Westchester Land Trust announced Jan. 4 the permanent protection of 27 acres in Bedford through a conservation easement donated to WLT.
The completion of this conservation project brings the organization’s total preserved lands to 8,740 acres in Westchester and eastern Putnam Counties, according to WLT officials. The easement is the organization’s 211th.
A conservation easement is a voluntary legal agreement between a landowner and a land trust that permanently restricts the development of a property in order to protect the land’s important conservation values.
The 27-acre property on Hook Road will remain in private ownership and is not open to the public.
“When we purchased this property two years ago, we fell in love with the old stone walls, meadows and peaceful woodlands. Then we began to explore our options for permanently protecting the land from residential development. That is when we turned to the Westchester Land Trust,” said Betsy Morgan, who owns the property with her husband, Jonathan Cary. “We feel a responsibility to be environmental stewards of this land and to ensure its preservation for generations to come.”
The land is adjacent to Caramoor and proximate to the A. Ketchum Preserve, which is owned by St. Matthews Church. It is part of a significant conservation corridor that includes four other easements held by WLT totaling 39 acres of land that are permanently protected.
The Morgan-Cary conservation easement is located within the Town of Bedford’s designated Caramoor Greenbelt, an area that has particularly high conservation value and is an area within which the town encourages additional land conservation, according to WLT.
“This is a beautiful property that contains a mosaic of habitat types, including approximately 8 acres of old fields and meadows, an old stone pump house from previous agricultural uses, shrubby wetlands, and a grove of very old tulip trees, some measuring 50-inches around,” said Steven DiFalco, WLT’s land projects coordinator.
He added, “The protection of this land bolsters the ecological connectivity of the surrounding land and furthers natural resource conservation for the public benefit of the surrounding community.”
Conservation of this property allows for perpetual protection of wildlife habitat and local drinking water supplies, WLT officials noted. The protected parcel is located within the Croton River watershed, a designated priority watershed of the New York State Open Space Conservation Plan. A tributary to the Stone Hill River on the property flows through multiple federally designated wetlands.
Westchester Land Trust is headquartered in Bedford Hills.