|For Immediate Release
December 20, 2001
Contact: Scenic Hudson, Inc.
Seth McKee, Associate Director of Land Preservation
(845) 473-4440, ext. 228
Scenic Hudson Protects Historic Clermont Properties
POUGHKEEPSIE - In a move that permanently preserves important scenic areas in a National Historic Landmark District, The Scenic Hudson Land Trust, Inc. closed Dec. 18 on a conservation easement of more than 230 acres in the Town of Clermont in Columbia County. The easement, on a parcel known as the Clermont Horse Farm, will protect this bucolic, agricultural landscape next to the Clermont State Historic Site from inappropriate development and provide for a public trail linking Clermont to the historic Clarkson Chapel built by the Livingston family in 1860. The chapel is owned by Columbia County.
The Clermont Horse Farm once was part of the vast Livingston family holdings that reached from the Village of Tivoli in Dutchess County to the City of Hudson in Columbia County and stretched to the Connecticut border. In the mid-1990s, the parcel was proposed for a controversial rodeo facility that never received regulatory approval. Columbia County eventually confiscated the property due to unpaid taxes. The property's new owner plans to operate a thoroughbred breeding and training facility at the site, a role it has played in the past. A portion of the property also has been identified as a location for a small inn.
"We are very excited about protecting this vital historic property for future generations," said Steve Rosenberg, executive director of The Scenic Hudson Land Trust. "It will allow the property to remain a mix of open and wooded lands, which creates the 'mosaic' appearance that gives the Hudson Valley its special character."
"We're pleased about Scenic Hudson's success in securing this easement," said Bernadette Castro, commissioner of the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. "The project will preserve the scenic quality of Clermont and provide a wonderful new opportunity for visitors to walk to the charming Livingston chapel."
Conservation easements play an important role in preserving the valley's unique sense of place in the face of continuing sprawl development patterns. A conservation easement keeps ownership of a property in private hands but restricts development to preserve open space, scenic views and/or productive farmland. Protecting working farms is critical to the Hudson Valley's economy. In the past three years, Scenic Hudson has acquired conservation easements on 12 farms, encompassing over 2,700 acres, in Columbia and Dutchess counties.
Major support for the Clermont acquisition came from the Lila Acheson and DeWitt Wallace Hudson Valley Land Preservation Endowment. Scenic Hudson also was assisted by a local fundraising effort in the Clermont community near the farm.
The Clermont Horse Farm lies just north of the Clermont State Historic Site between Woods Road and Route 9G. It serves as a southern gateway to Columbia County and is within the Mid-Hudson Historic Shorelands Scenic District and Hudson River Estates National Historic Landmark District.
Scenic Hudson, Inc. is a 38-year-old nonprofit environmental organization and separately incorporated land trust dedicated to protecting and enhancing the scenic, natural, historic, agricultural and recreational treasures of the Hudson River and its valley. To date, we have protected 17,500 acres of land in 10 counties and created or enhanced 28 parks and preserves for public enjoyment.
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