MORRIS – Rick O’Keefe and John Chanik have protected 105 acres they own in Maple Grove on Route 10 in the Town of Morris, the Otsego Land Trust has announced it now has more than 11,000 acres in its portfolio.
The O’Keefe-Chanik acreage includes forests, prime farmlands, wetlands and wildlife habitat.
It was only a year ago September that protection of another tract in the Town of Morris, 80 acres owned by Alice and Joe Richardson, pushed the Land Trust over the 10,000 mark.
The two are also working with the Upper Susquehanna Coalition, Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) and Otsego County Soil and Water to plant native trees and shrubs along the waterway to clean the waters, stabilize the creek, and improve wetlands and other wildlife habitats.
John and Rick have also participated in the Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program, protecting grasslands for birds that make their nests on the ground.
With over 2,400 feet of frontage along Cahoon Creek, Rick and John have protected an important tributary to Butternut Creek.
“We finally had to say, that’s OK. That’s our contribution. Someone doesn’t need a thousand acres, a science station, or [something] historic on it – it’s good enough to protect your land.” Rick said.
“Most land is owned privately, so it’s up to the people to protect it and use it wisely.” John added.
Earlier this year, the headwaters of Cahoon Creek were conserved by Pam Lloyd – who in partnership with OLT protected 22 acres of valuable wetlands – proving that when citizens work together towards the same goal – valuable and important lands and waters can be protected.