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Otsego Land Trust

EDITORIAL: The Right Leader, At The Right Time?

Editorial, May 11, 2018

WERTENBAKER LAND

TRUST PRESIDENT

The Right Leader,
At The Right Time?

From the fields at the end of Graves Road, Cherry Valley, recently acquired by Caleb Wertenbaker’s Glensfoot farm, no human habitation is visible.

People generally recognize Otsego County’s geographic schizophrenia. (Schizophrenic, in the best possible way, of course.)
To the south, there are 10 Interstate exits – 11 if you count Sidney’s – largely undeveloped (except Exits 14-15, at Southside Oneonta), ideal for commerce, manufacturing, distribution and other job-creating uses.
To the north is the pristine Glimmerglass watershed, a national environmental icon, surrounded by pretty hamlets and villages, most of them in sad states of deterioration. (Wouldn’t Westford and Westville, to pick two, be delightful with an influx of young families and new incomes?)
Jobs on the highway. Homes amid lovely hills and valleys. An ideal future to contemplate.

The Otsego Land Trust, which achieved its goal of bringing 10,000 acres under conservation easements by 2010 (a little late, but no matter), is an important piece in achieving the happy equation: When the jobs inevitably arrive (fingers crossed), entities like the Land Trust, it is to be hoped, will have ensured sufficient protections are in place to avoid ruination.
So how nice, on the one hand, is it to reflect on Princeton, N.J., developer Harry Levine’s successful conclusion of 12 years as Land Trust president, and his succession by Caleb Wertenbaker, a ninth-generation member of a family that has tended Glensfoot farm in Cherry Valley since the 1790s. (Currently, Todd Gohde is managing production of certified organic hay there.)
Glensfoot now encompasses some 1,200 acres, and Wertenbaker underscored the importance of the Land Trust’s mission the other day during a walk on rolling hills at the top of Graves Road, the latest 500 acres added to the family’s holdings, now being placed under conservation easement.
At the top of a meadow, less than two miles from busy Route 20, and half that from the Village of Cherry Valley, there was no sign of human habitation in any direction, only fields, forest and blue sky.
“It’s always been here and will always be here,” said Wertenbaker, who since graduating from Oberlin in 1996 has made a living in set design in New York City and Boston, escaping up to these parts whenever he can.

Levine
Szarpa


Harry Levine, by all accounts, has been an activist Land Trust president. Foremost, he raised staffing from a sometimes half-time executive director to five professionals, including the latest executive director, Pat Szarpa, about to mark her first anniversary. She served for six years as executive director of the Western New York Land Conservancy, based in East Aurora, the Buffalo suburb, before moving to Cooperstown in 2012.
To the heartfelt thanks of many, Levine and the Land Trust board stepped up and saved Brookwood Gardens, 23 acres on Otsego Lake a mile north of Cooperstown, from falling into private hands and, thus, lost to the public forever. A businessman, though, he was particularly concerned about the P&L.
Making Brookwood financially sustainable requires $25,000-40,000 a year, depending what Land Trust overhead is assigned to it, Wertenbaker said. Shortterm, Levine had lined up a handful of donors to keep Brookwood going.
But it’s no surprise that Szarpa, when asked for her three top priorities, listed Brookwood as one of them. Some of that will be generated by giving a franchise to Brent Baysinger’s Canoe & Kayak Rentals of Portlandville to enable canoe rentals at Brookwood.
Additionally, the northern half of the property, the deteriorating home there razed, the two bridges over Leatherstocking Creek repaired, will soon be reopened, enhancing weddings and other uses on the southside – and, meanwhile, available for birding and other passive uses.
For the Land Trust to flourish, the general public has to care, and Szarpa is working with the national Land Trust Alliance “to create strong images so we can tell our story,” an outreach effort in its early stages. Plus, she is preparing for reaccreditation and taking other steps to make sure the organization is as strong as it might be.
(Plus, expect additions to the “Blueway,” a trail of publicly accessible sites from Deawongo Island in Canadarago Lake to where Oak Creek meets the Susquehanna, (near the site of David “Natty Bumppo” Shipman’s cabin.)

Whereas Levine, out of necessity, took the lead, Wertenbaker inherits a more mature organization, and sees his role as helping the Land Trust work. “I’m not going to be the driver. I’ll play a leadership role, but ‘leading from behind’,” he said. “The day-to-day business is 100 percent in the hands of the staff.”
As a set designer – and, mostly recently, as creative services director for productionglue, a New York City events company – Wertenbaker as manager helps “creative projects and creative people” accomplish their goals, rather than his agenda. “What I want (in the Land Trust) is a group of people to work together on a common goal.”
The right leader at this particular time, wouldn’t you say?

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HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for WEDNESDAY, MAY 16
HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for WEDNESDAY, MAY 16

Hanford Mills Opening Day!!!

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OPENING DAY – 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Kick of the 45th season the museum with guided tours of the water-powered sawmill, gristmill, woodworking workshop. Admission $9/adult. Hanford Mills Museum, 51 Co. Hwy. 12, East Meredith. Call 607-278-5744 or visit www.hanfordmills.org

BE INFORMED! – 6:30 – 8 p.m. Learn about food gardens, including what plants are best for our climate, when to start planting and how to care for your garden. Clark Sports Center, Cooperstown. Call 607-282-4087 or visit occainfo.org/calendar/be-informed-lecture-series-food-gardens/

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HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for SUNDAY, MAY 6
HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for SUNDAY, MAY 6

‘Visions & Miracles’

With Argus String Quartet

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CONCERT – 4 p.m. The prize winning Argus Quartet perform program entitled “Visions and Miracles” featuring music from the renaissance to the present with composers like Josquin, Haydn, Mendelssohn, others. Christ Episcopal Church, 46 River St., Cooperstown. Call 877-666-7421 or visit www.cooperstownmusicfest.org

PANCAKE BREAKFAST – 8 a.m. – Noon. Enjoy all-you-can-eat breakfast of pancake, eggs, sausage, maple syrup, applesauce, more with your friends. All donation go to upkeep of the Historical Building. Suggested donation, $8/adult. The Old Grange, 210 Cemetery Road, Fly Creek. Call 607-547-1275.

