Spring has sprung! As we enjoy the return of the birds, the budding of leaves, and the first of the season’s flowers, we celebrate the beauty of renewal and new life. Thank you for being part of a community of donors, volunteers, and supporters that ensure the land we love is cared for through every season.
Please continue your support with a gift this spring.
Updates to Ooms Conservation Area Master Plan
CLC is grateful to everyone who took the time to attend an event, send a written comment, or meet to discuss the draft master plan for Ooms Conservation Area. This master planning effort was the first time CLC solicited community feedback on a Conservation Area project, and that feedback was taken into consideration. Over 100 people weighed in on the plan, and the results were overwhelmingly positive for most aspects of the project.
How is CLC incorporating this feedback?
Community input was used in two ways – modifying the plan, and prioritizing which portions of the plan to pursue first. Modifications to the plan included prioritizing a re-design of the site’s entrance and parking lot, creating a new boardwalk that does not encircle the entirety of Sutherland Pond, shifting the location of infrastructure to cluster it near the primary parking lot, considering a birding observation tower, and re-imagining options for increased seating. CLC will be pursuing a phased approach to implementing this project, and some aspects of the plan have already been implemented. Staff have worked with a contractor to re-grade the parking lot and address the entrance potholes, and are collaborating with a local farmer to use cows to restore a degraded field back to pasture and grassland. Preparation for replacing the damaged boardwalk has begun, and CLC expects to finish that project this fall. Named giving and sponsorship opportunities are available, please be in touch to discuss how you can celebrate your love for Ooms Conservation Area!
Strategic Plan Process
The last few years have been a whirlwind for many organizations – the challenges of COVID and the subsequent need to re-imagine how and where we work, long-overdue high-profile discussions reckoning with race and systemic inequality, and increasing evidence that our approach to climate change will likely be grounded in adaptation rather than prevention.
CLC’s Board of Trustees and staff have been engaged in a strategic planning process designed to ensure a strong fiscal future, maximize conservation impact, and meaningfully engage with our community. The process will wrap up later this month, and we will announce the full plan later this year. Questions? Please be in touch, I’d love to chat more. There is growing excitement for what the future holds and we look forward to you all being part of this effort.
Conservation Efforts Protect Important Properties
Conservation projects staff completed two conservation easements in the winter of 2022. To date, CLC has protected over 35,000 acres of land with 215 conservation easements.
Farmland on the Claverack Creek
CLC was pleased to work with the Esselstyn family to protect a 217-acre farm property, adjacent to lands that the family had previously protected. The property includes more than 3,000 feet of frontage on the Claverack Creek, and more than 125 acres of high quality soils.
CLC was especially pleased to work with the Esselstyns to include an affordability provision with the conservation easement requiring that when the land sells outside of the family, it will be sold to a qualified farmer at agricultural value. This was the first time CLC has included the affordability provision in a donated easement.
“We were proud to work with CLC to protect our farm, which is next to our previously-conserved land,” says Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn. “We are pleased now to have helped conserve, in some cases with neighbors’ help, beyond 700 acres on either side of Route 23 east of Claverack which will retain the natural hills, fields and streams of this village corridor in perpetuity.”
Trout Streams in Red Rock
CLC was also pleased to have worked with Erika Marks and Ian Brauner in late 2022 to accept their generous donation of 15.4 acres land, adding to CLC’s existing Schor Conservation Area property.
The property includes a small stream that is a tributary to the Stony Kill, and now provides an additional point of access to CLC to access the Shore Conservation Area for management purposes from New Concord Road. his property’s high quality woodlands, will be wrapped into CLC’s ongoing forest management plan at Schor Conservation Area.
Celebrate Greenport June 3
Additional changes to complement the recently improved main parking lot are coming to Greenport Conservation Area this spring to increase accessibility and create a more safe and welcoming experience on the trails.
The Access for All Trail at Greenport was one of the first of its kind to be constructed in New York State, and it is in need of repairs. CLC is partnering with the Greenagers, a Massachusetts-based organization that provides paid work for young people interested in learning natural resources management skills, to repair and resurface the muddiest portions of the trail, making it easier for visitors who push strollers, use a walker or wheelchair, or prefer not to trek through soggy mud to enjoy the sites.
CLC staff is collaborating with artist Austen Camille of shared field studio to design an entirely new kiosk at the first trail junction west of the parking lot that includes additional seating, interpretive signage, and augmented reality features. This introduction to the site will be expanded into the Dogwood and Hickory Lane trails, where Austen will install an estuary-themed art trail. And Build Hudson, a local group that trains young people in carpentry and project management will restore the main gazebo overlooking the Hudson River at the terminus of the Access for All Trail.
But don’t just take my word for it – come see what’s going on for yourself! Join CLC and community partners for a celebration of National Trails Day on June 3. Trails Day is family-friendly event featuring plenty of fun, educational opportunities, and free ice cream!
Thank you for being part of a strong community of supporters that makes projects like these possible. I look forward to the promise of spending time together this spring.
Greenport conservation area has always been one of my favorite spots. I also especially love Hand Hollow. Thank you for all you do to maintain these remarkable areas, and also for continuing to acquire more open spaces!! We’re so lucky to have such a dedicated group of staff AND volunteers. CLC is already a benefactor when I depart this world (not for awhile I hope!)
Thank you Kitty!