In June 2015, after a more than $3 million capital campaign, the Land Conservancy purchased the largest privately held undeveloped tract of land along the Niagara River and created the Stella Niagara Preserve. It was opened to the public in July 2015 and features walking trails, fishing access and a place to put a kayak in the water.
As the most high-profile acquisition and project to date by the Land Conservancy, undertook a comprehensive planning process for the ecological restoration and on-going stewardship of the Preserve in keeping with the community’s vision and the organization’s priorities. The group engaged nationally renowned landscape architect Darrel Morrison to create a restoration plan for the site, and also engaged Make Communities to work with stakeholders to establish principles and devise a vision for the Preserve to guide the site’s use, design and maintenance.
The resulting Stella Niagara Preserve Vision Plan focuses on five pieces of Guiding Wisdom sourced from community conversations about the past, present and future potential of this incredible place. This knowledge frames goals and strategies that are clear enough to chart a path forward, but flexible enough to be adaptable to changing conditions and circumstances.
The Vision Plan won awards for public outreach from the American Planning Association’s Western New York and Upstate New York Chapters.