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Protected Lands
Oblong has preserved more than 1,100 acres to date through a combination of easements (868 acres) and preserves (270 acres) in the Pawling/Dover area. Click here for a map of all the protected lands in the area.

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We currently own 8 preserves:

Oblong has also worked on the following projects:

  • Top Gallant Farm Easement
    • Achieved the conservation of a Quaker Hill 137 acre farm with rolling hills, fields and forest, and trails.
  • Development of Pawling Village Pathway Project
    • OLC has assisted the Village of Pawling in planning and obtaining grant funding for this project, consisting of an off street path through preserved land which remains in the planning stage, and connecting sidewalks which are completed.
  • Scenic Road Preservation
    • Acquisition of a critical corridor along Route 55 and the historic Beekman-Pawling Turnpike
  • North Quaker Hill Farm Easement
    • Preservation of 136 acres of an historic Quaker (Taber) Farm
  • Great Swamp Wetland Park in the Village of Pawling

Scudiere Preserve

Location
Village of Pawling, Dutcher Avenue and South Street
(opposite Pawling Firehouse)

Parking/Access
Park off Dutcher Avenue on shoulder near South Street.  Never park or leave standing vehicle near Firehouse (emergency vehicular access must not be blocked).

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A "marsh" is defined as a wetland that is inundated for a sufficient period of time during the course of a year, as to prevent the survival of trees and shrubs. Woody plants literally drown. Only a small percentage of the Great Swamp consists of marshland. Typical dominant vegetation in a marsh in this region, consists of cattails, certain sedges, purple loosestrife, mosses, and the fearful "phrag" (Phragmites australis). Depth of water determines the species that are able to survive in this environment. In the edges of the Scudiere Preserve, where submergence is less extreme, a large variety of species will be found; many are undoubtedly remaining survivors from the old days, less than a generation ago, when this land was a "wet meadow", and hay was harvested. This was part of Henry B. Dutcher's Farm.

Over the course of the years, numerous landowners upstream of this watershed have mindlessly filled in small tributary wetlands, and stream banks and riparian areas, leaving heavy rainfall no place for run off except the lowest lying area (Scudiere). A number of homes and backyards in low lying areas in the Village, fed by this same stream, suffer periodic flooding.

Meanwhile, at Scudiere, marsh birds have taken up housekeeping. "Thin as a rail", is the peculiar Virginia rail. A nocturnal species, the Lord flattened this creature (a bit smaller than a crow), so it could fit between the reeds and scurry through the muskrat tunnels. Several other rail species have been recorded at Scudiere, but the Virginia is the common one and definitely nests here. Seeing a rail is a challenge. They are more often heard, and their calls are unbirdlike.

Other rare marsh birds are the Least and American bittern. Related to the herons, both bitterns are elusive, and more often heard than seen. Experienced birders learn the calls and songs, because in many cases, vocals can be reliably identified. All members of the heron family have been recorded at Scudiere, more often as flyovers. Bring your binoculars! Also, keep your eyes peeled overhead for vultures and various raptors in flight.

At the edges of the Preserve, the resident song sparrow will scold you for invading his territory, and at any time of the year, that mite of fluff, a marsh wren, may join momentarily join the sparrow in the scolding, or if you are fortunate, treat you to his charming little song! Marsh wrens can be found at only a few locations in The Great Swamp. Willow flycatchers nest in summer near the railroad tracks (stay off the tracks!) and Yellow warblers weave their exquisite nests of spider webs in the bushes, while the Warbling vireos and orioles sing overhead. Swamp sparrows sing from tops of the phrag and of course, the MANY Red-winged blackbirds will drown out almost everything else, in their season.

In the spring of 2009, two Olive-sided flycatchers, denizens of the North Country, stopped by on their long migration, to rest and catch a few mayflies.

Rare Rusty blackbirds show up in migration, in small flocks. But, almost every visit will treat you to a small band of Bluebirds, who will land in the tops of the willows for your delight, and regale you with their cheery, "Cheery, cheery, cheerful timer".


Zaengle Preserve

Follow this link to a video of the Zaengle Preserve by Don Jiskra, steward.


Slocum Mostachetti Preserve

Location
Town of Dover (Wingdale)
134 Pleasant Ridge Road (north side)
OLC signage at entrance


Parking/Access
Watch the OLC events calendar for scheduled guided walks, or sign up on our website to be notified by email. Scientific and environmental studies welcome. Call 845-855-5993 in advance to schedule a site visit.  No public hunting.
 

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The Great Swamp


The Great Swamp, stretching nearly 20 miles across five municipalities from Southeast to Dover is one of New York’s largest wetlands and lies at the heart of a 62,500 watershed in the Harlem Valley and extends over parts of Dutchess and Putnam Counties in New York and Fairfield County in Connecticut. This ecological treasure was the subject of an extensive collaborative conservation strategy that culminated in 1999 with the publication of a report by The Nature Conservancy. The conservation of the Great Swamp is a key objective of the Oblong Land Conservancy and we were one of the many participants in this collaborative effort. The report, "The Great Swamp - A Watershed Conservation Strategy," is available here.

Its southern flow basin which starts in the center of the Village of Pawling, feeds drinking water to residents in Pawling and Patterson, Westchester County and New York City. The northern flow (Swamp River) joins the Ten Mile River in Dover, which converges with the Housatonic River in Connecticut. Over one million people in the southern drainage alone depend on this vital resource. In the northern drainage, local residents are equally dependent on the protection of the Swamp and its associated aquifer: groundwater wells are the only water resource, and this water is sourced only from local rainwater.

The Swamp is also a critical habitat refuge for wildlife, waterfowl, and a major flyway for neo-tropical birds and is officially recognized as an "Important Bird Area" in NYS.

Almost from its conception in 1990, Oblong Land Conservancy has recognized the significance of this resource and its vulnerability. We worked with the U.S. Park service to protect a unique rare plant community in the wetland, south of the Appalachian Trail Corridor, which includes some frontage on Route 22. It will remain forever green. Pawling Corporation provided the funding for an analysis and a map of the various cover types of vegetation in the North Flow. With help from a grant from The Iroquois Pipeline, we purchased our "Scudiere" Preserve," our first preserve, a unique marsh in the Village of Pawling and restored its edges; accepted a gift of land from the Carruth Family, (prime turtle nesting habitat on the Swamp River); a donation of the most photographed 10 acres on River road in Pawling from Donald and Anna Zaengle; and donations of conservation easements on 176 acres, consisting of Ray Lake, wetlands and uplands from Gordon Douglas, and an adjacent 157 acres of wetlands and uplands (Cushman Farms) from Peckham Industries, in the southern drainage. Our most recent acquisition, the 106 acre Slocum-Mostachetti Preserve is a rare "marble hill" surrounded by The Great Swamp, located in Wingdale, acquired in partnership with FrOGS.

Oblong currently has ongoing contacts with numerous landowners in Dutchess County, in accord with a conservation plan for The Great Swamp, adopted in collaboration with our partners: FrOGS, the Putnam County Land Trust, and The Nature Conservancy.