The Hudson Highlands Land Trust (HHLT), incorporated in 1989, began 2014 by completing a multifaceted land conservation project, resulting in the permanent protection of 135 acres, and includes a public access component. The January project closing caps off a 12-month period during which HHLT partnered with private landowners and conservation organizations to protect 476 acres.
To protect the final 135 acres, located in southern Philipstown, HHLT purchased the three-lot Mountain Trace subdivision, an environmentally sensitive area, from Westchester Land Development Group, and then sold it to neighboring property owners who put a conservation agreement on the property, as well as a portion of their own land. The owners included a public access easement, and have started designing a hiking trail.
Stephanie and Steve Axinn, who donated a conservation agreement last August, understand that the permanent protection of their 15-acre property, which borders Lake Oscawana in Putnam Valley, is important for the integrity of that local natural resource. Because of their commitment to land protection, they requested boundary markers. These markers will be ready in the spring for any of HHLT’s partnering private landowners to use in identifying conserved land.
In early December 2013, HHLT finalized two conservation agreements with the Sidamon-Eristoff family in the Town of Highlands. HHLT is pleased to work with them to bring about HHLT’s first two conservation agreements on the Hudson River’s west bank, protecting over 17 acres in the Village of Highland Falls.
At the end of the year, Susan Coleman donated a conservation agreement to HHLT that protected over 37 acres in Garrison, which have at least two seasonally-vibrant woodland pools and are home to river otters.