Press-Republican

Environment

July 16, 2013

CATS wins $18,000 grant

WILLSBORO — Champlain Area Trails (CATS) recently received a “transactional grant” from the State Conservation Partnership Program to put toward conserving the 319-acre DeNeale property in Willsboro. 

“The $18,000 grant will cover the costs associated with negotiation and receiving the gift of a conservation easement that keeps the land in agriculture, preserves the forest and protects clean water,” a press release said.

The easement also provides land for hiking/skiing trail through the forest, part of a trail CATS envisions that will link Willsboro and Essex.

“We are so pleased to receive this grant,” said Chris Maron, CATS executive director. 

“The state’s conservation partnership program is a great support for land trusts who work with property owners, like Dick and Leanna DeNeale, who want to conserve their family’s land.”

‘WONDERFUL REWARD’

A conservation easement is a legal agreement that promotes sustainable farming and forestry practices, protects water quality and restricts specified land uses, like haphazard residential development. 

Landowners who donate easements may qualify for income-tax deductions and property-tax benefits.

“This grant is a wonderful reward to CATS for the time and expense it has taken to deal with the unique complications involved in conserving our farm,” Mrs. DeNeale said in the release. 

“Years ago, when we bought this property, I wanted to be sure it stayed open and available for farming and not turn into a housing development. CATS helped us fulfill our dream, the grant helps cover their costs, and the trail will allow the public to enjoy our wonderful woods.”

CONSERVE PRIVATE LAND

The CATS funding is among 75 grants totaling $1.4 million that were awarded to 57 different land trusts around the state. 

“These grants help conserve private lands and will result in significant environmental and economic benefits for our communities,” said Joe Martens, commissioner of the State Department of Environmental Conservation.

The nonprofit Champlain Area Trails exists to develop hiking/skiing trails that connect Champlain Valley communities, as well as people to nature. And its mission is also to promote economic vitality and protect habitat and scenic vistas. 

For more information, go to www.champlainareatrails.com or call 962-CATS (2287).

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