Two decades after first conserving a 40-acre “Overlook” parcel adjacent to Teatown Lake Reservation in central Westchester County, the Open Space Institute (OSI) on Thursday announced its donation of the parcel to the nature preserve. Teatown has managed the parcel on OSI’s behalf for 20 years, during which time it has become a key part of the organization’s nature preserve and outdoor education program. Going forward, Westchester Land Trust will hold an easement on the property.
Lying contiguous to the 1,000-acre nature preserve, the property contains upland field habitat that is ideal for birding programs and studies of transitional habitats. The land is home to one of the Teatown Lake Reservation’s most beloved trails, Overlook Trail, and two vernal pools with tadpoles that delight summer campers every year.
“The Overlook property connects families and outdoor explorers of all ages to the wonderful Hudson River landscape,” said Kim Elliman, OSI’s president and CEO. “OSI is proud to have preserved this significant and storied acreage, and prouder still to pass it to Teatown Lake Reservation and Westchester Land Trust to ensure its permanent enjoyment.”
“The beautiful Overlook Parcel has been a treasure to Teatown’s community of hikers, school children, campers and scientists for the past two decades,” said Kevin Carter, Executive Director of Teatown Lake Reservation. “We are so grateful to OSI for permanently adding it to Teatown’s legacy.”
“Westchester Land Trust is delighted to partner with OSI and Teatown to preserve the Overlook Parcel and positively impact clean air, fresh water, and wildlife habitat in perpetuity,” said Lori Ensinger, President of Westchester Land Trust. “This collaboration adds 40 acres to the nearly 8,000 acres of open space protected by WLT in Westchester and Putnam Counties.”
OSI made the transfer as part of a series of celebrated properties it is donating to municipalities across New York. The series will include seven properties totaling 350 acres, with a total fair market value of over $3.1 million.
First acquired by OSI in 1996, the Overlook property has since allowed for the expansion of the environmental education program run by Teatown Lake Reservation. The largest private, nonprofit nature preserve and environmental education center in Westchester County, Teatown’s educational programs reach over 20,000 people a year, and over 10,000 hikes its trails annually. Located just an hour from downtown New York City, the nature preserve is an important link in the Hudson River Greenway.
In addition to its vernal ponds, the Overlook property is characterized by a number of knolls separated by steeply sloped ravines, the largest of which runs across the southern boundary of the property and drops over 120 feet into the wetland below.
Since its acquisition in 1996, OSI has monitored the Overlook property, while Teatown Lake Reservation has managed it. Looking ahead, Westchester Land Trust will monitor the property, while Teatown Lake Reservation will hold the underlying fee interest.
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