Since its founding in 1992, the group has ensured the safe future of more than 1,500 acres.
Another perk for the property owners entering the agreements are eligibility for annual tax breaks. New York State laws just enacted allow the owners relief of 25 percent of their property taxes paid on that land, up to $5,000 per year.
As for Crauer, he hopes by keeping development off his land, he's helping protect the future of natural land for generations to come. "When I see the loss of open space, I get so concerned," said Crauer. "If we don't draw a line in the sand, what are we giving our children and grand-children? Their problems will be insurmountable. I only have 40 acres to protect; I wish I had more."
Knapp hopes other residents will recognize the value of their land and its geographic and his-toric significance. "Most people have a familiarity with their prop-erty, and don't need to go hunting for artifacts to know of its innate significance," said Knapp. "People who love and know their land in-timately, whether through re-search or just hiking the property, are aware of the value of it and its unique qualities. We're here to assure the land stays that way."
For information, visit www.mhlc.org.