In the winter of 1987-1988, a small group of people who shared a deep passion for conserving the healthy lands and pristine waters of the Otsego Region decided to act upon their commitment to land protection. They formed a land trust to protect lands and waters threatened by unbridled and poorly planned residential and commercial development.
In November 1988, that early group, Kent Barwick, George Snell, and Earle Peterson, officially incorporated Otsego Land Trust as a charitable corporation conserving land and water in the Otsego Region.
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 conservation 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 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 20th anniversary, Otsego Land Trust released our Conservation Blueprint, a strategic plan outlining threats to the Otsego region and the primary landscapes in Otsego, Delaware, Schoharie, and Herkimenr Counties where we are focusing our land protection efforts.
In 2013, Otsego Land Trust celebrated its 25th Anniversary. Our Executive Director of seven years, Peter Hujik, departed to take a position doing land conservation in Virginia, and in March of 2013, our new Executive Director, Virginia Kennedy joined the OLT team.
Our staff now has four full time staff members and one part time staff member, and we have a volunteer board of sixteen members led by Board Chairman, Harry Levine.
OLT has just reached the prestigious "10,000 acres protected" benchmark. We have now protected land land in 4 counties; Otsego, Schoharie, Delaware and Herkimer, and have partnered with over 75 conservation minded landowners to achieve this feat. We look forward to next 10,000 acres!
Among these protected properties are our Blueway properties, a series of lands along water that contribute to the protection of streams, lakes, and river feeding the vast Chesapeake Bay Watershed. Beginning with Deowongo Island in Canadarago Lake, down Oaks Creek to Brookwood on Otsego Lake, and to Compton Bridge on the Susquehanna, Blueway lands are open to the public for clean and green recreational and educational activities that connect people to the land and water and to the importance of conservation.
Our history continues to evolve. With the commitment of a diverse mix of people—people who have lived here for generations and new arrivals, people of modest means and those with more substantial resources, farmers, anglers, hikers, paddlers, and second-home owners—the lands and waters that keep this region healthy and the natural and cultural legacy that make it unique will always be cared for, cared about, and protected.