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Natural Awakenings Westchester / Putnam / Dutchess New York

Yorktown Land Purchase Helps Protect Watershed: “Strong partnerships allow us to respond quickly when conservation opportunities arise.”

Turkey Mountain Preserve

In a unique public-private partnership, Westchester Land Trust (WLT), Yorktown Land Trust (YLT) and the Town of Yorktown have coordinated to permanently protect 24 acres adjacent to Turkey Mountain Preserve, a region of statewide ecological significance.

WLT 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 it will always remain a nature preserve. The protection of this parcel, located on Saw Mill River Road, 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 as a critical watershed area.

The property lies within the Croton-to-Highlands Biodiversity Area, named as a priority in the 2016 New York State Open Space Conservation Plan. For these reasons, Yorktown’s Advisory Committee on Open Space and the YLT ranked this parcel their top preservation priority.

To make the purchase, WLT and YLT used internal funds earmarked for land acquisition, in addition to funding from the John T. and Jane A. Wiederhold Foundation, the Town of Yorktown and private donors.

“We are grateful and honored to have collaborated with an impressive group of public and private conservation partners to permanently protect this land,” says WLT President Lori J. Ensinger. “Strong partnerships allow us to respond quickly when conservation opportunities arise.”

The new preserve is wholly within the Croton Watershed, a public drinking water supply. Its 11 acres of wetlands, along with woodlands, provide a natural buffer for public drinking water quality and quantity, Ensinger says. They also provide healthy habitat for diverse species.

WLT will manage the new preserve as an extension of the Turkey Mountain Preserve, and plans to construct a new trail linking with the existing trail network at Turkey Mountain. Community help will be needed to build and fund the work. Anyone interested in helping should contact WLT Vice President Kara Whelan at [email protected] or 914.234.6992, ext. 12.

Based in Bedford Hills, WLT works with public and private partners to preserve land in perpetuity and enhance the natural resources in Westchester and eastern Putnam Counties. It uses conservation easements and outright acquisition to benefit the long-term character and environmental health of these communities. For more info, visit