Wallkill Valley Land Trust protects box turtles in Gardiner

Turtle walk in May 2018 on the Smith property.

The Wallkill Valley Land Trust (WVLT) has secured a conservation easement to permanently preserve and protect 57 acres in Gardiner as open space. The property, owned by Ray and Anne Allbright Smith, is a critical habitat that supports 106 documented individual Eastern Box Turtles and is recognized as an important wildlife area. 

In addition, the property is a key component of the scenic and historic viewshed from the Mohonk Preserve and Minnewaska State Park Preserve, which are part of the Shawangunk Mountain Region. Panoramic views of the Ridge from south of Millbrook Mountain to Bonticou Crag can be observed from these preserved lands.

“At WVLT, we feel privileged to have the opportunity to protect this very special landscape and assist its stewardship in perpetuity, not only for the box turtles, but also for future generations,” said WVLT Executive Director Christie DeBoer.


“There are five existing conservation easements held by WVLT within a mile of the Smith property,” shared board President Beth Bengtson, “providing now nearly 300 acres of protected natural habitat, vital farmland, vibrant watersheds, stunning viewsheds and recreational open space: including the Gardiner section of the Wallkill Valley Rail Trail.”

The WVLT will continue the annual Box Turtle Walk and Talk on the property Saturday, May 4. Space is limited, and interested participants can register at www.WallkillValleyLT.org. The website also has more information about conversation easements and open space stewardship, as well as ways to help and donate. The WVLT can be reached by mail at P.O. Box 208, New Paltz, NY 12561.