Category Archives: News

Land Matters: Invasion of the Hemlock Wooly Adelgid

April 10, 2017Rebecca

Invasion of the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid If you have ever walked in a hemlock forest, or fished a stream in a hemlock ravine, you know that these are magnificent trees. Growing tall and stately, this evergreen species creates a shady forest canopy that can feel absolutely magical. They are an important and much loved constituent of our Columbia County forests. Today, thanks to a tiny little insect that traveled here all the way from Asia, they are in grave danger. On Thursday April 20, the Columbia Land Conservancy, together with Cornell Cooperative Extension and a number of other organizations, is co-sponsoring a workshop at Columbia Greene Community College to provide information about this urgent threat and what might be done to head it off, or at least to lessen the potentially devastating impact.  People who own or manage forest land, farmers, hunters and fishermen, natural resource educators – and anyone who shares an interest in the natural world or concern about invasive species – are encouraged to attend. Why Should We Care About Hemlock Trees? The hemlocks found in Columbia County are called Eastern Hemlocks. They are one of ten hemlock species found throughout the world. Hemlocks are widely valued… Read More

Land Matters: Taking Stock of Our County’s Natural Resources

February 28, 2017Rebecca

Taking Stock of What We Have If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a hundred times: Columbia County is exceptionally rich in natural resources.  And those natural resources are a very large reason why it’s such an exceptionally wonderful place to live and work. As discussed in last month’s column, a broad commitment to conservation of the expansive forests, healthy water bodies, productive farmland and highly scenic working landscape that surrounds us would be an important part of any smart economic development strategy.  But to ensure that growth and change don’t take place in a manner that destroys the qualities that make the county such a special place, it would be important for the community to have a broad common understanding just what those qualities are.   A project is getting underway that will help Columbia County communities exercise forethought and care in conserving the natural resources we so value.  A partnership of organizations is creating a county-wide Natural Resource Inventory. What Is a Natural Resource Inventory? An inventory?  Sounds pretty prosaic. “Inventory” conjures up visions of working after closing time to tally up the store merchandise.  The natural resource inventory will be a matter of taking stock, but… Read More

Land Matters: Conservation – A Solid Strategy for Economic Development

January 31, 2017Rebecca

Conservation: A Solid Strategy for Economic Development  I have a great idea to bolster economic development in Columbia County: we should as an entire community renew and redouble our commitment to conservation.  We should collaborate to create as many publicly accessible parks, forests and nature preserves as possible; we should aggressively work to construct a system of interconnecting trail corridors; we should conserve as much good farm and forest land as quickly as we can. Seriously?  Yes, seriously. Think about it.  An important part of working to strengthen our economic base involves creating conditions that will attract people and businesses to come to the area.  Why would someone want to move a business to Columbia County?  Why would anybody want to live here?  Because it’s a great place to live, a place with genuine rural character, a beautiful working landscape, lots of open spaces, historic hamlets and villages and many wonderful ways to enjoy the outdoors. Not everyone, of course, aspires to the same style of life. But for anyone who values being within an easy drive to the New York, Boston or Albany Metropolitan Areas, and appreciates beautiful countryside, robust agriculture, easy access to fresh healthy food and a… Read More

Land Matters: Happy New Year

January 3, 2017Rebecca

Thirty Years, And Counting New Year’s Day is a milestone that inspires reflection and anticipation.  Arguably, there isn’t any reason why the dawning of every new day shouldn’t excite the same emotions, but somehow, when the new day brings with it the inexorable advance of another digit in the calendar year, it carries a weight that is hard to ignore. As organizations and as individuals, we are moved to ask: what do we have to show for our efforts of late?  Where are we going?  What is our plan for the coming year?  These questions have added weight for the Columbia Land Conservancy as we are wrapping up a year-long celebration of our 30th Anniversary and thinking, not just about the next twelve months, but about the 30 years that lie ahead. 2016 In Review We closed on three new conservation easements – two farms and a heavily forested property, bringing to 187 the number of privately owned properties in the county that we have permanently protected – 26,147 acres in all.  In addition, working with our partners at the Scenic Hudson Land Trust we obtained commitments for almost $10 million to purchase the development rights on a dozen of… Read More

Join us for Spontaneous Snowshoeing and Sledding!

