The fate of this 86-acre iconic landscape at the base of the Helderberg Escarpment hung in the balance when owner Jeanne Picard Fish was declared incapacitated last December. When surrounding neighbors learned of the proposed sale of the Picard’s Grove property to a local developer, MHLC’s phone rang off the hook with offers to help save the land from extensive development.
Over the last few months, MHLC staff members have been working furiously to convince the court that conserving this acreage was the best outcome for Jeanne Picard, the community, and the land. At one point eight different attorneys were involved in the direction of the future of the property. On October 9, MHLC oversaw the sale of the property to local neighbors Richard and Valerie Glover. The sale will provide long-term care for Jeanne Picard Fish as well as her move to a new nursing home. Greg Picard stated, “On behalf of the Picard Family, I would like to personally thank all parties involved in the sale of the Picard property. The majority of the property will be protected by an easement through the Mohawk Hudson Land Conservancy. The Picard Family name lives on preserving the land. This would have not been possible without generous donations. We look forward to the next chapter as this project involves.”
In conjunction with the property sale, neighbors and Picard relatives provided MHLC with the support needed to purchase a conservation easement over Picard’s Grove, protecting 80% of the land as required by the court. Under the conservation, the property remains private and stays on the property tax role, but any future development is limited to very specific areas of the property.
“We feel very blessed and privileged to fulfill our shared dream of conserving and preserving this beautiful land for generations to enjoy, including all life that dwells in and passes through this natural habitat, but which has no voice of its own,” –Valerie Glover
With the protection of the Picard property, MHLC has conserved more than 700 acres beneath the Helderberg Conservation Corridor, a culturally and biologically rich landscape of farms and forest linking nearly 4,000 acres of protected lands between the Black Creek Mash Wildlife Management Area to Thacher State Park, with Indian Ladder Farms as its centerpiece. “The Picard property is a critical linkage in the corridor and is part of an iconic view of the Heldeberg Escarpment. Thousands of people attended events at the Grove and enjoyed this spectacular location beneath the escarpment,” said Executive Director Mark King, “and we are so pleased that the Court recognized the importance of a conservation outcome for the property. The alternative would have been heartbreaking for the community.”
The easement will ensure the views to the Helderberg Escarpment remain as they have for decades before. And, just as Jeanne Picard Fish had once enjoyed her horses at Picard’s Grove, Valerie and Richard Glover look forward to having their horses on the land very soon.