Margery Gallogly Nature Sanctuary

In September 2018, the Western New York Land Conservancy and residents of Grand Island created a new 145-acre forested nature preserve in the heart of the Niagara River.

The Sanctuary’s wooded wetlands are home to rare blue spotted salamanders

The forest surrounds Assumption Cemetery on Whitehaven Road. It was purchased from Catholic Cemeteries of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Buffalo. Catholic Cemeteries. This project will surround and protect the Assumption Cemetery from surrounding development and ensure a peaceful future for this sacred place.

The new preserve is not open yet, but once it is, visitors need only travel a short drive from Buffalo or Niagara Falls to be surrounded by nature. The sanctuary is only a mile and a half from the new Grand Island Welcome Center.

The Land Conservancy will begin work on a new trail system in Spring 2019 to create a place where people of all ages can enjoy year-round recreation outdoors like hiking, snowshoeing, and cross country skiing.

Residents and visitors will be able to take a peaceful walk on nature trails, view colorful songbirds during migration, and witness the frenzy of salamanders and frogs as they emerge each spring.

Importance of the Property

This land is incredibly ecologically important. It is one of the largest, undeveloped, privately-owned properties left on Grand Island, and one of the largest remaining forests in the entire Niagara River watershed. The property includes almost a mile of Little Sixmile Creek, a tributary of the Niagara River.

The forest’s landscape was carved by the last glaciers and massive prehistoric floods, leaving behind vast wooded wetlands reminiscent of cypress forests in the bayous of the Southeast. In fact, the combination of oaks and hickories is more typical of forest further south of New York State, and represents what may be a newly described plant community.

This sprawling forest is also teeming with life. Passing migratory songbirds rest on the limbs of tall trees, while blue-spotted salamanders make their home on the forest floor below.

Fundraising

In September 2018, the Land Conservancy exceeded their fundraising goal of $800,000. This funding the enabled the Land Conservancy to purchase the property and begin work to create an even better walking trail system, restore wildlife habitat, and help maintain the preserve into the future.  The project was supported by a $568,000 grant from the Niagara River Greenway Ecological Standing Committee and an additional $200,000 from the Gallogly Family Foundation to help create the new nature preserve. The preserve is named the Margery Gallogly Nature Sanctuary in honor of that donation.

The Land Conservancy is grateful to every donor who made this sanctuary a reality. If you are interested in supporting the Land Conservancy’s work to protect places like the Margery Gallogly Nature Sanctuary, you can make a donation on our online giving page today. You can also donate now by sending a check to the Western New York Land Conservancy at P.O. Box 471, East Aurora, NY 14052.