Traditional land trust policies that have protected land from development in recent decades have gone a long way in preserving community character. However, the challenges we face in land protection – overpopulation of deer, invasives, pests and pathogens, fragmentation, climate change – have evolved and require different solutions if we are to sustain the character of our natural landscapes and desired way of life that accompany them. Winnakee recognizes that, over time, without investment in stewardship, protected lands will not retain their beauty or ecological value.
The Hudson Valley landscape is unique with forests and sparkling waters. We enjoy walking, hiking, picnicking, hunting, and working on our lands. Open space sustains our economy and our culture.
The landscapes of New York help define and enrich our quality of life. Every community has landmarks that are cherished by its residents. They are icons of the local culture. A prominent place such as Burger Hill, give a community more than physical sustenance; they give it character and an identity integral to our culture and history.
Yet there are some startling trends that threaten all of this. The Hudson Valley is the fastest growing region in the State. Population growth and sprawling development are consuming open space and community character at a rapid rate. Researchers estimate that within the next 25 years, southeastern New York will be virtually built-out, meaning that all available land not conserved will be developed.
Winnakee’s new Conservation Strategy of fee acquisition and deliberate management will steward and restore forests and high-value conservation lands in ways that not only safeguard scenic landscapes, but improve our natural landscape’s health and ecosystem functions, now and into the future, to safeguard our region’s:
Winnakee is committed to preserving our community’s character and healthy ecosystems that improve our health, well-being and economy.