinger said, “The Westchester Land Trust assisted Putnam County Land Trust (PCLT) in the acquisition of this 81-acre property and expects to complete a conservation easement on the property, a legal document which will protect the land in perpetuity.  Westchester Land Trust congratulates PCLT on this important land acquisition and, as the future conservation easement holder, looks forward to working with PCLT to ensure that the woodlands, scenic views, and recreation corridors are preserved forever.”

Vincent Perrone donated 11.72 beautiful acres on Engelwood Terrace in Mahopac.   While the final name of the preserve has not been adopted, Vincent requested it be named to honor his mother and father, Anne and Vincent Perrone.   The property is a forested slope that leads up to a broad and fairly even plateau with mature trees and a very clean understory remarkably free of invasive plants.  Also protected on the property is a DEC regulated wetland and stream corridor.

For the next preserve, PCLT teamed up with the Hudson Highlands Land Trust (HHLT).  In close proximity to the Durland Scout Reservation in Putnam Valley, this six-acre property borders town-owned land on one side. The property consists of a patchwork of wetlands and various forest types, and there is a boulder field with a stream running through the southern portion.

HHLT provided a $19,000 grant to PCLT for the bargain sale of the property and holds a conservation easement and public access easement that preserves the property’s conservation values, including a DEC regulated wetland, in perpetuity, while allowing the public access for passive recreation.  “We are happy to partner with PCLT to achieve this land protection goal in Putnam Valley.  In our experience, the more our local land conservation organizations can work together, the more efficient and successful we can be.” said HHLT Executive Director Andy Chmar.

The last property protected is in Patterson, near the intersection of Rout 164 and Couch Rd.  This property was not an outright purchase, but rather a conservation easement to restrict development of the property going forward.  (See the related article on page XX with more info on conservation easements.)

Passing the 1000 acre milestone is exciting, but also comes with a larger work burden for PCLTs volunteers, and higher ongoing costs to run the land trust.  On each new property, borders need to be posted, trails planned and constructed if appropriate, signs and parking installed, and then everything needs to be maintained.  So if you ever thought about volunteering at PCLT, now is the time to do it!