Preserving Vulnerable Lands for Generations to Come

Winnakee’s priorities are the protection and restoration of disappearing forests, threatened natural habitats, vulnerable watersheds, open space and productive farmlands. Protecting these sensitive ecological and scenic landscapes, and more in the years to come, will have a transformative impact on our region’s environmental health.

The below forests and vulnerable lands are under Winnakee ownership and sustainable management plans.

Please see Our Parks & Preserves page for properties with publicly accessible trails.

Dutchess Gables

Located in an area deemed irreplaceable by Scenic Hudson, this stunning 105-acre landscape in the Town of Stanford, includes forested land with habitats for three Species of Special Concern in NYS: New England Cottontail, Golden-Winged Warbler, and the American Woodcock. This property was purchased with help from The 1971 Foundation and the Anna Maria & Stephen Kellen Foundation.

Saw Kill Water Quality Protection Project

This project conserves 335 acres of high-value conservation land along the Saw Kill in the Town of Red Hook, protecting a critical water source for Bard College. The purchase was a public private partnership between Winnakee, NYSDEC and the Town of Red Hook. The Saw Kill Water Quality Protection Project was purchased with funds from the CWIA/EPF Water Quality Improvement Project Grant administered by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC).

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Vlei Marsh

The second largest wetland area in Rhinebeck, Vlei Marsh consists of 165 acres, 90 acres of which are DEC designated wetlands, including 1,300 feet of headwaters of the Fallsburg Creek. The property is designated by the DEC as a Core Forest in a Forest Linkage Zone, meaning its intact forested connections between nearby matrix forest blocks allow animals and plants to move across the landscape. It is also designated as a DEC Significant Biodiversity Area in the Hudson Valley; it contains a wide diversity of bird life (including a heron rookery), beavers and amphibians.

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Jobsen Swamp

Zoned a conservation area in the Town of Rhinebeck and designated as part of a NY Natural Heritage Significant Biodiversity Area in the Hudson Valley, this 60 acre property includes a locally Significant Northern hardwood-hemlock forest and a cattail-red maple swamp, a protected wetland Area for Rare Plants and Wetland Animals, including a nesting population of wood ducks. This property was generously donated by The Nature Conservancy. The original Baker/Raylman tract was donated to TNC in memory of their grandparents, Mr. Arthur Baker and Mrs. Teresa Modolo.

Henkin Woods

This 105-acre high-conservation value property in the Towns of Milan and Stanford consists of an early successional forest with upland hardwoods, meadows, hardwood and shrub swamps, riparian zones, perennial and intermittent streams, providing a diverse array of habitats. This property was generously donated by Alice Henkin.

Acid Dwarf Bog

Winnakee’s Bog, located on a 60-acre property in the Town of Clinton, contains an acidic dwarf shrub bog, a uniquely-rare bog form in Dutchess County. As the largest of such bogs in the region, this bog houses locally-rare species of plants and animals, including the white-fringed orchid, pitcher-plant, and rare dragonflies. Birds such as the Golden-Winged Warbler, critically threatened in New York, use these bogs as part of their habitat. Because of its fragile ecology, access is restricted to invitation only. This property was generously donated by The Nature Conservancy.

Pine Hill Woods

This 35-acre property in the Town of Pleasant Valley was conserved for decades by a life-long conservation educator who passed away in November 2019. It includes a locally significant forest of Northern hardwood-hemlock, a shrub bog, vernal pools, a pond and streams. Hudsonia also identified a significant Buttonbush pool, which is permanently flooded on the land and serves as core habitat for threatened wetland animals as well as wood and black ducks. This property was generously donated by Jean Povolchik.

Sister Hill

In the Town of Stanford, Sisters Hill consists of 75 acres, 8 acres of which are designated DEC wetland, containing a red maple swamp and Class B stream. It also contains a DEC Core Forest; Forest Linkage Zone and is designated by DEC as Core Habitat for Imperiled Species and a Significant Biodiversity Area in the Hudson Valley. It is permanently protected by a Dutchess Land Conservancy easement. Sisters trail system includes a site of a former railbed.

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2,300 acres in conservation easements

In addition to owned properties, Winnakee holds 2,300 acres in conservation easements, including protected agricultural lands, in Rhinebeck, Red Hook, Clinton, Hyde Park and Amenia.

Conservation easements allow landowners to retain ownership and use of their land, while protecting its conservation value in perpetuity. 

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