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Meet John v.H. Halsey, Founder & President, Peconic Land Trust

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September 20, 2017

By Yvette DeBow-Salsedo

Founders Story

In the early 1980s, Peconic Land Trust’s founder John v.H. Halsey was home on vacation from the West Coast and saw a for sale sign on the farm next door:  a 10th generation farm was soon to be developed because of the necessity of paying the estate tax. In the 1970s, the value of land on eastern Long Island exponentially increased. Farm families, who for generations were able to pass down the land to their children and grandchildren, were now being forced to sell in order to satisfy the tax.

This was not unique. But in the early 1980s, there were very few organizations on Long Island to advise landowners on conservative options that could protect their land and the character of our communities.  And so John returned to the East Coast, and with a small group of concerned local residents the Peconic Land Trust was founded on August 1, 1983.  

By August 1, 2017, the Trust has conserved over 12,000 acres of working farms, natural lands, and historic resources in partnership with landowners, local governments, communities, partner organizations and donors — starting with the Phillips Pond Preserve in 1984.

“As the Trust approaches its 35th Anniversary in 2018, I feel a personal responsibility to lay the groundwork for the next 35 years. The Trust has a pivotal role to play in the decades to come. We must prepare the next generation of conservationists to lead the way in anticipation of greater challenges ahead. This requires foresight and a new investment in our work as we position ourselves to conserve Long Island’s future,” said John.

The Trust’s vision’s is to steward the best of Long Island and the East End forevermore … its land, water, and heritage. Our working farms, natural lands, and historic places make life livable for millions of people today and are essential to the health and happiness of future generations.

The land and water that sustain our communities are fragile and finite. Their value, both ecologically and intrinsically, will continue to rise given unrelenting development pressure, more people and a changing climate. Through conservation, we preserve the quality of life we enjoy today and for generations to come.