MOUNTAINVILLE, NY (Sep. 8, 2017)—With support from OSI, Orange County Land Trust (OCLT) has conserved vital buffer lands adjacent to Sterling Forest State Park. The acquisition, adjacent to the Doris Duke Wildlife Sanctuary section of the park, protects land for habitat and water quality.
The 57.5-acre property contains both hemlock-northern hardwood forest and chestnut-oak forest habitats identified by the Department of Environmental Conservation’s New York Natural Heritage Program as significant. A stream running through the property is also protected.
The Doris Duke Wildlife Sanctuary is located at the northern end of Sterling Forest and is a haven for many resident and migratory species, including rare invertebrates and plants.
“The preservation of this land will help support wildlife habitat and clean water even as Orange County continues to grow,” said Kim Elliman, president and CEO of OSI. “This acquisition builds on OSI’s decades-long commitment to strengthening communities through the protection of natural resources that provide clean water and air, outdoor recreation, habitat protection and climate mitigation.”
“Large tracts of forest that are not fragmented by major roadways and developments are increasingly rare in the Hudson Valley,” said Jim Delaune, OCLT executive director. “Protecting what we have left is important for the survival of forest interior bird species and other forest-dwelling wildlife such as fishers and black bears.”
The project builds on OSI’s two-decade commitment to Orange County and to Sterling Forest, a park it created in the mid-1990s in the face of encroaching development. Today, OSI’s conservation in the region totals over 27,000 acres, and has expanded the region’s parks and recreational trails, protected drinking water, and safeguarded climate-resilient lands for human and wildlife.
The acquisition of the 57.5 acre property from landowners Adam J. and Tinie Filipowski, who first contacted OCLT about selling their land, was also supported by funds from The Walt Disney Company and the Sterling Center of New York.