Westchester Land Trust Announces Yorktown Land Purchase

Plans to Expand Turkey Mountain Trail System

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Zoraida Lopez-Diago

Zoraida@westchesterlandtrust.org

914.234.6692 ext, 23

Yorktown, NY - In a unique public-private partnership, Westchester Land Trust (WLT), Yorktown Land Trust (YLT) and the Town of Yorktown announced today that they have permanently protected a critical 24-acre landholding adjacent to Turkey Mountain Preserve --- a region of statewide ecological significance – located on Saw Mill River Road, in Yorktown, New York. 

Westchester Land Trust will own the land as a preserve open to the community and the Town of Yorktown will hold a conservation easement on the property, further ensuring that the land will always remain a nature preserve. The protection of this parcel will create a 550-acre contiguous corridor of permanently protected forest and wetland that also adjoins other protected lands owned and managed by the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) as a critical watershed area.  The property lies within the Croton-to-Highlands Biodiversity Area, explicitly prioritized in the 2016 New York State Open Space Conservation Plan. For these reasons, Yorktown’s Advisory Committee on Open Space and the Yorktown Land Trust ranked this parcel their top preservation priority. 

In addition to funding from the John T. and Jane A. Wiederhold Foundation, Town of Yorktown, and private donors, WLT and YLT utilized internal funds earmarked for land acquisition. “We are grateful and honored to have collaborated with an impressive group of public and private conservation partners to permanently protect this land.  Strong partnerships allow us to respond quickly when conservation opportunities arise,” said Lori J. Ensinger, WLT President.

The new preserve is wholly within the Croton Watershed, a public drinking water supply. Its 11-acre wetland area, along with the woodlands, naturally buffers public drinking water quality and quantity.  It also provides healthy habitat to a great diversity of species.  The perennial stream is inhabited by a variety of ray-finned fishes and is likely important spawning habitat for many fishes in the area. The woodlands and wetlands are important habitats for hundreds of species of invertebrates (insects, arachnids, worms, etc.), which are the foundation complex food webs that support larger organisms such as the birds, mammals, amphibians, and reptiles.  Dozens of species of migrating birds - including warbler, cuckoo, vireo, sparrow, flycatcher, hummingbird, and hawk have been viewed on these acres and the adjacent Turkey Mountain Preserve and use the woodlands as a stopover site during their migration. 

“Westchester Land Trust will manage our new preserve as an extension of the Turkey Mountain Preserve. We have plans to construct a new trail that links directly to the existing trail network at Turkey Mountain,” said Kara Whelan, WLT Vice President. “We need help from the community to build and fund the work. Anyone interested in this project can reach out to me directly to learn more and get involved.” Ms. Whelan can be contacted by email: Kara@westchesterlandtrust.org or phone: 914.234.6992 ext 12.

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