"If we can encourage others to protect their land from development, it would be great for everyone who lives here and everyone who visits the Hudson Highlands." – David Foster
Judy and David Foster
Judy and David Foster live in a rambling frame house that dates from the 1950s. The house sits on twelve acres on Travis Corners Road in Garrison. The northern segment of their land abuts one of the largest wetlands in Philipstown; further north, the property is visible from New York State parkland as well as from the Appalachian Trail. This past winter, the Fosters donated an easement on their property to the Hudson Highlands Land Trust.
David: We’d been thinking about it for quite a long time. Then, a year or so ago, three things sort of came together, and we decided to go ahead. First, we finished a pretty extensive re-design of the house and the garden, and we felt even more strongly committed to the place than we did before. Second, we knew that the Land Trust was trying to get a cluster of easements donated along Old Albany Post Road, just to the east of our house, and we thought that limiting development of our property might encourage some of the land owners on Old Albany Post to follow suit. And finally, the Land Trust staff told us that our property was visible from the Appalachian Trail, and we couldn’t stand the thought that future hikers might look down on a housing development if we didn’t limit what could be built on our land.
Judy: We had always enjoyed hiking on the Appalachian Trail ourselves and knew how beautiful the land around our property is. This made us appreciate more than ever how important it is to protect land from the development that is going on at such a rapid rate these days.
Once a mink farm, the Fosters’ land is well-fenced--the objective having originally been to keep animals in. The fence serves almost as well to keep animals out—especially, that bane of local gardeners, the white-tailed deer. Freed—mostly—of that worry, the Fosters have indulged their passion for landscaping and have now got the gardens to the point where they feel that they face something of an achievement rather than simply a challenge.
David: We are happy with what we’ve done, though it has been a bit of a struggle. I think anything we do in the future will be an incremental change rather than a major one. We love this property and we greatly value the area around it. If we can encourage others to protect their land from development, it would be great for everyone who lives here and everyone who visits the Hudson Highlands. They’d be surprised to find out how easy it is to do.