Since 1987, when the Wallkill Valley Land Trust was incorporated, we have concluded 39 land preservation projects protecting nearly 3,000 acres of land.
The Wallkill Valley Land Trust works with willing landowners. Our protected parcels range in size from five acres to 140 acres. The Land Trust partners with the landowner to meet both the conservation needs of the property and the personal and financial needs of the owner. For some parcels, protection covers the entire property. For others, sections with limited conservation value, are excluded to allow for other uses that could include future home sites and appropriate development.
While in many cases the landowners have received tax benefits for donating a land preservation agreement (conservation easement) on their property, in our experience, no landowner has completed the process solely for the tax benefits. People protect their property and its conservation values because of their attachment to their land and because they recognize the importance of preserving the environment and rural character of the area.
While WVLT is concerned for the rural character throughout its eight towns, we have three areas of special concern. The first is farmland and working farmland throughout the region. The second is the Wallkill River and Wallkill Valley Rail Trail corridor. The third is the marshes, wetlands, and ridges of the Swartekill and Black Creek watersheds in Esopus, Lloyd, and New Paltz.
The Kellar Easement was donated by Norman Kellar to the Wallkill Valley Land Trust in December 1990. Bontecou Farm is an eighty-eight acre property in Esopus with much frontage on the Wallkill River. This easement preserves views, habitat, and agriculturally important soils in the Town of Esopus, and it is still an active farm.
Rob Hare and Iza Trapani-Hare donated an agreement on 26 acres of farmland and ponds in 2005. This was the first of their two easements on their nearly 140-acre property in the Swartekill Watershed in Esopus. Rob and his family have been involved with land conservation in Maine and Connecticut.
Rob Hare is also a Board Member for the Wallkill Valley Land Trust, and is active in the WVLT's Conservation Committee.
This is the second conservation easement donated by Rob Hare and Iza Trapani-Hare. This one protects 112 acres which include hay fields, woods, and special views from Carney Road. When the Hare’s purchased this property, they always intended to protect it in perpetuity. This agreement was completed in 2006.
In August 1994, Peter Bienstock donated the Open Lands Partnership Easement, 130 acres, in the Town of Lloyd. This easement covers a whole mountain side and includes part of the Pine Hole Bog watershed. It was part of a five lot development, and is in the significant watershed of Black Creek, thus the protection of this land protects water quality and wildlife for the area. The topography yields special habitats as well.
The Illinois Mountain Easement is in the Town of Lloyd. It encompasses 47 acres, and was donated to the Wallkill Valley Land Trust by Peter Bienstock in June 1998. Immediately upon the closing of that transaction, WVLT placed an easement on the property and gave the land to the Town of Lloyd for a future park. In addition to being a future park, this property preserves water quality as it is within the watershed of the Town of Lloyd’s reservoirs.