The Western New York Land Conservancy is celebrating what it calls the permanent preservation of the largest parcel of undeveloped land along the Niagara River.
The 29-acre Stella Niagara Preserve, located in Lewiston near the Niagara River, was acquired in May from the Sisters of St. Francis at Stella Niagara. Executive Director Nancy Smith tells WBFO $3.6 million was raised to acquire the land, which offers both ecological and historical significance.
"It's where the British landed in the War of 1812," said Smith, who was citing just one of many examples. The land is also believed to be part of the famous Underground Railroad pathway. Existing amenities include a chapel and shrine, as well as woodland and wildlife for observers to hike amongst and observe.
Smith says the Sisters of Saint Francis at Stella Niagara should be credited for appreciating the ecological and historical heritage of that land and not selling it off for development.
"They certainly have had many offers over the years," Smith said. "That certainly could have been the future of the property, if not for their commitment to ecology and the natural world."
The preserve was officially opened Tuesday morning to the public.