It’s so refreshing to hear, that upon occasion, privately held forested land is donated to a nature conservancy rather than to a developer. More often than not, a “For Sale” sign is slapped up at the edge of the wooded acreage, and the next thing you know the trees are being lopped down. In an age when few natural sites are sacred, we should rejoice and give thanks anytime a forest is bestowed the designation ‘forever wild’.
Last spring, a generous landowner did exactly what his or her heart told him or her to do. “Don’t ruin it… preserve it for the creatures that currently inhabit the woods. Save it for the owls, for the salamanders, for the migrating birds, and the butterflies… save it for its natural beauty.” The forested land that I am referring to is an 8-acre parcel found in Derby. The owner gifted the land to the Western New York Land Conservancy. On top of the trees and the wetlands that will be spared by this selfless decision, the property is situated on a bluff overlooking Lake Erie.
Moving forward, people will share this land with the critters that currently reside there. When it comes to land on the shore of Lake Erie, there is hardly any that is still natural, which makes this transaction so very special. The trees that occupy the land are 100 years old. That alone is a rarity.
Erie County Parks will help with the transfer of ownership of the parcel, which is being called Lakeshore Forest – a unique natural habitat park.
“We are particularly grateful for the team of people that made the protection of this land possible,” said Land Conservancy Executive Director Nancy Smith. “We are fortunate to have leaders in Erie County government who recognize the value of transformative places like the Lakeshore Forest and ensure that they are available for future generations. We are also particularly grateful to the landowner who generously donated this spectacular forest for protection in the first place.”
Thanks to the work of the Conservancy, eight beautiful acres on the Lake Erie shoreline will now be preserved in perpetuity for public use and appreciation as parkland.
“The Erie County Department of Parks, Recreation, and Forestry is uniquely positioned to protect, preserve, and maintain precious natural spaces, and with the help of partners like the Western New York Land Conservancy we are able to extend our efforts even further,” said Commissioner Dan Rizzo. “Thanks to the work of the Conservancy, eight beautiful acres on the Lake Erie shoreline will now be preserved in perpetuity for public use and appreciation as parkland. The Parks Department and Land Conservancy enjoy a strong partnership with a shared vision and long-term commitment to leaving a better Erie County for future generations, and land acquisitions such as this, which will now forever remain parkland, are the product of that partnership.”
“The opportunity to preserve this acreage for public use not only adds to Erie County’s parkland but is also consistent with natural habitat protection initiatives stated in the Initiatives for a Smart Economy,” said County Executive Mark Poloncarz. “Our parks are the legacy we leave to our children and grandchildren, and thanks to this partnership with the Land Conservancy, the Lakeshore Forest will now be available in perpetuity for residents to enjoy.”
For more information on upcoming events, volunteer opportunities, or the mission of the Western New York Land Conservancy, please call (716) 687-1225 or visit www.wnylc.org.