Third generation farmer, Jim Young, and his wife, Toni work on and run their organic dairy farm in Philadelphia, NY. Their farm is the eighth property protected through the Army Compatible Use Buffer Program (ACUB). The goal of the ACUB program is to establish a “buffer” area of farm and forest lands in special areas near Fort Drum to limit the affects concentrated development has on the soldiers’ ability to train. The program pays landowners to conserve their land, while allowing for agriculture and forestry. The properties stay on the tax-roles and in private ownership. Their family’s intent to pass the farm down to their three children and to keep it protected from development was always a dream, but until this program came along, it was never for sure.
Jim and Mindy Whitmore’s farm has been a dairy farm for almost 65 years. The Whitmores, along with their three sons, could not imagine selling the farm for development, so when the opportunity came along to keep the farm in the family while investing at the same time, the family couldn’t have been more thrilled. “We grew up on this farm. I’m so glad my mom and dad decided to preserve it for the future,” reflected Lucas Whitmore, the oldest son of conservation landowners, Jim and Mindy Whitmore. Being so close to Fort Drum, they continued to see the development surrounding them, and they didn’t want that to be the case with their land. The Army Compatible Use Buffer (ACUB) program came along at just the right time, helping this family achieve their conservation wishes by passing the farm down to their three sons.
Spring Brook Farm
Virginia Batchelder’s grandfather bought the Spring Brook Farm in 1924, and since then it has become a sort of “Gateway” to Rome. In its hay-day the farm supported five families with all the children working on the farm. Today, the farmhouse is the second oldest house in Rome (that’s in its original location) and the farm fields are still actively managed. By partnering with us to protect her land, Virginia has made sure it will always be available as a farm and a home for birds and wildlife. Virginia quietly remarks, “I can now sell my land or give it to my family, knowing that it will always be free from the surrounding development pressure. That is a huge relief. For me, this is more than my homestead, this is a wildlife preserve… one of the last places of its kind and that’s why it needs to be protected. Partnering with Tug Hill Tomorrow made this dream come true.”
“I love everything about my land… and now, knowing it’s going to stay this way, means everything to me,” remarks Eric Wynn. For more than 70 years Eric and his family have cherished their land, and now it has been protected. Eric’s farm is also in a very significant location, providing space for wildlife to move from the mountains of the Adirondacks to the forests and valleys of Tug Hill. This is an important corridor for wildlife which will be critical for their long-term survival. By conserving his land, Eric and his family have limited the development allowed and have his property protected forever.
The Adirondack-Tug Hill Connectivity Project is a collaborative undertaking by the Tug Hill Tomorrow Land Trust, Adirondack Nature Conservancy, and the Wildlife Conservation Society, and others to identify what areas of the Black River Valley seem optimum for wildlife movement between the Tug Hill region and the Adirondacks using current knowledge of species needs, computer modeling, and on-the-ground data. The Black River Valley is a priority area because most of the land is privately owned. Instead of buying up large tracts, organizations associated with the Connectivity Project collaborate with the landowners to promote human communities as well as preserve wildlife habitat. The project is still underway, but has made great strides since 2009.
Solid Waste Management Facility
Over 554 acres of streams, greenways, and associated wetlands, at the Solid Waste Management Facility in Rodman, NY, just took one more step towards a healthy future with a new conservation partnership with the Development Authority of the North Country (DANC) and Tug Hill Tomorrow Land Trust. We will be regularly monitoring the property to ensure the plan for improving and protecting the streams and wetlands is followed. Jim Wright, the Executive Director for the Development Authority of the North Country remarked, “we are committed to ensuring that we run the facility to the highest conservation standards, and it’s important that we have a strong partner, like the land trust. Tug Hill Tomorrow is held in high regard regionally and is nationally accredited. We look forward to a long and productive stewardship partnership.”