Freckelton, Graves Properties Protected
COOPERSTOWN – Projects in Cherry Valley (Otsego County) and Franklin (Delaware County) helped make 2015 the Otsego Land Trust’s second most successful year.
In Franklin, the trust worked with local artist and landowner Sondra Freckelton to protect her 108-acre property. Sondra’s land is rich with diverse wildlife habitats and contains a managed forest that has been sustainably harvested over the years. The property has approximately 6,000 feet of frontage along the Ouleout Creek, a trout spawning stream. Sondra has spotted everything from black bears and their cubs to river otter traveling the Ouleout Creek corridor on her property.
It includes the barn where her late husband, Jack Beal, painted four 12-by-12 murals for the U.S. Department of Labor’s new headquarters in Washington D.C., which opened in 1976.
In Cherry Valley, the trust completed the second largest project in its history, conserving the 533-acre Graves Farm property. The project was second only to one of the trust’s first conservation easements, over 20 years ago, with the Greenwoods Conservancy in the Town of Burlington. The Graves Farm property encompasses over 14,000 feet of frontage along tributary to the Cherry Valley Creek as well as forest and agricultural lands, which are in active production with a local farm family.
Adding to the good news for the trust, Congress made an enhanced tax incentive permanent, and President Obama signed the bill into law on Dec. 18. It raises the federal income tax deduction a donor can take for donating a conservation easement to 50 percent of adjusted gross income, or 100 percent for qualified farmers and ranchers, and extends the carry-forward period for utilizing unused deductions to 15 years.