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4 June 2011

The Jay Property & Marshlands Conservancy: Conflict & Balance for Cultural & Natural Values at a National Historic Landmark Property

The Cultural Landscape Foundation & Jay Heritage Center
Bridging the Nature-Culture Divide: A National, One-Day Cultural Landscape Stewardship Symposium
Rye, NY

Heritage Landscapes completed the Marshlands Conservancy & Jay Property Cultural Landscape Report, History, Existing Conditions, Analysis & Treatment, (MJ CLR) in 2004. It addresses the Jay Property and adjacent Marshlands County Park acreage, which is a rare example of an evolved regional landscape. Today the Marshlands & Jay Property have several stewards: Westchester County Parks, New York State Parks and the Jay Heritage Center, addressing the historic core landscape and buildings of the 23 acre Jay Property; and Westchester County's Marshlands Conservancy, managing the adjacent 137+ acres for natural resource and habitat values.

With different missions, uses, advocates and management objectives, conflicts continue between these apparently competing agendas, and there are inherent tensions between the neighboring property stewards. These resources are valued for different reasons, ecology and habitat versus historic significance, however, as the cultural landscape report indicates, compatible management can embody both. Landscape treatment recommendations address preservation with combined restoration of specific character]defining features and conservation stewardship. From both cultural and natural landscape perspectives, the way forward engages multiple values, involves collaboration and must be holistic and sustainable.

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