NEW YORK, NY - August 18, 2014 - With financial support from the Open Space Institute (OSI), the Mohawk Hudson Land Conservancy (MVLC) has acquired 156 acres just outside the Village of Altamont in Albany County. OSI provided significant support for the project and holds a conservation easement over the property ensuring its permanent protection.
The acquisition fulfills the wishes of the late Dr. Milford Becker who cherished his family property on the Bozen Kill and always hoped the land would one day be preserved. The Becker property along with 27 neighboring acres and property acquired from Albany County several years ago will create the new 214 acre Bozen Kill Preserve.
A partnership between OSI, The Nature Conservancy (TNC) and the MHLC made this conservation project possible.
“As responsible stewards and lovers of nature, Dr. Becker and his family recognized the natural beauty and conservation significance of this special landscape. The designation of their homeland as part of this new preserve provides a wonderful tribute to them and their legacy of stewardship and generosity,” said Kim Elliman, OSI’s president and CEO. “OSI is proud to have played a role in this collaborative effort and congratulate the Becker family, the Mohawk Hudson Land Conservancy and The Nature Conservancy for their unwavering commitment to seeing this project through.”
The Becker family lived on the property at the corner of Bozen Kill and Westfall roads for 42 years and according to their daughter Linda Becker, walked the property almost every day. “My parents loved the land and especially the birds,” She recalls. “My mother knew the call of every bird and my father knew every tree on the property.” It was 15 years ago that Dr. Milford Becker, a well-known local veterinarian, reached out to MHLC to discuss options for preserving his land but both Dr. and Mrs. Becker passed away in the intervening years before they could see the project completed.
The Nature Conservancy supported the project through the Doris Saunders Plant Strategic Acquisition Fund. This fund was created by the late Henri Plant and his family to help protect the upper Bozen Kill area. Through his long association with TNC’s Christman Preserve, Henri was passionate about conservation of the Bozen Kill. Henri’s daughter, Suzette Plant who is dedicated to her family legacy of conservation along the Bozen Kill added, "Forty years ago, a small group of people first set out to keep the Bozenkill forever wild. It is wonderful that despite the number of years it is taking to acquire additional land, people are still committed to making the dream come true."
“The Nature Conservancy’s work in the Bozenkill watershed dates back to the late 1960s when we began our protection work for what today is the Christman Sanctuary,” says Tony Wilkinson, Acting Executive Director of The Nature Conservancy in Eastern New York. We are thrilled to partner with the Mohawk Hudson Land Conservancy to continue our protection of this beautiful watershed, which has been identified as an important wildlife corridor between the Catskills and Mohawk Valley.”
According to Mark King, Executive Director of MHLC, “These acquisitions will eventually allow access to a beautiful stretch of the upper Bozen Kill and Bozen Kill Ravine, areas that were in accessible to the public. The project advances one of our primary goals - providing natural areas for the public to enjoy. We look forward to adding parking and trails that will make this an outstanding nature preserve within walking distance of the Village of Altamont.”
The Bozen Kill is one of the major tributaries of the Watervliet Reservoir and with more than a mile and a half of frontage on the stream, the acquisition contributes to the protection of the water supply that serves Guilderland and the City of Watervliet. The combination of steep wooded slopes, extensive stream frontage, and accessibility from the Village of Altamont make this a beautiful location for a preserve for all of the public to enjoy. The Conservancy expects to complete a management plan and trail design for the preserve and will officially open the property to public access in the spring of 2015.