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HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for WEDNESDAY, FEB.7
HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for WEDNESDAY, FEB.7

Otsego Land Trust Presents

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LIONS CLUB – 6:30 p.m. At this meeting Patricia Szarpa, Executive Director of the Otsego Land Trust, will speak. The Tunnicliff Inn, 34 Pioneer St., Cooperstown. Visit www.facebook.com/CooperstownLionsClub/

HISTORY DISCUSSION – 6:30 – 8 p.m. Introductory Session  of 6 discussions on “Making Sense of the Civil War” facilitated by SUNY Oneonta’s Susan Goodier. Readings available for loan while supplies last. Registration required. Huntington Memorial Library, 62 Chestnut St., Oneonta. Call 607-432-1980 or visit hmloneonta.org/adult-programs/

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HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for SATURDAY, AUG. 26
HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for SATURDAY, AUG. 26

On Being Positive

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BE POSITIVE FESTIVAL – 10 a.m.-10 p.m. The first annual festival for all ages. Activities include speakers, volunteer opportunities, workshops, art, music, food, and dancing in locations in Downtown Cooperstown. Call (607)638-5538 or visit www.facebook.com/BePositiveFestival/

DANCE – 7-10 p.m. Everyone is invited to the multi-cultural and multi-generational dance capping off the BePositive Festival with music by local bands. The Farmers Market, Cooperstown. Call (607)638-5538 or visit www.facebook.com/BePositiveFestival/

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HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for SATURDAY, JULY 22
HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for SATURDAY, JULY 22

Deowongo Island Picnic

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DEOWONGO ISLAND DAY – Noon-3 p.m. Paddle to the island for a picnic that includes live music, food, and a kayak raffle. Or ride the ferry from Bakers Beach, 8114 State Highway 28, Richfield Springs. www.facebook.com/OtsegoLandTrust/

PAINTING PARTY – Noon-7 p.m. Paint the Turning point. FORDO will provide pizza, soda, and a FORDO shirt to volunteers. The Turning Point, 22 Elm St., Oneonta. Call (607)267-4435 or visit www.facebook.com/Friends-of-Recovery-of-Delaware-and-Otsego-Counties-Inc-FOR-DO-134786876605003/

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HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for SATURDAY, MAY 20
HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for SATURDAY, MAY 20

Spring Street Fair & Market

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SPRING FLING – Noon-5 p.m. 2-day event featuring farmers, crafts-people, food vendors, and live music. Doubleday field parking lot, 1 Doubleday Ct., Cooperstown. Info, www.thisiscooperstown.com/events/spring-fling-street-fair

RELAY FOR LIFE – 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Support the search for a cure to cancer, remember the dead, and support the living. Wilber park, 1-19 S. Main St., St. Hwy. 28, Milford. Info, Lauren.Ferraro@cancer.org

BROOKWOOD POINT REOPENING – Noon-5 p.m. Enjoy food, lawn games, music, kayaking, demonstrations, and more at Brookwood Point, 6000 State Highway 80, West Lake Rd., Cooperstown. Info, otsegolandtrust.org

HISTORY REMEMBERED – 1 p.m. Unveiling Cato Freedom historical marker. In memory of Cato Freedom who gained his freedom due to his service in the Revolutionary War. Butternut Valley Cemetery, Co. Hwy. 16, Burlington Flats. Info, Deb Mackenzie, President Otsego County Historical Association, (607) 293-6635.

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Ed Rowley’s Portfolio

BROOKWOOD POINT

Ed Rowley’s Portfolio

SCARLET TANAGER: A Monet-like spot of red sets off Ed Rowley’s study of Brookwood Point’s Garden House.

Raised in the Town of Oneonta, Ed Rowley spent many boyhood summers at his family’s camp on Otsego Lake, soon becoming familiar with such Glimmerglass’ charms as Brookwood Gardens, about a mile up the west wide of the lake, then owned by the late Bob Cook.   Later, as Rowley pursued a lifelong interest in photography, he captured hundreds of images of the much-beloved property.   With Otsego Land Trust’s Grand Reopening of the 22-acre lakeside parcel noon-5 p.m. Saturday as Brookwood Point, Ed sent along these recent images of the property to give the public a taste of the delights it will be experiencing for years to come.

REVIEW ROWLEY’S BROOKWOOD PORTFOLIO
CLICK FOR A BROOKWOOD GARDENS HISTORY
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HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for SUNDAY, MAY 7
HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for SUNDAY, MAY 7

The Music Festival Begins

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SPRING CONCERT – 4 p.m. The first performance of the Summer Music festival presents Brahms Horn Trio and other classics. The Otesaga, Cooperstown. Info, www.cooperstownmusicfest.org

VOLUNTEER – 1-4 p.m. Help clean up the gardens. Tools and refreshments provided. Brookwood Point, 6000 State Highway 80, West Lake Rd., Cooperstown. Info, otsegolandtrust.org

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21 Railroad Ave. Cooperstown, New York 13326 • (607) 547-6103