Protecting the Bozen Kill
Flowing from the Helderberg escarpment through the Bozen Kill ravine, the Bozen Kill is a little known gem of stream. Originating from wetlands in Schenectady County and Duane Lake near Delanson the stream gradually builds as it heads off the mountain, passing through the Nature Conservancy's lovely Christman Preserve then travelling through the largely inaccessible Bozenkill ravine before passing Altamont and eventually entering the Watervliet Reservoir, the primary drinking water source for Watervliet and much of Guilderland.
MHLC has long considered the Bozen Kill a protection priority and we are very excited to announce that we have three new acquisition projects along the stream. In a number of firsts for MHLC; we are in the process of our first purchase of land, our first partnership project with the Open Space Institute (OSI) and our first partnership with the Nature Conservancy (TNC).
MHLC needs your help!
If successful in acquiring both the Becker and Dykeman lands (information on these incredible opportunities below), MHLC will have preserved almost 400 acres of the Bozen Kill Ravine. MHLC has already raised 85% of the $130,000 needed to acquire these lands. We have a $50,000 commitment from OSI and a $40,000 request for funds with TNC. MHLC received $10,000 from Paul and Melanie Axel-Lute for the purchase of the Dykeman Parcel in 2013 and we have thus far raised an additional $10,000 from private individuals. We only need $20,000 to acquire these lands plus additional funds for each endowment!
MHLC has some additional exciting news! We have just received commitments for two generous challenge gifts in support of these ongoing projects. The first gift is from Matthew Bender in the amount $25,000 and the second is from James Suozzo in the amount of $5,000. Both gifts require MHLC to raise new funds on a 1:2 basis. In other words, for every NEW dollar that we raise, half will be matched by these generous donors up to $30,000. MHLC makes the most of every dollar-- so your gift of $20 becomes $30, $50 becomes $75, $100 becomes $150, $500 becomes $750, and even more open spaces are preserved for our children and grandchildren.
We are racing to leverage additional donations to meet our option deadline for the Becker Family Lands in spring of this year. Yes time is short, but we are very optimistic. Can you help us reach $130,000 by the end of April? Please consider making a gift TODAY in support of the Bozen Kill. Remember-- new funds will be matched by our generous challenge grants. Please give today!
Becker Family Lands
The most significant of the three pending acquisitions is the Becker property at the corner of Westfall Road and Bozenkill Road just outside the Village of Altamont. Our conversations regarding the protection of this property began more than 15 years ago when Dr. Milford Becker, a well known local veterinarian, reached out to MHLC to discuss options for preserving his land. These discussions did not yield results and both Dr. and Mrs. Becker passed away in the intervening years. Fortunately, their children were equally passionate about their land and recently reconnected with MHLC. MHLC reached out to the Open Space Institute which has done so much to protect open spaces throughout the Helderbergs and beyond. OSI moved quickly to help MHLC acquire an option which gives us the exclusive right to acquire approximately 175 acres of the property at a bargain sale price of $100,000.
The Nature Conservancy has a long history on the Bozen Kill through their ownership of the Christman Sanctuary, a beautiful preserve upstream from the Becker property that was once the property of poet Will Christman. Henri Plant, a Glenville resident who passed away last year, was a devoted steward of the Sanctuary and wanted to see more of the area protected. To accomplish this he created the Nature Conservancy's Doris Sanders Plant Strategic Acquisition Fund in memory of his wife. We reached out to TNC to seek support through the fund and are hopeful that this will provide additional resources for the project. Henri's children are very enthusiastic about the project and anxious to see the funds help with the acquisition. MHLC is working hard to secure additional funding for the project.
While researching the Becker project, Nature Conservancy staff happened to notice that the adjacent property was listed for sale and alerted MHLC. This was rather amazing good fortune as the 27 acre parcel is located between the Becker lands and 31 land locked acres that Albany County donated to MHLC in 1999 and 2005. At the time of the County donations there was much debate about accepting inaccessible property, but the decision was made to accept with the hope that someday we might find a way to acquire access. That someday has finally come! MHLC acquired the property for $10,000 in December 2013 using funds donated to the project by Paul and Melanie Axel-Lute of Knox.
More good fortune along the Bozen Kill happened this fall with Albany County offering MHLC another foreclosed property along the stream. This 4.9 acre property very near our Wolf Creek Falls Preserve in Knox is currently landlocked, but neighboring land owners have graciously permitted us access to steward the property. While this would not allow public use it does protect more of this important watercourse and someday we hope to find a connection to the property. We thank Albany County for their support of MHLC and recognition of the value of protecting open spaces.