From its earliest beginnings, the Catskill Center recognized the importance of protecting land. Since acquiring the Platte Clove Preserve in 1974, the Catskill Center has protected over 18,000 acres of land in the Catskills. A lot of this land has been transferred to New York State for the Forest Preserve. In addition to the Platte Clove Preserve, the Catskill Center also owns the Thorn Preserve in Woodstock and the land on which the Catskill Interpretive Center sits.
In all, the Catskill Center owns and manages about 350 acres of land that is also open to the public. The Catskill Center is a land trust, and this means we hold and manage conservation easements on private property. A conservation easement is an agreement by a landowner to give up development rights on their property forever in return for certain tax benefits. The conservation easement must be monitored to insure the restrictions are being kept and it is the job of a land trust to hold and monitor conservation easements. The Catskill Center holds 16 conservation easements totaling about 1800 acres.
The preserves are open to the public and are there to help people reconnect with the land and nature. They also provide vital habitat for wildlife. The conservation easements have several possible public benefits. They protect wild and open spaces, or important habitat, or they protect historic places or significant scenic views. The Catskill Center’s work as a land trust is among our most signature work, and because the lands in our trust are to be protected in perpetuity, this is some of our most important work. It is time intensive, and therefore costly, to monitor easements and do all the paperwork required by being a land trust. The preserves also require ongoing care and maintenance. The Catskill Center relies on contributions from you and others to fulfill our land trust mission. Please make a financial contribution today to help the Catskill Center continue to protect land tomorrow and beyond. Please also consider making a legacy contribution. You can ask to talk to Jeff Senterman or Michael Drillinger about setting up a legacy contribution.