PHILIPSTOWN, NY—July 27, 2015—The last undeveloped parcel of a scenic assemblage of protected properties has been conserved and added to the Putnam Highlands Audubon Society Watergrass Sanctuary. The new land, part of the striking scenery that is viewable from Bear Mountain and Storm King state parks, preserves important Hudson River Valley wildlife habitat.
Working with a private landowner, Hudson Highlands Land Trust (HHLT), in partnership with the Open Space Institute (OSI), Putnam Highlands Audubon Society and Scenic Hudson, added the 19-acre parcel to the popular sanctuary. The new acreage represents the last undeveloped parcel to be added to a 400-acre conservation assemblage between Rt. 9 and Old Albany Post Road, including land along 1.2 miles of Rt. 9.
The land also presents an opportunity for a new access point to the Watergrass Sanctuary off of Frazier Road, which will be safer and more convenient than the current entrance from Rt. 9.
“This newest addition to the Watergrass Sanctuary allows more people to enjoy the property’s gorgeous rural scenery while also preserving an important flyway for area birds,” said Kim Elliman, OSI’s President and CEO. “Visitors to Bear Mountain and Storm King will also be able to look across the Hudson and take in the rustic area. We thank our partners for their dedication to perfecting this beautiful community asset.”
Putnam Highlands Audubon Society, Hudson Highlands Land Trust and Scenic Hudson partnered in 2008 on a conservation agreement ensuring permanent protection of the Watergrass Sanctuary. The partners joined forces again this year, along with OSI, to work with Garrison Realty and acquire this adjoining parcel.
“The conservation agreement, amended to include the sanctuary's new acreage, adds the assurance that this property will provide scenic enjoyment for the public and conserve an area of vital habitat for generations to come,” said HHLT’s Executive Director Andy Chmar. “We are pleased to be a partner on this project, and thank the many others involved."
“The addition of this new property to our Watergrass Sanctuary is a major accomplishment for the Putnam Highlands Audubon Society,” said Connie Mayer-Bakall, Putnam Highlands Audubon Society President. “Along with our DeRham and Reese Sanctuaries, this added land will help us provide and protect diverse habitats for nesting and migrating birds and other wildlife. We are fortunate to have strong conservation partners in our community—especially the Hudson Highlands Land Trust, Scenic Hudson, and the Open Space Institute—who work together to preserve wildlife habitats and open space for future generations.