DIANA, N.Y. -- In a region filled with nature trails, hiking areas, and water views, there's now one more spot to add to the list. The Indian River Lakes Conservancy recently turned 354 acres of private property into a public scenic area after its owner donated the land.
"The Indian River flows through the property and there's a 70-acre pine plantation. There are some magnificent wetlands. There's this large cedar swamp," said Edward Robertson, the executive director of the Conservancy.
The area is now known as Baker Woods Preserve, after Doris Baker, the previous owner. Members and workers created hiking trails through the woods and a handicapped accessible trail that leads to an observation deck, overlooking the river. There's also a boat launch and another trail in progress through the swamp.
Now that this land is open to the public, Conservancy members are hoping that outdoor enthusiasts will come out to enjoy the view and everything else the land has to offer.
"It's a no-motorized vehicle property and no hunting or trapping, so during those seasons when some people are concerned about going out in the woods, this will be a safe haven to come and have a nice peaceful walk in the woods," said Robertson.
Members also say conserving this land allows them to test the water quality of the river and educate people more about nature.
Baker Woods Preserve is located off Factory Road in the town of Diana in Lewis County. It's open to visitors year-round, from dusk until dawn.