Zenda Farms Preserve

The Thousand Islands Land Trust invites you to watch Zenda come alive with their new video below.  Join them for the journey and witness the magic of Zenda!

Zenda was a dairy and beef farm that operated through the 1950s. Now, its agricultural history is preserved for future generations to discover and its pastures and hay meadows are conserved for nesting grassland birds.

Northern New York hosts some of the highest quality habitat for grassland birds in the northeastern United States. Many of these species are in serious decline in eastern North America, so keeping the meadows open is an integral part of Zenda’s management plan. 

The house and boathouse were built by Martha Reed Mitchell. She sold the property to James Hackett, a native of Wolfe Island who was an actor in the early 20th Century. He named the property after his favorite role, the title character in the 1913 film The Prisoner of Zenda. 

In 1939, Merle Youngs purchased the property. Mr. Youngs, an entrepreneur who owned the Youngs Rubber Company, slowly acquired neighboring farms and created a large state-of-the-art dairy and beef farm. He implemented new management techniques and new equipment: this was the site of the first automatic bottling plant in the region.

Zenda is now the home of the annual Community Picnic at the beginning of the summer season, as well as numerous TILTreks, KidsTreks and often, TILTKids Camp. A local farmer grazes cows on the pastures and cuts the hay from the meadows. The mowing takes place after August 1st to allow nesting grassland birds to fledge their young.

TILT’s management plan for the future of Zenda Farms is to establish the Preserve as a model for land conservation through community involvement and learning within its ecologically diverse and culturally historic farm setting.

Volunteers can help TILT’s conservation work on one of the two annual Preserve Stewardship Days, or become trained as a Preserve Stewardship Volunteer and help TILT monitor the health of the preserve!