Margery Gallogly Nature Sanctuary

The Western New York Land Conservancy and residents of Grand Island are working now to create a new 140-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 is currently owned by Catholic Cemeteries of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Buffalo. Catholic Cemeteries would like Assumption Cemetery to remain shielded from surrounding development, and have offered to sell the surrounding 140-acre forest to the Land Conservancy to help ensure that buffer exists far into the future.

Once purchased and opened to the public, the new preserve will be only a few minutes from Buffalo and Niagara Falls. It will be 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 July 2017, the Niagara River Greenway Ecological Standing Committee approved a grant of $568,000 to help protect the forest. Then, in early August 2017, Land Conservancy received an additional $200,000 from the Gallogly Family Foundation to help create the new nature preserve. This funding will be just enough for the Land Conservancy to purchase the property and open it to the public. Once acquired, the preserve will be called the Margery Gallogly Nature Sanctuary.

The Land Conservancy is hoping to raise at least another $600,000 to create an even better walking trail system, restore wildlife habitat, and help maintain the preserve in the long run.

If you are interested in helping create 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 with “Gallogly” in the memo line to the Western New York Land Conservancy, P.O. Box 471, East Aurora, NY 14052.