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Land Trusts Protect Peekskill Hollow Brook

Westchester Land Trust and Hudson Highlands Land Trust will protect the Peekskill Hollow Brook and rename it the O'Connell Boulder Field Preserve. Photo Credit: Contributed
The O'Connell Boulder Field Preserve. Photo Credit: Contributed

PUTNAM VALLEY, N.Y. -- Westchester Land Trust in Bedford Hills and Hudson Highlands Land Trust in Garrison announced that together they have permanently protected a critical landholding within the watershed of the Peekskill Hollow Brook, which is part of the Peekskill and Cortlandt drinking water supply system. 

The two parcels of land, which will be combined and renamed the O’Connell Boulder Field Preserve, are on Barger Street in Putnam Valley. The land was donated to WLT by the executors of the estate of William O. O’Connell, who owned the property. WLT will maintain sole ownership of the preserve, while HHLT will hold a conservation easement on the property, which will permanently protect the land and its natural resources. 

The O'Connell family is thrilled that their father’s land will be protected forever. 

“We are so happy that the Westchester Land Trust has protected this land," said Mary O’Connell, O’Connell’s daughter and co-executrix of his estate along with her sister Margaret O’Connell.  "Our father loved this property and cared for it for many years. By creating this preserve, you have given our family a great legacy. Thank you."

“Protecting the preserve was a major priority for our conservation organizations because of the historical significance and environmental benefits it affords the community,” said WLT President Lori J. Ensinger. In addition to helping protect the Peekskill and Cortlandt drinking water supply, the preserve lies within an area designated by Congress in 1996 as one of 49 federally recognized National Heritage Areas.  Additionally, the Highlands Region was designated a Nationally Significant Landscape in the federal Highlands Conservation Act signed into law in 2004.   

Signage marking the preserve will be installed this spring. Conservation partners will hold a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the community to celebrate the creation of the preserve in the near future.  

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