Deborah and Chris Buck

"There aren’t many places within one hour of New York that have resisted sprawl. Fifty years from now there will be even fewer, and it would be a shame not to fight as hard as we can to be sure that this area is one that survives." – Chris Buck

Deborah and Chris Buck

Deborah and Chris Buck own thirty acres of stunning farmland on Old Albany Post Road. Besides a yellow farmhouse built in 1938, there are two old barns on the property, as well as a new garage; a lush garden and a natural-looking swimming pool hidden behind a stonewall topped by a wooden fence of locust pickets. The meadow that stretches beyond the well-tended lawn and adjacent flowerbeds teems with purple wildflowers. Chris, a director of the Hudson Highlands Land Trust since 2006, is a foundation executive; Deborah owns an art and antiques gallery on Madison Avenue in New York City. They bought their house five years ago. The stretch of Old Albany Post Road on which the Buck farm lies looks much as it must have appeared when the house was built 167 years ago. Only one telephone pole is visible from the terrace; the only sound on a warm August Saturday is the buzzing of bees. Preserving this is important to both Chris and Deborah.

Chris: I hope that this will spur other people on Old Albany Post Road to start doing something similar. The conservation easement [donated to HHLT by Pat King and David Clark] up the road is what got us thinking about an easement. I’d like to build momentum. The tax benefits of doing it this year are another inducement.

Deborah: If you’re not a developer, and if you believe in the integrity of your property, I don’t see much of a downside in donating an easement Yes, maybe you give up some cash, but it’s a more satisfying form of philanthropy than writing a check.

Chris: There aren’t many places within one hour of New York that have resisted sprawl. Fifty years from now there will be even fewer, and it would be a shame not to fight as hard as we can to be sure that this area is one that survives. For me, it’s investing in the area, not investing in a piece of property. And as an investment, I think a conservation easement makes sense. You give up some things in the short term, but if enough people put easements on their land, you, and your neighbors, gain so much in the long run.

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