WHAT WE DO
The Somers Land Trust (SLT) is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization dedicated to preserving open space in the town of Somers, NY. We use a variety of approaches to protect the natural and historic landscape of the town we love:
Owning land: SLT owns Rhinoceros Creek Reservation.
Managing land: SLT is the Somers Town board-designated steward for Angle Fly Preserve.
Conservation easements: Together with the Westchester Land Trust, SLT is party to a number of conservation easements on properties in Somers. SLT also worked with municipal and non-profit partners to preserve Stuart's Farm as agricultural land forever.
Education and advocacy.
And of course, we do a lot of good old roll-up-your-sleeves work – whether out in the fresh air or behind a computer keyboard.
Angle Fly Preserve: An Early Victory
One of the earliest achievements of the Somers Land Trust was the creation of Angle Fly Preserve. In 2000, SLT helped bring the Open Space Funding Referendum to voters. Its passage enabled the Town of Somers to join the City of New York, Westchester County and the State of New York to purchase and protect the 654 acre property that otherwise would have been interlaced with roads and buildings. Once Angle Fly Preserve was established in 2006, the Somers Town Board named SLT as the stewards of the preserve, with the responsibility to develop and maintain it as a space for the community to enjoy passive recreation.
Rhinoceros Creek: Our First Acquisition
In 2017, Somers resident and dedicated Somers Land Trust supporter, Christine Beshar presented us with 115 acres of land now known as Rhinoceros Creek Reservation. When Christine sold her beloved Stone House, a Somers landmark, the Beshar family donated much of the surrounding land to SLT. Our mission was a natural fit with their wish to protect the land in perpituity for the enjoyment of the public. The Stone House was built by Gerard Crane, one of Somers' 19th century menagerie owners. SLT named the property the Crane-Beshar Rhinoceros Creek Reservation to memorialize two families who have shaped the land and to celebrate its connection to Somers' unique circus history.
A Deep Bench of Support
The Somers Land Trust collaborates with local and national organizations such as the Westchester Land Trust, the Land Trust Alliance, Mianus River Gorge, and Teatown Lake Reservation. These partnerships bring a wide range of expertise to the Town of Somers. With the help of affiliated organizations, SLT developed a comprehensive management plan for Angle Fly Preserve, and won grants for biodiversity assessments, trail construction, invasive species removal, pavilion and signage construction, public programs, and other projects.
Photos top to bottom: Monarch butterfly on butterfly weed, © Lauretta Jones, Volunteers working on native plant garden © Gail Simpson, Children exploring nature in AngleFly Brook © Gail Simpson, Bird survey at Rhinoceros Creek, © Donald Gambino, Rosey Van Wart presenting scout projects ©Gail Simpson.