Verena and Roderic CushmanOn June 15th, a beautiful, 28-acre, heavily wooded parcel in the Village of Matinecock was purchased by the Land Alliance for conservation purposes. This acquisition would not have been possible without the incredibly generous support of Verena and Roderick H. Cushman, who donated the funds necessary to purchase this highly significant portion of the Beaver Brook watershed for use by the community.

The property, which will be named Cushman Woods, provides a critical habitat for birds, fox and a variety of wildlife species. It is tucked between Duck Pond Road, Piping Rock Road and Chicken Valley Road and is literally filled with old-growth trees, an abundance of native plants and a trail system that was once a popular fox hunting route for the Meadowbrook Hunt.

When asked why they chose to give this incredible gift to the community, the Cushmans said “we want to ensure that future generations have the opportunity to enjoy, care for and learn from this unique woodland habitat.”

In the 1920’s, the property was a part of the estate of Paul Cravath, a prominent Manhattan lawyer and a presiding partner of the law firm today known as Cravath, Swaine & Moore. The accompanying house, which has been purchased by a private individual, has historically been referred to as Still House. It was Cravath’s fourth home in the area, and he chose to have it made of brick because fires destroyed his first two, according to the blog Old Long Island.

The Land Alliance will soon begin the process of subdividing the house parcel from the land. Once it is completed we intend to restore the trails and maintain the property as a passive use preserve for walking, birding and nature exploration. Over time, we will evaluate the habitat and begin to remove invasive plants. We wholeheartedly welcome participation from the neighbors in these endeavors.

Carter Bales, Land Alliance Chair, said “The Cushman family represent the highest form of community leadership in their commitment to protecting the character of the North Shore. Such foresight and generosity are rare in our society today. We thank each member of the Cushman family for their commitment and leadership on the crucial issue of protecting our precious community from excessive development.”
Many, many thanks to Verena and Rod Cushman for their extraordinary generosity and unparalleled devotion to our community and its most important open spaces. And many thanks to Claudia and Gunnar Overstrom who brought this deal to the Land Alliance’s attention and hung in there through thick and thin until it was all done.

The serenity of Cushman Woods will be enjoyed for generations. The ecosystem services it provides, like recharging our groundwater, absorbing harmful carbon emissions and cleaning our air, will ensure a healthier community for all that follow us.

If you have any questions, please contact Lisa Ott at the Land Alliance at 516-626-0908.