Since our founding in 1993, the Orange County Land Trust has helped protect nearly 6,000 acres of land through the negotiation of conservation agreements with private landowners, property donations, and the acquisition of private property. The acreage is comprised of unique meadows, fertile farmlands, stream corridors, wetlands, forests, and recreational acres. Many of the properties are open to the public, while others remain private properties with agreements that preclude future development. Of the properties and preserves open to the public, the land trust organizes frequent hiking and birding activities and has partnered with children and youth organizations in providing educational, conservation-based nature programs.
Our Mission and History
The mission of the Orange County Land Trust is to preserve water resources, critical habitat, rural and urban farmland, scenic viewsheds, and ecosystems in and around Orange County for the benefit of all who depend on them.
Orange County Land Trust was formed in 1993 by a group of conservation-minded visionaries led by Louis Van Orden Mills, OCLT’s founder, and first president, and Orange County’s first County Executive. From the beginning, the group had a clear set of goals: to protect and preserve scenic and environmentally sensitive areas of the county for future generations before they were lost to anticipated growth and development.
Today, as more people recognize the value in preserving open space, the Orange County Land Trust has become the voice of, and a catalyst for, voluntary conservation of land in the county. The Land Trust strives to protect the natural and agricultural heritage of the County, working with farmers and other landowners who wish to keep their land untouched by future development. The organization identifies critical areas in need of protection and partners with individuals, organizations, businesses, and government agencies to protect these areas. As Orange County has experienced rapid growth in the past decades, we have worked diligently so that the County remains a region of varied and beautiful landscapes that give it its distinctive sense of place. We believe preserving land and scenic byways enhances the quality of life for all residents, ensuring that the County remains an attractive place to live and work.
Orange County Land Trust is managed by a professional staff of six, a volunteer board of directors, and volunteer land stewards that monitor our thirteen nature preserves and 31 properties with conservation agreements. Our solar-powered office is located in Mountainville, in the town of New Windsor, NY.
Board of Directors
The Board of Directors of the Orange County Land Trust oversees the direction of the organization, provides guidance on major decisions, and establishes organizational policy. The board also leads fundraising efforts and ensures there is a sustainable fiscal plan.
Lewis Lain, President
David A. Getz, 1st Vice Pres.
Catherine Hunter, Treasurer
Caroline Hamling, Secretary
Michael J. Bruno
Jo Marvel Hull
Thomas J. McGimpsey
Susie Sohn, Esq.
Stuart Turner, FAICP
The Advisory Council is comprised of members of the community whose advice and guidance is often sought and always valued by the Board of Directors.
Dr. Suzanne Brown-Berkowitz
Richard Hoyt, Esq.
Richard Hull, PhD.
Fred Osborn, III
Kimberly Armistead, Benefit Reception
Catherine Bookey, Benefit Reception
Jack F. Berkowitz, Finance
Jenna Corti, Next Gen Engagement
Colin Coyne, Next Gen Engagement
Kelsey Gurda, Next Gen Engagement
Stephen Hunter, Next Gen Engagement
Thomas Hunter, Finance
Jason Ketcham, Next Gen Engagement
Kelly Naughton, Esq., Next Gen Engagement
Sarah Pawliczak, Next Gen Engagement
Mark Taylor, Esq., Finance
Ruth Turner, Benefit Reception
Marissa Weiss, Esq., Next Gen Engagement