TUPPER LAKE - The Wild Center has acquired 50 acres of Raquette River front property, made possible by a group of supporters.
The new acquisition adjoins the museum's current 31-acre site and includes significant river-frontage on the Raquette River, a seasonal building and wetland habitat.
"This was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for The Wild Center," said The Wild Center board Chairman and co-founder Obie Clifford. "We had hoped for years to acquire this piece of property to add to our dreams for our campus. Although we didn't anticipate the property coming on the market so soon, we are tremendously grateful to the generous supporters who joined in pooling their resources to make this purchase possible."
"This property is part of our ongoing work to take more of our programs outside into the natural world," