As a land trust, we protect land in perpetuity (forever!) through both fee-simple ownership (which means we hold the title to the land) and conservation easements.
The Kingston Land Trust acknowledges that we occupy and hold title to land that was violently taken from the original stewards: Lenape (Esopus) peoples. As a land trust, we consider land a sacred and collective heritage, and we find our purpose in the protection, access, and stewardship of that heritage. To do so in alignment with our commitment to justice requires us to confront the truths of Indigenous land dispossession, displacement, and attempted genocide and erasure. We acknowledge that these grave injustices continue and are the reasons why we as non-Native peoples can exist here today. Learn more by visiting the Native Land interactive map here.
Through fee-simple ownership and stewardship, we protect land in the City of Kingston, Town of Ulster, and Town of Hurley. Our current fee-simple properties fall into four categories: ridge habitat, floodplain, rail-trail contiguous, and historic/urban. Click here to see a service area map of Ulster County land trusts.
We currently hold one conservation easement, which protects the Pine Street African Burial Ground.
Our conservation priorities are informed by our own criteria and are complimented by prioritization identified by the Kingston Open Space Plan (see Public Space Policy, Planning & Design page). Our stewardship is guided by stewardship plans that we develop through interaction with the land and community, and we are continuously doing outreach to neighbors and other stakeholders to receive input on the public’s vision for use of these spaces.
Currently, the only KLT-protected land that is open to the public daily is the Forest Sanctuary. You can visit other land we protect when we host tours and events as well as programming of partner organizations. Follow our Facebook page for the most up-to-date event listings and come join us on the land!
There are many reasons for protecting land in floodplains as open space, especially given the likely future of more flooding events caused by shifting precipitation patterns in a warming climate. We own six small floodplain properties--five associated with the Lower Esopus Creek (in Kingston, Ulster, and Hurley) and one with a stream and wetlands that drain Onteora Lake. Five of these properties were purchased as surplus county parcels after being identified as areas to remain open space by Ulster County and FEMA, as part of the FEMA Catskill Flood Remediation Program. The sixth property was purchased after the Lower Esopus Creek corridor was identified as an open space priority during the initial phase of the Kingston Land Trust. See the Esopus Valley Biodiversity Assessment Report for background on why this area is a conservation priority for the KLT.
In the summer and fall of 2018, the KLT Greening Group began to transform one of our Town of Ulster Esopus Creek properties by first doing a plant survey and beginning to control the spread of opportunistic plants that have colonized the vacant lots. We worked with Earth Designs Cooperative to create a design for the property for an edible riparian buffer with many functions serving natural communities and humans alike.
The Greening Group planted about 70 native shrubs and trees, almost all of which are fruit-bearing, and began a small trial of sheet-mulching seeded with native meadow mix. The majority of the shrubs and trees were provided by the Trees for Tribs program of DEC’s Hudson River Estuary Program. We plan to continue to develop this site and begin to make it accessible to the public as an educational example of applying ecological design and permaculture principles to small creekside properties.
One of our organizing principles is protecting land around rail-trail corridors as this allows for biological corridors, and serves trail users. Currently, we hold title to and steward a piece of land just that is contiguous with the Kingston Point Rail Trail and a very small piece of land contiguous with the O&W Rail Trail. These are both segments of the Kingston Greenline, our joint initiative with the City of Kingston and Ulster County.
Kingston and the surrounding region is particularly rich in history, and we believe in the importance of protecting historical sites that link us to the past through the land. Currently, we own a small parcel in the Kingston neighborhood of Ponckhockie that has historical significance related to the revolutionary war and to lime and cement production during the 19th century industrial period. We also protect an 18th-19th century African Burial Ground in Kingston through a conservation easement.