November 30, 2016Rebecca

Have you always wanted to try out snowshoeing? Maybe you just want to meet new people and hit the sledding hills? Join us! Throughout the winter months, when conditions are right, we’ll host spontaneous sledding and snowshoeing events at our Public Conservation Areas. Rent snowshoes for $5 per adult or $10 per family; if you have fun you’ll have the opportunity to purchase children’s shoes for $15, or adult shoes for $30. Join the list by calling John Horton at 518.392.5252, ext. 210 or emailing him at john.horton@clctrust.org.

Land Matters: A Day in the Life

November 7, 2016Rebecca

LAND MATTERS Peter Paden* October 25, 2016 Another “Day in the Life” Each fall, thousands of students from New York City, Albany, and everywhere in between gather at various locations along the Hudson River for DEC’s annual “Day in the Life of the Hudson River Estuary,” now in its thirteenth year. Together with educators and volunteers, students become citizen scientists for the day, collecting important data on aquatic ecology, water conditions, and sediment composition, effectively creating a snapshot in time of life along the Hudson River. For over a decade now, the Columbia Land Conservancy has partnered with young people of all ages from schools across the county to participate in “Day in the Life.” This year, 42 students from Hudson High School joined CLC staff at Lasher Memorial Park in Germantown to take part in the largest “Day in the Life” yet, with over 4,500 other students at 80 different locations collecting data that will contribute to ongoing research projects led by the Hudson River Estuary Program. The following piece was written by John Horton, CLC’s Membership & Events Coordinator, who organized and led our Day in the Life project this year. What Did We Find? Lasher Memorial Park… Read More

Fall Newsletter Now Available

November 3, 2016Rebecca

Check out the latest issue of the CLC newsletter! Read about recent farmland projects, upcoming events, and the Over the Moon Gala held October 8. Access a digital copy of this and all our other CLC publications on our Publications page.

New York State New Farmer Grants Announced

October 28, 2016Rebecca

New York State has allocated $1 million in the 2016-2017 state budget for the third round of the New York State New Farmers Grant Fund. Its purpose is to provide grants to support beginning farmers who have chosen farming as a career and who materially and substantially participate in the production of an agricultural product on their farm. These grants will help farmers improve profitability resulting in the growth of agribusiness and the concomitant tax revenues within the state. The program has provided nearly $1.4 million to farmers since 2014. The list of previous awardees can be found here. Learn more and apply here.

Deer Hunting Season from October 1 to December 20

October 19, 2016Rebecca

Hunting season for deer only began October 1 and continues until December 20. Be safe and be seen! Wear orange at our Conservation Areas that allow hunting, or hike at Ooms, Borden’s Pond, or High Falls, where hunting is not permitted. CLC only allows hunting by licensed hunters who have received a special permit from CLC. The Yellow Trail at Greenport is closed during hunting season. Please call Nate Davis at 518.392.5252, ext. 205 if you have concerns. You can learn more about the and why of hunting at CLC properties here: http://clctrust.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/…/huntingFAQ.pdf

Land Matters: It’s Important to Know What You’ve Got

October 4, 2016Rebecca

  “You don’t miss your water ‘til your well runs dry.” Like so many pieces of folk wisdom this one powerfully captures a simple truth about human life: In times of plenty it is easy to neglect the sources of our prosperity or our happiness, and only after they have been damaged or lost do we appreciate that they required care and nurturing to be sustained – care and nurturing that in the pressures of daily life we failed to provide. This basic truth applies losses of all kinds – the loss of a job, of a friend, of a valued community. It applies as well to the loss of a quality of life or a beloved landscape. I believe that most people who live in Columbia County love it here and that whether consciously or unconsciously the exceptional features of the land are an important part of what they love. The vast expanse of healthy forests, the vibrant and diverse farming sector, the wetlands, streams, ponds and lakes, the abundant wildlife, the clear night sky and clean water and clean air, the quiet country roads – all these things and more are essential ingredients of that elusive but universally… Read More