• Protecting Special Places

    For centuries people have been inspired by the splendor of our region. Many have made a life here. Protecting what you hold dear is what we do. WLC owns key lands and partners with area landowners who want their properties to stay as they are – as forests, farms, verdant meadows, and coursing streams.
  • Getting Outdoors

    First time in the Eastern Catskills? Visiting friends and family? Looking for some R&R after a busy week in the City? You’ve found your source for experiencing Woodstock and the Eastern Catskills. With fun outdoor events throughout the year you’re sure to find something great to do. And watch for our children's programs.
  • Addressing Climate Change

    Yes, the climate is changing. Over the past few years we've experienced rain, wind, heat, drought, and cold in historic proportions. We can’t change the weather but together we can make our Catskill communities more waterproof, windproof, and any-kind-of-weather proof for our children and grandchildren.
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  • What's New
  • Featured Projects
  • Visit Our Preserve
  • Know A Place to Protect?

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Sloan Gorge Preserve

Located at the foot of Overlook Mountain near the Saugerties town line, the 88-acre Preserve is a treasure trove of mixed hardwood and coniferous forests, vernal pools, a seasonal stream, and bluestone quarries, and has the first self-guided geology trail in the area. (Download the trail guide)  pdf Learn more about Sloan Gorge from geologist Dr. Robert Titus. Click here for map

 

Longyear Farm Day pasture 2012

Recommend a Place to Protect

We are always looking for suggestions about places to be protected for future generations to enjoy. If you know of such a place, contact us!

 WLC in the News


Spend First Saturdays on the Trail with the Woodstock Land Conservancy

by Frances Marion Platt for Hudson Valley One, January 28, 2021

"The Woodstock Land Conservancy (WLC) has released its First Saturdays on the Trail schedule for 2021. If you want to participate in these expert-led nature hikes and activities, you’ll need to sign up well in advance. The January 2 Winter Stream Walk, visiting various habitats along the Sawkill Creek near the Zena Cornfield – whose preservation was the focus of the battle that brought WLC into being 33 years ago – was full up. The previous event, a tree identification walk at the Thorn Preserve, proved so popular that another outing was scheduled for the second Saturday in December.

In the past, in fact, says WLC’s program and outreach coordinator, Ellie Reese, “All our programs have filled. There’s always a waiting list.” Those in the know sign up on the organization’s website to get a News and Events e-blast each time registration opens up for a new outing.

Competition is even fiercer in this age of COVID, which forced a five-month hiatus in the First Saturdays program in 2020. Since its resumption, a maximum of ten people is allowed on each WLC hike, in order to enable social distancing in the woods.

Though a little farther away from New York City than the infamously hard-hit Gunks, Catskill Mountain trails have also been heavily impacted by increased demand for outdoor recreation during the pandemic. Some 250,000 users have been counted at the new Ashokan Rail Trail alone since its opening in October 2019.

“People are coming in droves from outside of the Catskills area to enjoy our public lands,” Reese reports. “And the Catskill Park is underfunded for visitorship. Our preserves have had overuse issues in this past summer and fall.”

That’s partly why WLC has adopted a policy of not publicizing the exact location of a couple of its properties – ones that, while open to the public, have very limited parking and can only be accessed through residential neighborhoods. If you’re a Woodstocker, Reese notes, you already know where they are. If you’re not, you can sign up for a First Saturday hike and be introduced.

The next one scheduled, a February 6 snowshoe outing (or hike, if there’s not enough snow) exploring a trail loop at the Israel Wittman Sanctuary that just opened in October 2020, is already booked solid, alas. But it’s not too soon to sign up for the March 6 Winter Hike, led by survival expert Michael Drillinger. “He’s been doing this for 20 or 30 years,” says Reese. “It’s his favorite time of year to be out there.”

A kid-friendly event dubbed a Forest School Demo is planned for April 3 at WLC’s downtown Woodstock site, the Comeau Property. It will be led by Heather Longyear, who runs a preschool at Longyear Farm – the site where WLC holds its annual autumn extravaganza in normal years. “This is our first children-centered program since the pandemic,” Reese says, explaining that the direction of the content will be determined by what the young participants find interesting as they wander the woods and observe. “It’s largely about exploration. We let them get their hands and feet dirty, and get a taste of nature that’s fun…They have no idea they’re learning.”

The following month brings a hands-on activity for grownups: a Pollinator Planting at the Thorn Preserve, which is co-managed by WLC and the Catskill Center for Conservation and Development. Volunteers will start seeds in March to be planted on May 8, under the tutelage of bee expert Chris Layman. It’s part of the Pollinator Pathway Planting Project: a new initiative that WLC undertook in 2020 to replace its annual BioBlitz species count, which requires far too much interaction in close proximity to be sustainable under pandemic conditions. Cultivating corridors of flowering plants that support declining bee populations is an activity by which ordinary folks can help counteract the habitat damage wrought by climate change and overdevelopment, according to naturalists.

The First Saturdays series will continue with a Wood Spoon Carving workshop in June, a Butterfly Walk in July, a Waterways Ride for cyclists in August, a Geology Walk at the Sloan Gorge – WLC’s most popular preserve – in September, a revival of Longyear Farm Day (COVID permitting) in October, an Autumn Bird Walk in November and a Winter Landscape Photography workshop in December. With the exception of the benefit dinner at Longyear Farm, all activities are free, but preregistration is an absolute must.

With the exception of the Israel Wittman Sanctuary, dogs are allowed on-leash in the WLC preserves, but you must come prepared to clean up after them. Dress appropriately for the weather and for uneven, sometimes wet terrain. Registrants will be informed of start times for the activities shortly before the scheduled dates."