The North Shore Land Alliance, in partnership with Suffolk County, the Town of Huntington, New York State, The Conservation Fund and the local community, acquired the 32-acre DeForest Williams property (now known as Wawapek), in March of 2015. Three months after closing, the Land Alliance opened Wawapek, formerly a private estate, as a public, passive use preserve.

Over the summer, the Land Alliance learned that the Williams Estate was interested in selling a three-acre property immediately to the north of Wawapek. The property is visibly connected to Wawapek and provides an important expansion opportunity along the entire northerly boundary of the preserve. If the three-acre parcel were not acquired and preserved, the quaint 1,200 square foot cottage, existing greenhouses and outbuildings would undoubtedly be torn down and replaced by a much larger modern house and other accessory structures which would negatively impact the rural character of our newly acquired preserve.

Page Dwyer, executor of the Williams Estate, was very kind to provide the Land Alliance with an exclusive opportunity to acquire the property before it went on the open market.

We are pleased to report that the Land Alliance signed a contract to purchase the property on October 30th. When acquired, the property will serve a number of important functions. It will increase the size of the preserve to 35 protected acres. The existing house could be transformed into a stewardship center and/or educational facility and potentially could be used for staff housing. The greenhouse could be used for propagating and growing plants to be used at our nearby Shore Road Sanctuary (formerly ExxonMobil) and other Land Alliance preserves, as well as a teaching tool in our Long Island Water Education Program.

The Land Alliance is now in contract to acquire the property and anticipates closing by the end of 2015. We are working with the Town of Huntington to secure up to 50% of the purchase price. Under the latest scenario being discussed, the Town would likely purchase a conservation easement and the Land Alliance would retain ownership of the land. We are so pleased to be able to partner once again with the Town of Huntington on an important conservation priority. If you haven’t made a visit to Wawapek yet, please do. The fall color is particularly beautiful right now.