Niagara Gazette — With the help of some New York Power Authority relicensing agreement money, the Western New York Land Conservancy is moving closer to creating a nature preserve on the property of Lewiston’s Stella Niagara.
The Habitat Enhancement and Restoration Fund, created as part of the relicensing agreement’s Niagara River Greenway, awarded the group located in East Aurora more than $1.8 million towards the creation of the preserve.
“The Stella Niagara Preserve represents an important accomplishment in our vision of creating a necklace of protected and publicly accessible open spaces along the length of the Niagara River,” Greg Stevens, Chairman of the Niagara River Greenway Commission, said. “It is great to see the project moving forward with so much support.”
Coupled with an additional $500,000 granted earlier this year by the Greenway Ecological Standing Committee, the project has nearly completed its fundraising goal of $3.1 million.
Located across Lower River Road from the Stella Niagara Education Park and Center of Renewal in the Town of Lewiston, the 29-acre Stella Niagara Preserve property is more than a quarter mile of scenic shoreline supporting rare plants and animals. It sits on a site of an important canoe landing site for the region’s Haudenosaunee and is the exact location where the British landed in 1813 to capture Fort Niagara.
Once acquired, the conservancy will restore grassland and savannah habitat and open it to the public with walking trails, fishing and kayak access.
Nancy Smith, executive director of the conservancy group, said the money will go to creating an important property along the Niagara River, north of the Village of Lewiston. Together with the Sisters of St. Francis, who run the Stella Niagara property, the preserve’s goal will be to “continue a legacy of careful stewardship of the extraordinarily unique and ecologically and historically important property” while providing river access.
“There are certain places in the world that are so spiritually uplifting and whose beauty is so awe-inspiring that they just have to be protected for future generations to enjoy,” Sister Edith Wyss, Provincial Minister of the Sisters of St. Francis and the current property owner, said. “Stella Niagara is one of those treasures.”
Anyone interested in supporting the preserve can contact the Land Conservancy by calling Smith at 687-1225 or by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.