The Putnam Examiner

42 Acres Preserved Adjacent to Wonder Lake Park in Kent

We are part of The Trust Project

More than 40 acres of land in Kent have been preserved as a place for the public to visit and enjoy the outdoors thanks to a visionary landowner and the work of a partnership between Hudson Highlands Land Trust (HHLT) and Westchester Land Trust (WLT).

The project protects woodlands (predominantly sugar maple and red oak) and wetlands with high biodiversity. The property contains a large New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) regulated wetland that provides habitat for native and migrating songbirds, waterfowl, and raptors.

The land provides a buffer to adjoining Wonder Lake State Park and its 1,133 acres.

“The New York Highlands is a unique region with a wide array of natural areas and recreational opportunities,” said Katrina Shindledecker, HHLT’s Director of Conservation. “Westchester Land Trust’s acquisition of this land protects its wetlands and woodlands, while expanding public open space next to a popular state park—a win-win for everyone.”

This land is located in the Highlands region of New York, an environmentally significant corridor that stretches from Pennsylvania to Connecticut. It is rich in biodiversity, has large tracts of unbroken forest cover, and is home to 250 endangered, threatened or species of special concern. The importance of the Highlands region was extensively documented in the U.S. Forest Service’s Highlands Regional Study (HRS).

The property lies within one of the HRS Conservation Focal Areas that have been identified as having the highest conservation resource value, but which are most threatened by development.

HHLT and WLT worked directly with the landowner to purchase the property for preservation purposes. HHLT provided critical financial assistance, and WLT will own and manage the land, with the goal of ultimately transferring it to New York State Parks’ ownership. The property will eventually be opened for public access with a trail system that links to the neighboring trails on state-owned lands.

The landowner, John Armstrong, said, “I’m so happy that the Westchester Land Trust and Hudson Highlands Land Trust protected this land. My family has had a connection to the property for more than 60 years—I roamed its wetlands and uplands when I was a boy. By protecting it, you have given us a great legacy. Thank you.”

“Land protection projects can be complex and require more resources than any one group has individually,” said Lori Ensinger, President of WLT. “A partnership like this one is a great model that we expect to continue in the future. We can get more done when we collaborate and each bring our own strengths to a project—such as land management planning, financing, legal expertise—and work toward our shared goals. In this case, people, plants, and animals are the real winners.”

The HHLT is a community-based, accredited, non-profit conservation organization with a mission to protect and preserve the natural resources, rural character and scenic beauty of the Hudson Highlands. The WLT works with public and private partners to preserve land in perpetuity, and to enhance the natural resources in Westchester and eastern Putnam counties.

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