Back road in the Butternut Valley. Photo: Carla Hall
Over the following months, that early group— George Snell, Henry Cooper and Ken Barwick —met and organized. In November 1988, Otsego Land Trust was officially incorporated as a charitable corporation protecting land in the Otsego Region.
Within 14 months, Dorothy Campbell, whose life spanned three centuries, became the first local landowner to partner with the Otsego Land Trust. Dorothy's gift of a conservation easement on her land ensured the preservation of the Leatherstocking Falls and nearly one hundred acres of property overlooking Otsego Lake.
Through the leadership of Lin Vincent, George Snell, and Earle Peterson—who served as succeeding presidents, Otsego Land Trust further evolved and better defined its mission. In 2002, Otsego Land Trust hired its first full-time staff and moved to its office to its current location on Pioneer Alley. In 2008 on our twentieth anniversary, Otsego Land Trust released our Conservation Blueprint, a strategic plan outlining threats to the Otsego Region and the primary landscapes in which we are focusing our land protection efforts.
Today, our conservation work is yielding tangible results. With the help of some fifty area families, more than 6,000 acres in the Otsego Region are currently protected, including prime examples from all three of our strategic landscape themes. In addition, we are moving forward with plans to improve public access to the Susquehanna River for boaters and anglers through our first outright land purchase—the three-acre Compton Bridge site at the confluence of Oaks Creek and the Susquehanna.
But the real history of the Land Trust and the Otsego Region is still a work in progress. When it is written, it will undoubtedly point to the commitment of a diverse mix of people—families who have lived here for generations and new arrivals, people of modest means and those with more substantial means, farmers, anglers and second-home owners—all unified by their abiding passion and enduring commitment to the land.