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    Ulster County, New York

    21 Acres | July 1, 2010
    Miriam Reik
    Conservation Easement

    The Reik Wildlife Sanctuary, 21 acres in Ulster County, New York, was established in July 2010 with the bequest of a conservation easement from the estate of Miriam Reik.  Stone Ridge is a hamlet in Ulster County, New York, located along the eastern edge of the Catskills in the Mid Hudson River Valley.  Reik lived and worked in Manhattan and spent weekends unwinding at her wooded property. There she could be alone with nature, her dogs, and her books. This rural area is experiencing development pressure pushing out from New York City.

    Ms. Reik had contacted the Humane Society Wildlife Land Trust when she was doing her estate planning.  By doing so, she allowed the pre-acquisition process to be completed, assuring that the conservation easement would take place when the time came.

    It was important to her to have protection for the wildlife,” her attorney, Frances Carlisle, explains, “and to know that the Trust was backed by a national organization that would be able to honor that protection in perpetuity.

    Miriam Reik, an avid animal protection advocate, purchased the property in 2001.  She knew then that she wanted a conservation easement that would keep the forested acreage forever wild, protect the riparian zone, and prohibit commercial and recreational hunting and trapping.  She wanted to create a true safe haven for the animals who live there. “Miriam was a great advocate for animals,” says Carlisle. “She loved watching the birds from her window, seeing white-tailed deer, bobcats, coyotes, and red fox on her walks, and simply enjoying the peace and beauty of the spot.”

    The 21-acre property is heavily forested with hickory, oak, balsalm fir and birch trees.  A tributary of Esopus Creek and associated wetlands run along one boundary.

    A variety of wildlife dwell on the property, including white-tailed deer, red fox, coyote, rabbits, squirrels, black bear, bobcats, salamanders, and variety of birds including waterfowl.  It also serves as a way station for many migratory species.

    Although this sanctuary remains privately owned, the Humane Society Wildlife Land Trust has an obligation to perform periodic inspections to ensure that the wildlife habitat remains in good condition and that the terms of the conservation easements are being met.  These inspections, and the handling of any destruction or violations, cost heavily in professional staff time, consultants, and travel expenses. In addition HSWLT needs a reserve of funds for the substantial legal fees needed if enforcement of violations involves court action.

    HSWLT has promised to protect this property as sanctuary forever -- and that promise will be kept.  If you can help with the cost of stewardship for this and the other properties HSWLT protects, please donate here.

    Heron Close-up

    The statuesque heron is a handsome and distinctive bird, with a six-foot wing-span and signature blue-gray feathers.


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