Grindstone Easement Links Conserved Land

Bob Purcell’s 143 acre property on the northern shore of Grindstone Island’s Flynn Bay was the last unprotected parcel surrounding this amazingly productive muskellunge nursery.

This spring, Mr. Purcell placed the property under conservation easement, safeguarding these invaluable emergent wetlands, as well as an array of habitat types including mature hardwood forests and open grasslands. Conserving this parcel bolsters the integrity of the scenic vistas and natural shorelines of the St. Lawrence River while providing connectivity for the countless species that call Grindstone home.

Mr. Purcell will continue to own this land providing tax revenue for the township. In placing the conservation easement on his property, Mr. Purcell has defined how the property can be used in the future, limiting certain activities in order to protect the wetlands and shoreline that are so important to the fishery and to wildlife.

Flynn Bay is a New York State Class I wetland. Wetlands provide critical habitat for many species, nursery habitat for young fish and wildlife, and ensure water quality through their filtering capacity. Migratory waterfowl rely on wetlands like these as important nesting, resting and feeding grounds each year.

The property connects to other lands conserved by TILT, creating a swath of contiguous forest, which are important for neotropical migratory birds that require deep forests for feeding and nesting. This parcel also adds to the wildlife corridor that crosses the St. Lawrence via Murray Isle, Wellesley Island and Grindstone, providing a “highway” for birds and animals, large and small, between the Adirondacks and the forests of northern Ontario.

Protecting open space, like this historically agricultural land, is a critical component in maintaining the quality of the air and water resources and the sustainability and biodiversity of fish, wildlife and plant species. Preserving open space and its scenic values can also have significant economic benefits, reducing the costs of water and air pollution cleanup, and supporting industries dependent on natural resources, like our region’s tourism-based economy.

“Since romping on and in the waters around Clayton as a boy,” says Bob Purcell, “I have been immersed in the natural beauty of the St. Lawrence River. I have also gradually witnessed how development can spoil that beauty.

In 1995, I acquired a farm on Grindstone Island that borders a substantial portion of Flynn Bay. I have cherished my role as custodian of that bit of paradise.  Recently, TILT extended an opportunity to preserve in perpetuity the farm in a relatively pristine state.  After much deliberation, I concluded that entrusting TILT with the preservation of the natural beauty of the farm and Flynn Bay is the right thing to do for future custodians of the farm, for members of the Grindstone community, for those who romp around the River, and for all who seek immersion in paradise.
Thank you, TILT.”     - Bob Purcell

(Spring 2016 Reflections Newsletter)

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