Winnakee protects and stewards high value conservation lands around four priority areas, two key geographic areas and other regional inventories that add value to our conservation effort. We prioritize fee acquisitions of intact forests that best enable Winnakee to protect and restore lands to their fullest ecological potential and maximum environmental benefits.
The creation of forest matrices along connective corridors enhances biodiversity, wildlife habitat, climate adaptation and our cultural connections to a landscape with a rich heritage. Winnakee is currently acting on a regional scale to keep at risk forests on the precipice of generational change intact.
Our efforts are guided by public conservation plans such as New York State’s Open Space Plan, New York Forest Resource Assessment and Strategy as well as regional conservation plans, and through partnerships such as The Nature Conservancy, Follow the Forest and the Stay Connected Initiative.
The majority of Winnakee’s current property holdings fall into this vital linkage area, which covers roughly 2.4 million acres of an estimated 75% forest cover. It is the most intact forest ecosystem in southern New York and New England. Winnakee and other partner groups in the Greens to Hudson linkage are working to permanently protect additional intact parcels, and maintain and restore connectivity, which allows migration for a range of native species, including otter, porcupine, foxes, and larger mammals such as moose, bear and bobcat. The linkage is recognized for its biodiversity, supporting rare species, intact habitat, and exemplary natural communities.
This ecologically significant region is a Winnakee priority protection area in part because of a NY Natural Heritage Program study in 2013 that identified its resilience to present-day and future effects of climate change. The study modeled 26 at-risk species with recommended places within the Hudson Valley where conservation organizations can make their strongest investments for protection of biodiversity. In these areas, focused attention on maintaining and restoring habitats of rare species was predicted to have the best outcome for their survival because of the ecological assets within them were strongest to withstand the effects of climate change.
You can browse our properties using this map. Hover over an icon for a detailed description to pop up. Public hiking trails (orange pins) typically have parking areas and mapped trails. More detailed information is also available on our Parks and Preserves page.