You did it! Thanks to you, the Friends of the Allegany Wildlands, everyone who donated, and the entire Western New York community, we've met our fundraising goal to save the Allegany Wildlands in Cattaraugus County.
We now have enough funds to begin the process of purchasing the property, and we anticipate being the proud new owners of this spectacular 200-acre forest this year. Once the sale is official, we will create a walking trail and keep it open year-round as a publicly accessible nature preserve. The preserve will be named the Janet Gallogly Allegany Wildlands.
The Allegany Wildlands is a stunning 200-acre forest located only a few hundred feet from the Allegany Reservoir, on the opposite shore from Allegany State Park. The forest is home to some of the few surviving American Chestnut trees in the region, as well as incredible wildlife. Check out the video below to see for yourself!
Refuge for Amazing Wildlife
The Allegany Wildlands is home to a spectacular diversity of plants and animals. During the last ice age, the glaciers never covered this forest, keeping intact an ancient plant community. In the early 1800s it was purchased by the Sluga family from the Holland Land Company. Generations of their family have been its stewards ever since. When they first purchased the land, it was covered by massive American Chestnut trees which had dominated eastern forests for 40 million years. By the early 1900s, a blight had killed off nearly every chestnut in North America, including those at this forest. Amazingly, one 50-foot-tall American Chestnut still survives, along with a few other smaller American Chestnuts. Large oaks, a threatened fern, and even a rare orchid also grow here. Underneath the forest canopy, black bear and bobcat roam the ridges and ravines. Majestic Bald Eagles soar overhead, colorful songbirds nest in the tall trees, and playful river otters search for fish in the nearby reservoir. The Sluga family has decided to sell their land, but for the next chapter of this forest’s story, they want it protected.
Read about the Allegany Wildlands in the Buffalo News.
The Western New York Wildway
Protecting the Allegany Wildlands will kick off an ambitious idea—creating the Western New York Wildway. The Wildway will be a connected corridor of protected lands that stretches from the vast forests of northern Pennsylvania to the Great Lakes, through to the Finger Lakes, the Adirondacks, and beyond. It will form part of the Eastern Wildway which runs all the way from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico. The Wildway will allow plants and animals to migrate across the land as they once did, it will allow those that have disappeared from our region to return home, and it will allow those in need to move around to new homes as climate changes. The Allegany Wildlands is already connected to 10,000 acres of protected state land, nestled between Allegany State Park and South Valley State Forest, and it is a significant link in a future Western New York Wildway.