On September 15, a significant milestone was reached as the Columbia Land Conservancy (CLC) successfully completed a New York State Farmland Protection Implementation Grant project to protect High Low Farm with a permanent conservation easement, preventing future development on the land.
High-Low Farm, a cherished dairy farm passed down through three generations and located on the scenic western slopes of the Taconic Mountains in Copake, New York, is now protected as part of a significant area of conserved land.
The preservation of High-Low Farm is a key addition to an impressive network of protected areas. This network includes more than 1100 acres of privately-owned lands, the inviting Harlem Valley Rail Trail, and Taconic State Park in New York. It also neighbors the scenic Bash Bish Falls State Park and the serene Mt. Washington State Forest in Massachusetts. The impact of this conservation effort ripples far beyond the farm’s borders.
President of CLC Troy Weldy stated, “I know this land very well, as I surveyed lands in this area for rare species many years ago. Without this project, the family may have needed to sell the property. This project has literally saved a family farm, and I’m very proud of the team for this work.”
The land purchase was funded by a state Dairy Transitions Grant that helped secure the rights to the 307-acre property. Landowner Gwynne Pierson played a vital role by contributing a generous portion of the land’s total value to support the conservation efforts.
Gwynne worked closely with CLC staff for several years leading up to the initial application to the Department of Agriculture and Markets and throughout the grant process.
“I was so thrilled and grateful to work with CLC. My in-laws came to Copake in 1951 bringing their only child with them and they struggled to create a place that I consider magnificent. Having these funds will allow us to move forward with plans we’ve created to bring the farm back to a functional business while allowing future generations a chance to enjoy what was created here. To me, a farm is a precious thing where I always wanted to live, so to have everyone focused on its restoration, makes me proud,” says Gwynne.