Long Island Sound Acquisition Announced (NYC)

Riverhead, NY, 10/24/02:Governor George E. Pataki today announced an agreement for the protection of more than 533 acres of open space in the towns of Riverhead and Southold in Suffolk County for State parkland and agriculture use. Currently owned by KeySpan, the waterfront parcel will protect a mile of Long Island Sound shoreline and allow for continued farming on more than 300 acres.

“With this agreement, we are preserving precious natural resources and providing greater access to Long Island Sound and its views for countless outdoor recreational opportunities,” said Governor Pataki.

“Securing this valuable open space will ensure its continued protection as part of the State’s unique agricultural heritage while creating new State parkland for the enjoyment of future generations.” This acquisition marks the third of ten new access points to the Long Island Sound promised by Governor Pataki.

The land has been identified in the State’s Open Space Conservation Plan as a priority project for the Long Island Sound coastal area. The $16 million purchase will be made by the nonprofit Trust for Public Land, which will subsequently sell 200 acres of the property, including the beachfront bluffs and ponds along the Long Island Sound to the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation through the Environmental Protection Fund for a new state park. The Trust will work with the Peconic Land Trust to sell the remaining 300 acres to farmers subject to a conservation easement prohibiting development on the land.

Photo by: Clark Jones
Erik Kulleseid, New York State Director for the Trust for Public Land said, “Through this agreement with Governor Pataki and the State of New York, the Trust for Public Land is pleased to assist in the purchase of this property from the KeySpan corporation to preserve more than a mile of soundfront and to create a new 200?acre state park. Working with local farmers and the Peconic Land Trust, this agreement will also help preserve the north fork’s agricultural heritage.”

Robert B. Catell, Chairman and CEO of KeySpan said, “We commend the Governor for recognizing and pursuing an agreement to preserve this pristine property. We are proud of the partnership we have created between the leadership of this State, local and national environmental organizations, the community and our shareholders. We have helped create a legacy for future generations as the Long Island community continues to grow, a credit to all involved.”

Bernadette Castro, State Parks Commissioner, said, “This region provides New Yorkers with some of the most scenic and varied recreational opportunities in the world, and having the KeySpan property under our stewardship will ensure its lasting protection and public access for years ahead. I am grateful for Governor Pataki’s continuing commitment to conserving the natural assets along the North Shore and the Long Island Sound and this latest acquisition represents another step forward in strengthening our state park system to be enjoyed by all.”

Parks will own more than 200 acres of environmentally?significant Sound waterfront for the establishment of a state park while retaining development rights to the agricultural property. The Trust for Public Land, working with the Peconic Land Trust, will own and administer the agricultural lands and make them available for purchase to local farmers. Proceeds from the sale of the lands will support development of the park for recreation and environmental interpretation. This project was made possible through the support of a broad coalition of groups, including the Regional Plan Association, Adubon Society, Long Island Pine Barrens Society and the Long Island Farm Bureau.

Since 1995, through resources such as the Environmental Protection Fund and the 1996 Clean Water Clean Air Bond Act, the Governor has invested more than $378 million to acquire and protect more than 394,000 acres of valuable land throughout the state. During that time, the Governor has opened 17 new state parks, five of them on Long Island.

The Trust for Public Land (TPL) is a national nonprofit organization that conserves land for people to improve the quality of life in our communities and to protect our natural and historic resources for future generations. To date, TPL has protected more than 1.4 million acres of land nationwide, including more than 60,000 acres in New York.