Niagara Escarpment Preserve
In 2011, the Western New York Land Conservancy purchased its first property on the Niagara Escarpment, called the Frank L. and Julia Dersham Young Niagara Escarpment Preserve.
The 36-acre property on Leete Road in Lockport contains 1,000 feet of the Niagara Escarpment, prime soils, 21 acres of contiguous mature hardwood forest with several unique woodland plants, and 10 acres of restored grassland habitat.
Since 1888, when Peter Young settled near Lockport, the Young family had farmed this property, known as the Young Family Farm. Through wars, the Depression and prosperity, the family cleared fields and grew hay, corn, wheat, soybeans, and tomatoes. They grazed dairy cows, tapped sugar maple trees, and developed vineyards, fruit orchards, and tree farms.
Peter’s son, Frank L. Young, expanded the farm and also served the Town of Lockport as school trustee, justice of the peace, and assessor. The most recent owner, Frances Young Harrison, a third generation member of Young family farmers, retired from active farming at age 87. She and her family chose to honor their family’s heritage by protecting the land forever.
“It is our family’s hope that this site of natural beauty will be a touchstone to county students and residents, so that all may appreciate the very beginning of our agrarian culture,” said Francis Harrison at the preserve’s ribbon cutting ceremony.
(Adapted from a Niagara Frontier Publications article, dated Friday, Nov. 4, 2011)