Press-Republican

Local News

March 9, 2013

Lewis Family Farm sells two parcels for preservation

WESTPORT — The Lewis Family Farm sold two parcels of land for preservation and protection of wildlife corridors.

The $120,000 sale, completed this week, conveys 87 acres in Westport and nearly 12 acres in the Town of Essex to Champlain Area Trails, a preservation land-trust based in Westport.

Salim B. “Sandy” Lewis said the decision to sell two pieces of the farm he owns with his wife, Barbara, secures open space, preserving a route for wildlife from Lake Champlain toward the Jay Mountain Range.

The sale comes as Lewis is looking to sell other farmland he owns in Essex for use as a nonprofit teaching facility for schools.

TARGETED AREA

The deal had been in discussion since last summer, according to Chris Maron, executive director of Champlain Area Trails.

“In order to protect biological biodiversity, the habitat needs to be protected. This land purchase is a key piece of connectivity,” he said Thursday.

The Westport parcel, bounded on one side by Angier Hill Road and Lake Shore Road on the other, will provide a narrow land bridge between the Department of Environmental Conservation’s Split Rock Mountain Wild Forest and Coon Mountain Nature Preserve in Westport.

“It’s been a targeted area for preservation for 15 years,” Maron said. “It’s something we discussed since I came to work here at the Nature Conservancy.

“We’ve been talking with Sandy Lewis since probably last June. He certainly understood its importance for habitat.”

The smaller parcel in the Town of Essex provides an additional wilderness span for habitat reaching toward the Adirondack foothills. That property borders the Boquet River.

NATURAL WILDWAY

Maron discussed the importance of connectivity.

“Split Rock Wild Forest is about 4,000 acres of state-owned land along Lake Champlain. It contains the largest natural (wildlife) community along the New York side of Lake Champlain.

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