Otsego Land Trust

Since the John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail was extended in 2012, the Chesapeake Conservancy has been working to increase public access in the upper watershed. The trail now extends to the top of the Chesapeake watershed – the headwaters of the Susquehanna River in Cooperstown, New York.

The Conservancy partnered with the Otsego Land Trust to complete its first project in this region – conserving ecologically significant properties and creating public access in Cooperstown, NY.

Working together, the two organizations secured $25,000 from a private foundation, which was matched 2:1 by local donors. The proceeds of these grants were used to purchase Deowongo Island in Canadarago Lake, significant natural areas on Oaks Creek, and land around a new access point for the Capt. John Smith Trail at Compton Bridge.

Through a recent grant from the Chesapeake Bay Gateways Network, which the Chesapeake Conservancy remains the lead advocate for, the Otsego Land Trust was able to secure $47,000 of federal funding to complete canoe and kayak launches at Compton Bridge, the Trust’s most visible site located at the confluence of Oaks Creek and the Susquehanna River.

The Compton Bridge access site demonstrates the feasibility of creating water access at bridge crossings, an approach to creating access the Chesapeake Conservancy has been advocating.

By working at the headwaters of the Susquehanna, this project cements the Conservancy’s commitment to protecting land and providing access across the entire Chesapeake Bay watershed. This is the first of many projects in the upper watershed to come.