The Western New York Land Conservancy has announced that it has officially purchased a 185-acre forest in Cattaraugus County.
The forest, named the Janet Gallogly Allegany Wildlands, is located near Allegany State Park. It is home to a rich diversity of plants and animals.
Although it is not yet open to visitors, the Land Conservancy plans to soon build a walking trail system for the public which will keep the forest open as a publicly accessible nature preserve.
The property was purchased from the Sluga family, who voted unanimously to decide to sell the property to the Land Conservancy. Family member Steve Sluga said, “By selling to the Land Conservancy we knew we’d get to share this special place with others, but also that we’d have some control over what happened to it. That was important to us. We didn’t want to see the forest exploited. This public nature preserve is the best-case scenario for us, and we couldn’t be happier.”
Land Conservancy Executive Director Nancy Smith said the purchase of the forest next to protected state land is part of the long-term goal of establishing the Western New York Wildway. The WNY Wildway will link the forests of northern Pennsylvania to Lake Erie and Lake Ontario, and ultimately across the state to the Finger Lakes, the Adirondacks, and beyond.
It will be part of the Eastern Wildway, which stretches from the Gulf of Mexico all the way to Canada. The Wildway will allow wildlife to roam across the landscape as they once did, it will allow plants and animals that have disappeared from the region to return home, and it will allow them to move around to find suitable habitat as climate changes.