Westchester Land Trust Protects Land in Pound Ridge at Year’s End

 Westchester Land Trust (WLT) announced today the acquisition of a 3-acre parcel adjacent to Westchester Wilderness Walk / Zofnass Family Preserve, WLT’s flagship preserve which at 150 acres encompasses an eight-mile trail network, rocky woods, hillside streams, lakes and wetlands. The additional three acres of land were donated to the Westchester Land Trust by the preserve’s founding family: Paul Zofnass and Renee Ring. The new acquisition features an arboretum established by Paul Zofnass over the past ten years.  It includes roughly 250 different species of trees, plants and grasses, all identified, along a winding foot path which will become part of the South Loop Trail.

“We are honored to have permanently protected land to expand Westchester Wilderness Walk / Zofnass Family Preserve,” said WLT President Lori Ensinger. “We are so thankful to Paul and Renee for their continued leadership and generosity, which serves as a testament to the important role landowners can play in protecting open space throughout our community.”

Paul Zofnass and his wife Renee Ring, Pound Ridge residents and members of the Westchester Land Trust’s Board of Directors, first conceived the idea of creating a trail preserve, now known as the Westchester Wilderness Walk / Zofnass Family Preserve, and then worked for over 10 years to put the project together. Paul, Renee and their family donated land, persuaded their neighbors to donate land, and created the impressive trail system.

“My family and I are delighted to add this additional parcel to the Westchester Wilderness Walk and to share our love of trees and plants and nature with the community. We hope many people will enjoy and learn from this resource forever. Once you can identify and differentiate one species of tree, plant or grass from another, the more interested you get, the more joy you experience, the more appreciative you are and the more you want to protect this diversity. It’s an important part of preservation,” said Paul Zofnass.

The preserve is expanding in other ways too with the long-awaited opening of a new parking lot on Joshua Hobby Road.  Installed in October 2019 with generous funding from the Land Trust Alliance/New York State Conservation Partnership Program, this 5-car gravel lot was first envisioned nearly 20 years ago, and it provides great access to the eastern trails including the 1-mile Eastern Loop featuring wetland views, an experimental deer exclosure, and educational signs.

Image Caption: Westchester Land Trust (WLT) ended 2019 with a 3-acre parcel acquisition adjacent to Westchester Wilderness Walk / Zofnass Family Preserve, WLT’s flagship preserve. The additional three acres of land were donated to the Westchester Land Trust by the preserve’s founding family: Paul Zofnass and Renee Ring. The new acquisition features an arboretum established by Paul Zofnass over the past ten years.  It includes roughly 250 different species of trees, plants and grasses, all identified, along a winding foot path which will become part of the South Loop Trail.

 

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