Thousand Island Land Trust looking to create an ‘animal highway’ through local conservation efforts

ABC50 NOW

[Photo Captions: Aerial photo of recent TILT acquisition, adjacent to the South Hammond State Forest.]

CLAYTON, N.Y. (WWTI) — The Thousand Islands Land Trust is working to expand conservation efforts in the Crooked Creek watershed, specifically between Alexandria Bay and Chippewa Bay.

Most recently, TILT has focused on conserving lands along the “Frontenac Arch wildway;” or the Algonquin to Adirondack corridor. According to TILT, its goal is to created a fully-connected and protected corridor for regional wildlife, allowing for safer migrations and habitats between the Crooked Creek Preserve and the foothills of the Adirondacks.

“The Crooked Creek and Indian River Lakes regions are tied together here,” said TILT Executive Director Jake Tibbles. “We’re working to protect this area between the Thousand Islands and Indian River Lakes to make sure that these natural areas remain permanently wild, preventing population isolation. We’re letting nature take its course, and we are grateful for the Conservation Partnership Program’s support of this initiative.”

The Land Trust recently acquired over 500 acres of land adjacent to the South Hammond State Forest in Northern New York. TILT shared that this land will help “establish a foundation for a bridge of protected lands” between the two regions.

The Thousand Islands Land Trust also identified these conservation lands as climate change resilient, but were listed on the open market. The Land Trust worked with the Conservation Partnership Program and Great Lakes Restoration Initiative to prevent further development.

Additionally in December of 2020, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation awarded TILT funding for land conservation projects specifically within the Frontenac Arch wildway. The grant provided the Land Trust with approximately $37,000 to assist with expenses associated with land acquisitions.

According to TILT these expenses included boundary marking, baseline documentation, appraisals, land surveys and geological assessments.

The Frontenac Arch wildway consist of forests, wetlands, grasslands and open-water habitats. The conservation lands are located across Northern New York.

“We were able to be nimble and embrace this once-in-a-lifetime land protection opportunity in the heart of the Algonquin to Adirondack corridor,” said TILT Assistant Director Spencer Busler. “If you are a wildlife enthusiast these natural areas will not disappoint, from herons to harriers to turtles to turkeys.”

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