CAMBRIDGE, NY – With significant funding from the Open Space Institute (OSI), the Agricultural Stewardship Association (ASA) has conserved a forested property for recreation and childhood education. The acquisition is also a major milestone toward the long-term goal of creating a Community Forest for Cambridge, an upstate village of 1,800 residents.
The property, 140 acres, will be owned by ASA and managed for hiking, mountain biking, and fishing; and as a demonstration site for sustainable forestry management. The newly protected property is also within easy walking and biking distance of downtown Cambridge, Cambridge Central School, daycares and youth programs.
“The conservation of Cambridge Community Forest creates a priceless inheritance that will connect young children and families to this richly forested landscape,” said Kim Elliman, president and CEO of OSI, which granted $80,000 towards the $110,000 purchase price of the property. “OSI is proud to have played a significant role in preserving this property, and prouder, still, to pass it along to the community for their permanent enjoyment.”
“The Cambridge Community Forest represents ASA’s investment in the forestry aspect of our mission as well as the community of Cambridge. It will be a place for families to be active, children to explore nature and for educators to utilize as an outdoor classroom,” says Renee Bouplon, Association Director for ASA.
In the Community Forest land ownership model, local citizens participate in the planning and management of local forests, ensuring that everyone benefits from the land’s many economic, social, and ecological values.
With community and stakeholder input, ASA will be creating a Land Management Plan over the course of the next year that will address improvements, trail design, forest management, and the long-term stewardship of the property. The Community Forest itself is slated to officially open in mid-2020.
Additional fundraising is needed to prepare the site for public use, including repairs to the existing bridge, creation of a small parking area, signage, kiosk, trail improvements, and a fund to over the annual carrying costs of owning the property.