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October 2, 2003

Contact: Ian Michaels (718) 595-6600

New York City Purchases 610-Acre Parcel in Woodstock and Acquires Conservation Easement on 373-Acre Parcel in Denning and Neversink

Overall Watershed Land Acquisitions Now Exceed 49,000 Acres

Commissioner Christopher O. Ward of the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) announced today that the DEP has recently acquired a 610-acre property in the Town of Woodstock, within the Ashokan Reservoir Basin, and a conservation easement on a 373-acre property in the Towns of Denning and Neversink, within the Neversink Reservoir Basin. The transactions were completed as part of New York City’s Land Acquisition Program, which identifies strategic properties within the City’s watershed and seeks to secures them for long-term water quality protection.

The vacant Woodstock property includes most of Acorn Hill as well as the eastern half of Yankeetown Pond and associated wetlands. The vacant Denning and Neversink property encompasses roughly four miles along both banks of the Neversink River.

“The response from landowners to the Land Acquisition Program has been remarkable,” said Commissioner Ward. “To date, over 630 willing sellers have agreed to accept the City’s fair market value purchase offers, selling land in fee or easement. This initiative has allowed the City to protect over 49,000 acres of sensitive watershed lands from development, and to do so without loss of property taxes to local communities. In this case, two important properties have been protected from further development, and the Woodstock parcel will also provide significant recreational opportunities to those with public access permits. We look forward to working with our local partners to ensure this property is accessed safely by the public.

“In addition to land purchases, the City also acquires conservation easements at fair market value,” continued Ward. “As of this date, 38 landowners have agreed to sell the City conservation easements on 5,362 acres, and as more landowners learn of the benefits of conservation easements, we expect this segment of the Land Acquisition Program to continue to expand.”

An additional 4,990 acres in farm easements throughout the Catskills have been secured by the Watershed Agricultural Council, one of the City’s partners in watershed protection. One 508-acre farm is under easement in Ulster County, while the remaining farm easements are in Delaware County. Farm easements protect land from development while allowing the continuation of agricultural activities under best management practices that protect water quality.

The Land Acquisition Program acquires land or conservation easements at fair market value from willing sellers only, and pays property taxes in proportion to the property rights acquired. All such properties are purchased under conditions established by the 1997 Watershed Memorandum of Agreement, which was signed by local communities, New York State, as well as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. For more information, landowners can contact the Land Acquisition Program at (800) 575-LAND.


More Information

NYC Department of Environmental Protection
Public Affairs

59-17 Junction Boulevard
19th Floor
Flushing, NY 11373

(718) 595-6600