News of Otsego County

Otsego Land Trust

This Week – 02-17-22


The Freeman’s Journal • Hometown Oneonta

February 17, 2022


The SUNY Oneonta Biological Field Station volunteer diving team held an ice-dive training February 12 for the first time this winter with the ice one foot thick and air temperatures in the 40s. The dive team works with the field station and the Village of Cooperstown to maintain buoys, science instruments, and study the ecosystem of Otsego Lake. Pictured from left to right Ed Lentz, Lucas LaTarte (holding the safety line), Kari Minissale (noting the divers’ direction), Wayne Bunn, Tiffany Valenti, and PADI Master SCUBA Diver Trainer Paul Lord. Diving are Noel Odell and David Turner. Photo for by Larissa Ryan.


American Irish Historical Society plots move from NYC to Cooperstown

Blood shortage has impact on local supply

Inside The Paper

Mayor Drnek says it’s Oneonta’s “light-switch moment”

State Police recruitment tests underway

Bassett begins to lift visitation restrictions



“We’re following the science.”


The Driftwoods — Then and now and why

Legitimate Political Discourse by a Loving Crowd?

Otsego Land Trust: A year-round commitment to nature

History Column

Bound Volumes


Letter: Farmers deserve a fair return

Editors Policy


Jacek D. Rudnicki

Steven D. Brown

Leslie E. D. B. Jordan


Happenin’ Otsego


Otsego Land Trust

Otsego Land Trust: A year-round commitment to nature

The “Otsego Outdoors Winter Octet Challenge” continues into March and includes trails through Otsego Land Trust locations the group’s volunteers work to keep open throughout the year.

Otsego Land Trust is a private, not-for-profit organization that works to preserve the distinctive rural character of the region by protecting working forests and farms, natural ecosystems, and scenic landscapes that define the county. Community volunteers, including the dozen members of the Trust’s board of directors, maintain the trails and gardens on its public access properties, plan community events, and promote educational programs. Volunteers also help with special projects as needed, including environmental research, clean-up, and monitoring.

The Trust provides free public access to 13 distinctive natural areas in the Otsego region. “Blueway” sites offer opportunities for hiking, paddling, snowshoeing, birdwatching, or simply enjoying the changing seasons. Brookwood Point Preserve just north of Cooperstown offers direct public access to the shoreline of Otsego Lake. Deowongo Island in Richfield is accessible only by non-motorized watercraft. The Parslow Road Preserve includes wetland trails along Oaks Creek, while the Lordsland Preserve in Roseboom has miles of trails through upland forests.

Octet challenge underway

Octet challenge underway

Otsego Outdoors presents a winter challenge to all adventure seekers looking for fun and exercise this winter.

The Winter Octet Challenge, the fourth of its kind, consists of cross-country skiing, snow-shoeing, and hiking to highlight accessible trails for those seeking outdoor activities.

Participants choose 8 of 13 trails to complete at state parks, state forests, town parks, Otsego Land Trust properties, and private properties open to the public. A “Choose Your Own” option opens the door to different activities such as sledding, tubing, ice fishing, and more.

Staff Picks: Our best bets for local activities

Staff Picks
Our best bets for local activities

Kathleen Peters
Graphics Designer
Otsego Land Trust

The Husband and I are blessed with a beautiful property in Schuyler Lake. We decided several years ago it was worth preserving, and opted to get a conservation easement on our 22 acres through the Otsego Land Trust (OLT). We have our own land to explore and enjoy, but the Land Trust has open spaces available for everyone.

Editorial: Missions possible

Missions possible

On its editorial page over the past few weeks, The Freeman’s Journal has commented on, among other important issues, the fog-like haze that was smoke from the western wildfires that fell on the lake and village, leaving the air heavily dangerous for long periods of time, and the latest COVID surge that is gnawing, for the most part, on our unvaccinated and younger residents — children — as well as causing new concern among our older population. None of this was any good and all of it is sad and, no doubt to some, depressing.

However, for us here in Otsego County, this distant, remote upstate almost-forgotten (or, perhaps, not yet discovered) place, there is a special glimmer; something that can bring a smile; something to lighten our load and keep us on a happier track. Otsego Lake.

Nine miles of clear, deep water that laps endlessly on steep tree-lined shores and often reflects the changing sky and clouds and forest, the lake is a home to myriad fish and feathered wildlife, a reservoir for the village of Cooperstown and a summer and winter playground for boaters, tubers, swimmers, sailors, rowers, paddlers, divers, fishermen and water, and snow-skiers. Glacier-created during the last great Ice Age, and spring-fed as well as stream-fed, this superb natural resource is the headwaters of the Susquehanna River. In the past it has played a variety of roles in the Leatherstocking novels of James Fenimore Cooper, who called his – and our – beautiful lake The Glimmerglass.

