Stewardship of the land in our care is our primary responsibility. Our stewardship staff, with the help of Summer Land Stewards and volunteers like you, monitor, manage and maintain our various preserves and easements. Below are examples of what we do:
TILT is legally bound by a conservation easement to monitor the land regularly and assure that the specific terms of the easement are being met. When the easement is created, the property is thoroughly documented with photographs, maps and visual inspection to record its initial status (baseline data). It is TILT’s practice to visit the property annually to observe its condition and compare it to the baseline data. TILT works closely with the landowner to remedy any violations of the easement. This annual monitoring visit is also a great opportunity for TILT and the landowner to get together and discuss any matters relating to the property or the easement.
Crooked Creek Preserve:
The land trust grants permission to hunt on the preserve in the fall (click here to apply for a permit). Participating hunters help with stewardship by observing and reporting any problems or issues they see in the woods. TILT asks hunters to volunteer some time to help maintain the preserve.
Rocks & Shoals:
The land trust owns many rocks & shoals in the St. Lawrence. In the Spring, the Eagle Wings shoals near Grindstone Island, and Tidd Island, near Murray Island, are home to Common Tern colonies. A joint project between TILT and Save The River places gull exclusion grids on these islands to prevent gulls and other large birds from predating on the tern eggs and chicks. The islands are monitored regularly during the nesting season. If you're interested in volunteering to install or remove the Tern nesting grid, or to monitor during the nesting season, click here.
While the island residents of this Grindstone beach help with maintenance throughtout the year, one of our two annual volunteer TILTreks is dedicated to cleaning up Potters. If you're interested in volunteering to clean up Potters Beach, alongside TILT and the Rivergate Wheelers ATV Club, click here.
Zenda Farm Preserve:
The meadows at Zenda are hayed by a local farmer, but they are not mowed until after August 1st. This allows nesting songbirds to finish raising their young. This kind of habitat is among the most threatened by development and changing agricultural practices, so it is important to keep large tracts of open grassland available for these species.
The Macsherry Trail, located in the Crooked Creek Preserve in Hammond, is mowed and trimmed throughout the summer. One of our two annual volunteer TILTreks is dedicated to the maintenance of this trail, and in recent years, participants have built foot bridges, mowed, cleared brush and removed fallen trees. If you're interested in volunteering to maintain the Macsherry Trail, click here.
Sissy Danforth Rivergate Trail:
This rails-to-trails project is a collaboration of many partners. ATV and snowmobile clubs like Rivergate Wheelers, the Lodge ATV Club and Indian River Lakes ATV & Snowmobile Club help maintain the trail. The trail crosses several municipalities, all of whom participate in its upkeep. New York State built the Interstate 81 underpass for the trail near Theresa.
Grindstone Island Nature Trail:
This trail connects Canoe Point and Picnic Point State Parks at the foot of Grindstone, and is maintained by volunteers from Grindstone Island as well as a collaboration between TILT and NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.
LoisJean and John MacFarlane Trail:
This trail, around the perimeter of the meadows of Zenda Farm Preserve, is named for donors & benefactors LoisJean and John MacFarlane. It is a non-motorized, accessible trail for hiking & cross-country skiing, and is easily accessible from the village of Clayton. Its maintenance includes mowing and trimming, tree planting and watering, and upkeep of benches and signage along the trail. TILT received a grant from NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation to build the trail. If you're interested in volunteering to help plant trees along the MacFarlane Trail during our annual Arbor Day event, click here.
Otter Creek Nature Trail:
The creation of a trail system is currently underway for the Otter Creek Preserve. This trail, located in Alexandria Bay, has been made possible in part by funding from NY State Parks & Trails. Contact Jake Tibbles, Executive Director at 315-686-5345 or firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in volunteering or donating to this project.