GUILDERLAND Dr. Milford Becker spent the last years of his life trying to preserve some of the land he owned, but he did not see his vision realized. Almost seven years after passing away, his wish is coming true.
Becker, who was a Guilderland veterinarian, reached out to Mohawk Hudson Land Conservancy 15 years ago inquiring about how to preserve his land. Becker died in August of 2007 at 91 years old, with his wife, Mary, also passing away before a deal was finalized. The Becker family, though, kept pursuing perseveration efforts and MHLC recently purchased the 156-acre Becker property.
Milford Becker’s daughter, Linda, said her family lived at the corner of Bozenkill and Westfall roads for 42 years. She said they would walk to property almost every day.
“My parents loved the land and especially the birds,” said Linda Becker. “My mother knew the call of every bird, and my father knew every tree on the property.”
Mark King, executive director of the MHLC, said conservation efforts usually involve a long process.
“Land protection and conservation efforts tend to take a long time. They are expensive, and it is hard to get people to agree,” said King. “Sometimes it seems like a miracle when it all comes together, and we couldn’t be happier that it did.”
MHLC also acquired 27 acres of neighboring land several years ago, which expands the preserve to 214 acres, including more than a mile and a half of stream frontage.
“It is a good amount of land, and it is really the conglomeration of three different acquisitions,” said King. “It is a remote and very intact natural area.”
The Bozenkill is one of the major tributaries of the Watervliet Reservoir, which supplies water to Guilderland and the City of Watervliet. The preserve includes heavily forested areas, steep wooded slopes, small fields and extensive stream frontage.