A Forever Gift to the Residents of LaGrange

Robert and Valerie Suter cared deeply about their property and wanted to come up with a plan for its future protection and use. With its significant frontage along the Wappinger’s Creek, and its link to both Greenvale Park in Poughkeepsie, and land owned by the Town of LaGrange, it seemed a natural fit to protect the land with a DLC conservation easement and to donate the land in fee to the Town of LaGrange to be used for future passive recreation.

For more than 15 years, Robert and Valerie Suter owned and loved their 63-acre property along the Wappinger Creek for its natural beauty. They say, “This land has functioned as something like our own nature preserve since we bought it in 1999. We’ve watched otters and muskrats there, seen eagles, hawks, owls and herons and have followed the tracks of coyotes and bobcats. Even some endangered Indiana bats took up residence there for a while.” In thinking of the land’s future, the Suters recognized how valuable it would be as recreational space for trails and fishing. They also knew that their land contained valuable natural resources and irreplaceable habitat and wanted to be certain that these would be protected.

The property is located on Titusville Road near Red Oaks Mill, across the Wappinger Creek from the Town of Poughkeepsie’s Greenvale Park. Three-quarters of a mile of the Wappingers Creek serves as its western boundary. It overlies an aquifer recharge area and is located within the Town’s Groundwater Protection Overlay Zone, established to preserve the quality and quantity of the Town’s major groundwater resources to ensure an adequate and safe supply of potable water. The property’s floodplain forest also plays a very important role in retaining water during rainstorms and helping reduce flood events downstream, and protecting the Creek from erosion and pollution from surface and subsurface runoff.

The Town of LaGrange simultaneously extended protection to a portion of Town-owned lands adjacent to the Suters’ property, creating a total of almost 70 acres of preserved land to be used for passive recreation like hiking, fishing, and bird watching. Their goal achieved, Bob and Valerie added, “It gives us great pleasure to see the land both protected and opened for others to enjoy.”