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western New York Wildway

A Bold Initiative

The Western New York Land Conservancy is leading an effort to create the WNY Wildway, an ambitious long-term plan to protect and connect the largest of our region's remaining forests. The Wildway will connect 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 roam across the land as they once did, to move as climate changes, and to expand their ranges and ensure their survival. It will allow wildlife that have disappeared from our region to return home.

View the interactive WNY Wildway StoryMap for an in-depth look at this extensive project.

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The Changing Climate

As the climate changes, plants and animals will require corridors that enable them to move to more hospitable landscapes and core habitat areas to make their home. 

Due to our region’s plentiful fresh water, productive agricultural soils, and cool climate, experts suggest that Western New York will become a destination for climate migrants in the 21st century. Given this ever-increasing pressure on our natural resources, protecting our region’s natural habitats is more important than ever.

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Protecting Biodiversity 

In his influential 2016 book Half-Earth: Our Planet’s Fight for Life, biologist and author E.O. Wilson argues that if humans conserve half the land and sea, we can save 85% of the world’s biodiversity from extinction. To achieve this goal, we must reduce habitat fragmentation and build corridors of connection between large, wild, protected areas that will allow plants and animals greater movement between them. This will help ensure ecosystems—and everything that lives in them—can thrive in the face of climate change. The Western New York Wildway will deliver on our region’s goal of maintaining healthy natural habitats, while also increasing carbon capture and storage. That’s what we call a win-win.

Let's Get Started Together

Our Conservation Team is working now to create the Wildway by working with willing landowners to permanently protect their land. 

Right now, you can ensure that future plants and animals will find their way home to our region—and beyond—by migrating across the Western New York Wildway. Will you consider donating today with the link below?

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Supporting Partners

Supporting partners include: Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper, the Nature Sanctuary Society of WNY, the Chautauqua Watershed Conservancy, Buffalo Audubon Society, Erie Cattaraugus Rail Trail, NYS Senator George Borello, Erie County Department of Environment and Planning, Erie County Environmental Management Council, Lake Erie Watershed Protection Alliance, Finger Lakes Trail Conference, The Nature Conservancy NY, Ducks Unlimited, and Friends of Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge. 

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