John D. Robinson, 83 October 15, 1937 – July 4, 2021

In Memoriam

John D. Robinson, 83

October 15, 1937 – July 4, 2021

John D. Robinson

PHOENIX MILLS – John D. Robinson, a Cooperstown native son and avid outdoorsman, passed away late Sunday night, July 4, 2021, at Cooperstown Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing. He was 83.

Born October 15, 1937, in Cooperstown, he was one of three sons of Torrey G. and Leonore M. (Goddard) Robinson. John could trace his long-standing family roots in Otsego County back to 1792 when his ancestors settled in Lena in the Town of New Lisbon.

John graduated with the Class of 1956 from Cooperstown High School. For many years he was employed in the area as a union laborer, and was involved with construction projects at Hyde Hall, Mary Imogene Bassett Hospital and Interstate 88.

Throughout his life he enjoyed outdoor activities, and spent innumerable hours exploring the Otsego region swimming, hiking, fishing, trapping, and hunting. He was also an avid motorcyclist – his favorites were Indians – and also enjoyed riding snowmobiles in the winter months. His hand-crafted log cabin home on the shore of the Susquehanna River, his workmanship in stone masonry at Hyde Hall and his keen interest in local history reflected his deep and abiding passion for local culture and conservation.

Rowing gains popularity on Otsego Lake

Rowing gains popularity on Otsego Lake

by PHOEBE SMITH • Special to

Former Olympic rower Andrea Thies demonstrates proper technique during a class Friday, June 18, on Otsego Lake. (Phoebe Smith/

Rowing opportunities have been expanding on Otsego Lake the past few years and a two-time Olympian has been a big part of bringing the sport to Cooperstown and Otsego County.

The Otsego Area Rowing program, under the guidance of Oneonta’s two-time Olympian, Andrea Thies, has been expanding for several summers now as people take up the water sport.

A rower from her collegiate years at Cornell University, Thies aims to offer access to the sport regardless of age, ability or experience.

OAR was established in 2017, in conjunction with the Otsego Land Trust and Brookwood Point, with an emphasis on adolescent rowing opportunities.

The not-for-profit offers classes and opportunities for all ages and abilities. Although many of OAR’s programs were restricted last year because of the coronavirus pandemic, this summer’s rowing opportunities are in full swing with various adult and kid camps.

Cooperstown & Around: June 3, 2021

Cooperstown & Around

Otsego Outdoors to offer
summer activities challenge

Otsego2000, the Otsego County Conservation Association and the Otsego Land Trust will offer another outdoor activities badge, this one geared to summer activities.

The activities include hiking, kayaking, cycling, canoeing and more.

Those who successfully complete eight of the 16 activities will be awarded an Otsego Outdoors Summer Octet badge.

Go to for more information.

HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO: Independence Day Boat Parade 07-04-20

Independence Day Boat Parade


BOAT PARADE – 3 p.m. Get out for the annual ‘We Love Our Lake’ decorated boat parade. This years theme ‘Lets Celebrate – It’s The 4th Of July.’ All boats welcome from human powered to motor powered and all in between. Participants are reminded to practice social distancing. Parade assembles at 3 Mile Point and proceeds on West Side of the Lake to Lakefront Park, Cooperstown. 518-542-6630 or visit for info.

Get a Free Tree At The Farmers’ Market

Land Trust Offers Free Trees

COOPERSTOWN – Though many 4th of July traditions are on hold this year, the Otsego Land Trust’s free tree giveaway is still a go.

“Giving away trees to community has been a 4th of July tradition for the land trust,” commented Patricia Szarpa, Executive Director, “with the cancellation of the annual Springfield Parade, we still want to carry out this tradition, but in a different way this year!”

Majority Takes Hold,  Sells Mountaintop Lot To Otsego Land Trust


Majority Takes Hold, 

Sells Mountaintop Lot

To Otsego Land Trust

Concern: Non-Profit Won’t Pay Property Taxes
The 87-acre Rose Hill property adjoins the Otsego Land Trust’s 85-acre Fetterlee Forest on the mountaintop at right, overlooking Canadarago Lake and Trust-owned Deowongo Island, at left.

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to

County Rep. Peter Oberacker, R-Schenevus, tells his colleagues it would take 497 years of county taxes on Rose Hill to make up the $151,000 the Otsego Land Trust wants to pay for it right now.   At left is Rep. Michelle Farwell, D-Butternuts/Morris/Pittsfield. (Jim Kevlin/

COOPERSTOWN – A coalition of Republican and Democratic reps took control of the floor at this morning’s county Board of Representatives’ meeting and approved the $151,000 sale of the 87-acre Rose Hill property to the Otsego Land Trust, a non-profit not required to pay property taxes.

The land, atop Panther Mountain on the north end of the Town of Otsego, connects with the Land Trust’s 85-acre Fetterlee Forest, doubling the trust’s holding, which features a scenic overlook of Canadarago Lake and Deowongo Island, as well as hiking trails.

The sale had been stymied in the county board’s committee system since April, failing to pass the Public Works Committee, then failing to pass the Administrative Committee. Normally, that would have ended it.

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