About Us

In 1990 The Oblong Land Conservancy was formed by a group of Pawling area residents concerned about the negative effects of encroaching development. The future was clear: open space was rapidly disappearing along with 300 years of rural heritage and natural spaces. Once destroyed they will be gone forever.

Our Vision 

A sustainable world where the ecology is in balance. 

Our Mission 

Through engagement with the community, maintain the natural resources of the Harlem Valley, to include wildlife habitats, water quality, agricultural lands and scenic vistas. 

The Oblong Land Conservancy's focus of interest is Pawling, Dover and its environs located in the southeast corner of Dutchess County, New York, at the borders of Putnam County and the state of Connecticut. It is an area rich in beautiful landscapes, clean water, large rural open spaces, extensive forests, working farms, and abundant plant and animal habitats. Our name "Oblong" is derived from the historic Oblong, a narrow 2 x 60 mile tract of formerly disputed territory on the New York/Connecticut border. Thus far OLC has helped to promote village and rural trail networks and has successfully acquired 14 conservation easements for open spaces ranging in size from 4 acres to 200 acres. We have helped protect more than 1,100 acres through a combination of easements (868 acres) and preserves (270 acres). Learn More. 

Quakers were among the first to settle the area in the 1700's. In 1767 the first effective action against slavery in The New World was taken by the Quakers in the Oblong Meeting House on Quaker Hill. In the winter of 1778 Pawling played a role in the Revolutionary War when General George Washington and his Continental Army encamped at The John Kane House and surrounding area. Pawling and Dover are nestled amid the Hudson Highlands, recognized as a "landscape of national significance" by the US Forest Service. 

The Taconic Ridge on the eastern border with Connecticut is recognized in New York State's Open Space Plan, as well as The Great Swamp, one of New York's largest wetlands, which bisects the valley floor. The western highlands, known as Pawling Mountain, Depot Hill and West Mountain are listed in the State's Open Space Plan. The Great Swamp is listed as a top priority for protection. Both The Swamp and Little Whaley are also officially recognized as "Important Bird Areas" by the State. 

Our region is known for its recreational opportunities. With access to the Great Swamp, lakes and trail networks, notably the world class Appalachian Trail, which winds across Pawling, and other trails located in the Pawling Nature Preserve, and connections to The Oblong Trail Association equestrian and pedestrian trails. For more see Hiking & Recreation The O.L.C. is a member of the Land Trust Alliance, and we have adopted their recommended Standards and Practices for Land Trusts. 

In addition, OLC actively networks and partners with other conservation organizations such as:
Putnam County Land Trust
Friends of the Great Swamp (FrOGS)
Oblong Trail Association
Dutchess Land Conservancy
Naromi Land Trust (CT)
The Nature Conservancy
Appalachian Trail Conservancy
The Open Space Institute
The Highlands Coalition
Land Trust Alliance
Trust for Public Land
Housatonic Valley Association (CT)

We have established working relationships with the Town of Pawling, the Village of Pawling, and the Town of Dover. Our Board of Directors is made up of concerned area residents, your friends and neighbors