Land Trust, Landowners Protect 222 Acres In Decatur, Franklin

Land Trust, Landowners Protect

222 Acres In Decatur, Franklin


COOPERSTOWN – Otsego Land Trust announced today it is working with landowner Gail Sondergaard to protect 83 acres in Decatur, and with landowners Marjorie Kellogg and Barbara Newman for another 140 in Franklin, 222 acres in all.

The Sondergaard property fronts on Decatur Creek, a trout stream that empties into Schenevus Creek and eventually the Susquehanna River.  Working agricultural lands and stands of hemlock and northern hardwoods make this property an ecologically rich habitat for regional flora and fauna.  This is the Land Trust’s second conserved property on Decatur Creek, or what locals refer to as Parker Creek.

“It’s wonderful to be able to protect the land and water,” said Sondergaard, “also to be able to give the example to my granddaughter, so she knows we all need to participate in protecting the environment for future generations.”

The Kellogg-Newman property in Franklin, also a combination of working agricultural lands and northern hardwood and hemlock forests, is traversed by Carr’s Creek and two of its tributaries which eventually empty into the Susquehanna. A large beaver dam has formed a pond and wetlands site rich in wildlife including fox, coyotes, and fishers.  DEC has been conducting fisher studies on the property.

“Having finalized the easement gave me a much greater thrill of relief and satisfaction than I expected,” said Kellogg.  “It’s like a connection to the future – when I can no longer do it, OLT will be there looking out for the health and welfare of this piece of land I’ve loved since the moment I set eyes on it forty years ago.”

The farm and forestlands of both properties make them diverse working lands that can produce agricultural and forest products as well as provide important habitats for biological diversity.  Protecting land along the streams of both these properties contributes to maintaining the buffers that help to prevent flooding, especially important because of increased risks of flooding due to climate change.

“These women have contributed in a hugely important way to protecting into perpetuity the agricultural and forestlands and clean water we all rely on,” said Land Trust Executive Director Virginia Kennedy.  “What could be a better legacy for the generations to come?”

OLT is currently working on six additional land protection projects in Otsego, Delaware, Herkimer, and Schoharie Counties and will pass the prestigious 10,000 acres protected landmark this year.