Featured News and Highlights

Hand Hollow State Forest Opens on Earth Day

Lake at Hand Hollow_NL

CLC celebrated Earth Day 2015 in style with DEC Commissioner Joe Martens joining Executive Director Peter Paden and New Lebanon Town Supervisor Mike Benson to officially open the 518-acre Hand Hollow State Forest. Read the official Press Release here.

The Hand Hollow state forest is managed for multiple uses, including recreation, timber production, watershed protection and wildlife habitat. Hand Hollow meets the requirements for state forest designation of more than 500 acres of forested area that allows for a wide variety of recreational uses. Recreational opportunities include hiking, biking, picnicking, horseback riding, camping, snowmobiling, cross-country skiing, hunting, fishing, trapping, wildlife observation and photography. It is adjacent to CLC’s Hand Hollow Conservation Area.

Start the Growing Season Off Right

Are you looking for farmland to lease or for a farmer to cultivate your land? Our Farmer Landowner Match program, a joint initiative of the Columbia Land Conservancy and Dutchess Land Conservancy, connects new farmers as well as multi-generation farming families with landowners who want to see their land return to production, or transition to a new kind of farm use. The farm operations involved with these matches include meat, vegetables, and crops. Since the program’s inception in 2008, we have had more than 45 matches, helping farmers gain access to more than 2,000 acres of land (including Ardith Mae Farm, in photo). Leasing land to a farmer offers an economic incentive to landowners not to develop their land, thus increasing the likelihood that it will remain a farm. Farmland kept in production provides the ecological benefits that CLC works hard to conserve to the benefit of all.
To learn more about the Match program, visit our website. or contact Marissa Codey, 518 392 5252, ext. 211.

Dutch Hollow Farm Protects 143 Acres in Schodack, NY

Dutch Hollow Farm purchased 143 acres of farmland in Schodack, NY and immediately sold the property’s development rights to CLC, permanently protecting it from non-agricultural development. This transaction is in addition to the 600 acres that the Chittenden family, who owns Dutch Hollow Farm, protected so far (see our spring 2014 Newsletter). Scenic Hudson provided full funding to CLC for the purchase of development rights after our application for federal funding was denied. To find out more about CLC’s farmland protection efforts, please visit our website. CLC will be hosting our Country Barbecue at Dutch Hollow Farm this year, and participants will have the opportunity to tour the farm and explore the farm’s Discovery Dairy Education Center. We hope you will join us!

Culverts: In Need of Attention

Transmission Lines

by Peter Paden Published April 1, 2015 in the Register-Star

What would you do if on a lovely Saturday morning, your first day in a while away from the demands of your job, your spouse said to you, “Honey, let’s go over to Town Hall. Some fellow from the DEC is going to be giving a presentation on culverts?”

I’ll tell you what I did. I went. Why, you say? I asked myself that more than once as I drove to the meeting. But I’ll tell you something else: it was one of the most interesting presentations I’ve heard in a while. And it’s information that every local political leader, every highway and public works department head, and every member of a Planning Board or Conservation Advisory Commission should be aware of. Indeed, anyone who is interested in the efficient use of public dollars, in our communities’ ability to withstand extreme weather events or in the health of our ecosystem will find the subject of culverts a lot more compelling than you might first imagine.


CLC Expands Its Conserve A Local Farm (CALF) Program

We recently expanded our Conserve A Local Farm (CALF) program designed to keep farmland properties in production by matching farm sellers with buyers who are committed to either farming the land themselves or leasing it to a farmer. CLC is working with realtors and individual sellers to help advertise their farms to conservation-minded farm buyers; and we are now working in a broader capacity to include a wider range of farm properties, including affordable properties suitable for beginning farmers. For more information or to list a property, please visit our website or contact Marissa Codey, 518 392 5252, ext 211.


Enter to win a free week at summer camp! CLC is sponsoring two Columbia County residents, ages 11-to-17, to attend the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation education camps where campers connect with nature and learn outdoor skills. There are seven week-long sessions, starting on June 28, 2015 and ending August 14, 2015. This program is part of CLC’s ongoing efforts to prepare the next generation of leaders to value land conservation. Each year, CLC provides thousands of people of all ages with hands-on learning experiences at our public conservation areas and other outdoor locations around the county. Enter by March 18, 2015 by contacting Tom Crowell, 518. 392. 5252, ext. 209. On March 25, 2015, the winners will be randomly selected.

The Nature of Columbia County

Transmission Lines

by Peter Paden Published March 4, 2015 in the Register-Star

Anyone who has read these columns over the years knows that I take every opportunity to trumpet the diverse and significant ecological characteristics of Columbia County – expansive forest tracts, abundant wetlands and water bodies, rich soil base, healthy and varied habitat for animals and plants, all of which combine to provide highly scenic, often expansive vistas in every direction. These characteristics are an integral part of the qualities that make the county a special place, that give rise to our highly-valued rural character and make it such an attractive place to live – full-time or part-time, to work and to operate a business. It follows that if we want to ensure that these qualities will last, we must be committed to a strategy of conservation and thoughtful planning.