A Community Treasure Conserved
Deowongo Island 2012 Fall Newsletter
Anchored proudly in Canadarago Lake, Deowongo Island is an iconic place shared by all who visit. Many had wondered what would happen to the beautiful Island—and now, thanks to a great team effort, they don’t have to wonder any more. Deowongo Island will be a place shared by all who care about its future.
The Schoenleins, a local family who owned the Island for years, knew how special the Island was to the people around Canadarago Lake and in the region. Rather than sell the Island to the highest bidder, they offered to sell it to the Otsego Land Trust at a charitable rate.
“We knew it was the right thing to do and the Island would be in good hands,” Lois Schoenlein reflected. “We wanted to be sure that other families could enjoy the wonder and beauty of the Lake and this Island for years to come.”
Did you know? The name of the Island, “Deowongo” comes from the Oneida Iroquois nation’s language meaning, “place of hearing.”
Native Americans, traders, fishermen, botanists and tourists frequented the Island and Canadarago Lake that were along a popular travel route from the Mohawk Valley to the Susquehanna River.
Quite possibly the most significant characteristic of Deowongo Island is not necessarily the rich cultural history or even the uniqueness of a lone island on a large body of water but the memories and stories that people share with the island.
“I’ve spent countless hours looking out over the lake”, noted Don Urtz of Richfield Springs, “it is no doubt a special place to others too.”
When the Schoenlins expressed their interest in making the Island Otsego Land Trust’s newest public conservation area, community members jumped on the chance. Now, thanks to a number of very generous people in our community who contributed the funds to purchase and clean up the Island, it will be conserved and open to the public.
Next spring, weather and funding permitting, we will be working on cleaning up Deowongo Island and creating a management plan that will balance the recreational uses with the protection of its unique ecological and cultural attributes.
We look forward to working with you and local groups to help us plan for Deowongo’s future protection and management. It’s not every day a local Island is conserved.
Read more article from the 2012 Fall Newsletter