Land Conservation Victory
Teatown Lake Reservation and Westchester Land Trust Partner to Protect 5 Acres at Shadow Lake in Yorktown
Conservation collaboration buffers preserve forest and drinking water supply lands
Lori Ensinger, senior advisor at Westchester Land Trust; Kara Hartigan Whelan, president of Westchester Land Trust; Kevin Carter, Teatown Lake Reservation’s executive director; Yorktown supervisor Matt Slater; and Geoff Thompson, past chairman of Teatown Lake Reservation.
Ossining and Bedford Hills, NY (November 28, 2022)—Westchester Land Trust (WLT) and Teatown Lake Reservation, in partnership with the State of New York, have announced the acquisition of a five-acre parcel of land along Shadow Lake in Yorktown. The tract was the last remaining unprotected developable property around the lake, and features a pristine area overlooking the lake. The parcel serves as an essential direct link to an ecologically valuable area of rugged, adjacent open space that is currently privately owned but identified as a high priority for future protection. Preservation of the five-acre property will buffer the drinking water supply of the New Croton Reservoir from the impacts of additional development in the future. This land is the final piece of a nearly 20-year effort by local organizations and governmental agencies to protect all available open space around Shadow Lake.
“This project was several years in the making and we are thrilled to continue prioritizing the conservation of lands that protect our public drinking water supplies,” said Kara Whelan, WLT President. “WLT was awarded a competitive state-wide grant of $475,000 for this acquisition through a Water Quality Improvement Project (WQIP) Grant administered by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, which covered about 80% of the total project costs. We are so grateful that a generous anonymous donor to Teatown provided the remaining balance.”
“We are extremely pleased that the transaction with the property owner has been successfully concluded, thereby continuing our 60-year tradition of protecting environmentally sensitive lands for today and future generations. This has been and continues to be a core part of our mission,” said Kevin Carter, Teatown’s Executive Director.
The undeveloped land, located on Spring Valley Road and Kitchawan Road (Route 134) was actively available for sale and likely would have been developed into a large private home. The State grant funding enabled the two organizations to collaborate to purchase the parcel directly from the landowner. The closing on the acquisition took place in late October, with Westchester Land Trust taking possession of the parcel and immediately transferring ownership to Teatown, whose protected lands are adjacent to the property. Teatown will manage the property with the principal purpose of drinking water source protection.
Conserving the open space around Shadow Lake has been nearly two decades in the making. Teatown was successful in negotiating with Westchester County in 2004 for the protection of the seven-acre Shadow Lake and 50% of its shoreline, including the dam and outflow stream, along with nearly 50 acres of woodlands. The water from Shadow Lake feeds into nine-acre Vernay Lake, which, along with 59 acres, were acquired by Teatown in 2011 with the help of Westchester County and the Trust for Public Land. Vernay Lake, in turn, drains into Teatown Lake, which flows into Bailey Brook and the water then goes into the Croton Reservoir. Together this three-lake linkage protects a significant supply of water entering the reservoir, which was the driving factor behind the State’s award of the WQIP grant.
“Protecting this final development parcel on Shadow Lake completes a program we have been working on for many years and at the same time opens the way for future protection efforts,” said Carter. “We are grateful that our long-standing partnership with Westchester Land Trust has once again brought positive results.”
WLT’s Whelan echoed that sentiment. “Westchester Land Trust continues to stress the importance of partnerships to accelerate the pace and quality of land conservation in the region. Together, we can accomplish so much more than any one organization can individually, and as our local communities all face the increasing impacts of climate change, the urgency of these collaborative efforts has never been greater.”
About Westchester Land Trust
Westchester Land Trust works with public and private partners to preserve land in perpetuity and to enhance the natural resources in Westchester and eastern Putnam counties—a densely populated region under persistent threat from the pressures of development. WLT has preserved over 9,000 acres of open space. More than 1,000 acres of land are owned by the organization which are free and open to the public year-round. Founded in 1988, WLT was one of the first land trusts in the nation to receive accreditation through the Land Trust Accreditation Commission. For more information visit www.westchesterlandtrust.org.
Teatown Lake Reservation is a nonprofit nature preserve and environmental education center located in the Lower Hudson Valley. With 15 miles of hiking trails and over 1,000 acres of protected land, Teatown is the largest nonprofit community-supported nature preserve in Westchester County.
Teatown’s mission is to inspire its community to lifelong environmental stewardship. Learn more at www.teatown.org.