State awards $15,000 to Lake Placid Land Conservancy for strategic plan

Originally published in the Lake Placid News, Week of May 1-7, 2015

By Andy Flynn, Editor

LAKE PLACID – A recently announced $15,000 state grant will help the Lake Placid Land Conservancy develop a strategic plan to protect more land in the region.

On April 20, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced a round of $1.8 million in Conservation Partnership Program grants for 55 nonprofit land trusts across the state. The announcement was held in Westchester County with officials from the state Department of Environmental Conservation and the Land Trust Alliance. The Land Trust Alliance administers the Conservation Partnership Program in coordination with the DEC.

“New York’s natural resources play a vital role in our economy, and today we are taking another step forward in protecting and preserving them for generations to come,” Cuomo said in a press release. “With these grants, New York’s Environmental Protection Fund is securing critical funding for environmental and open space programs that will continue to protect our environment, generate jobs and revenue in local communities and ensure a cleaner and healthier New York.”

The grants, funded through the EPF, will leverage private and local funding to support projects to protect farmland, wildlife habitat, water quality, enhance public access for outdoor recreational opportunities, and conserve priority open space areas important for community health, tourism and regional economic development.

In Lake Placid, that means helping the Lake Placid Land Conservancy define its role in the Olympic Region. The group was formed in December 2013, a result of the merger between the Placid Lake Foundation and the North Elba Land Conservancy. In June 2014, the LPLC Board of Trustees hired Jeff Graff as its executive director. Now it needs a strategic plan.

“We’re looking to expand our conservation area of operation significantly over the upcoming year,” Graff said. “We want to talk about some of the conservation opportunities out there and the mission for the Lake Placid Land Conservancy, which is dedicated to protecting the land and water resources in Lake Placid and surrounding communities.”

The strategic plan will be written based on community input.

“In that strategic planning process, we hope to hold public sessions out at Heaven Hill over the summer to get input from municipal officials and other environmental organizations, the public and state agencies about what they think about the type of work we might be engaging in and to see what they want from a community land trust,” Graff said.

The LPLC helps landowners – individuals, families and institutions – with conserving their land, primarily conserving properties through conservation easements and acquiring land to pass on to the state of New York and be incorporated into the state Forest Preserve.

The LPLC currently holds a conservation easement at the Intervale Lowlands property owned by Larry and Nancy Master of Lake Placid, permanently protecting 133 acres of land along the West Branch of the AuSable River in Lake Placid in December 2011. The easement ensures that land along one mile of the river will never be developed.

The Lake Placid Land Conservancy office is located at 6176 Sentinel Road in Lake Placid, on Mill Hill across the street from the Lake Placid News office. For more information, call 518-837-5177 or visit online at

Since the program’s inception in 2002, the Conservation Partnership Program has awarded more than 647 grants totaling $11.3 million in EPF funds to 86 different land trust organizations across the state. The state’s investment has leveraged $13 million in additional funding from local communities and private donors.

The 2015-16 state budget increased the Environmental Protection Fund by $15 million to $177 million. An additional $20 million in Wall Street settlement funds is allocated for permanent farmland protection in the Hudson Valley to help secure New York City’s foodshed.

In all, the North Country region was awarded $275,900 in Conservation Partnership Program grants for seven programs, including a $70,000 professional development grant for Champlain Area Trails based in Westport.

By ANDY FLYNN – Editor, Lake Placid News