(Adapted from a Rick Ohler / East Aurora Advertiser article)
In February of 2000, the Western New York Land Conservancy, the Friends of Kenneglenn, and The Trust for Public Land mounted a $400,000 capital campaign to raise funds to purchase the Kenneglenn Estate. Through the successful fundraising efforts of this collaborative group, the Land Conservancy purchased the Estate in November of 2000 and established the Kenneglenn Scenic and Nature Preserve.
The Kenneglenn Scenic and Nature Preserve is the crown jewel of the Land Conservancy’s protected places. It is a 131-acre expanse located in Wales, just 30 miles from downtown Buffalo. Kenneglenn includes portions of the spectacular Hunter’s Creek gorge, and features wetlands and forests, as well as beautiful views of the gently rolling hills that are characteristic of southern Erie County. Kenneglenn is also adjacent to the protected Erie County owned Hunter’s Creek County Park, forming a band of protected open space along Hunters Creek.
Tucked away at the end of a dead-end road, down a long, tree-lined gravel driveway not ten minutes from downtown East Aurora, Kenneglenn is a magical place. Its magic lies not only in the breathtaking views of the steep gorge cut by Hunters Creek over the millennia. Or in the deep evergreen and deciduous woods that line the creek. Or the mixture of field, fen, hill and glade that are home to all manner of plants, insects, birds and beasts. What is magic about Kenneglenn is that it came to be at all.
A town such as Wales, and Aurora and Elma and Marilla for that matter, were at first a patchwork quilt of large parcels of land. Much of the land was agricultural—dairy farms with vast expanses of hayfield and cropland to support the needs of the herd. Many of the parcels were forested and provided lumber for mills such as the storied Kuchenbeisser Lumber and the old basket factory in Wales Center where Routes 78 and 20A part company. Some of the land had tree stands and Spartan camps for deer hunting. A very few parcels were just for recreation, second homes for city folk. So it was with Kenneglenn.
Today, the Land Conservancy’s offices are located at Kenneglenn. The preserve is still one of the Land Conservancy’s most scenic and cherished properties. The Land Conservancy holds organized nature hikes – including walks right through the creek – each year.
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