Champlain Area Trails (CATS) recently conserved 128-acres on Murtaugh Hill in Beekmantown through a conservation easement donated by Dick and Leanna DeNeale. The wooded property is set in a large forested area where limiting development is expected to help maintain habitat connectivity for wildlife, protect clean water, and allow for a hiking trail.
The DeNeale Property was used as a research site for a SUNY Plattsburgh Wildlife Ecology and Management Class and is expected to be used for additional studies because of its proximity to the campus, varieties of habitat, and ecological features. The most recent study found that it had higher species richness and population densities than a forested site at lower elevation several miles away because of its intact habitat and lower level of human impact.
Champlain Area Trails is a non-profit trails and conservation organization. While it is mostly active in Essex County, it has completed two conservation projects in Clinton County. CATS protected both properties with a conservation easement.
This is the second property the DeNeales have conserved. In 2012, they donated a conservation easement to CATS on their 319-acre “home” property in Willsboro that protects farmland, a unique “clay plain” forest community, and an archeological site. CATS created the popular Ancient Oaks Trail there so hikers can see those features. The trail is part of a trail network CATS is developing to link the communities of Willsboro and Essex.
For more information on Champlain Area Trails, visit their website.
Photo: DeNeale Property wetlands & woods, courtesy Champlain Area Trails.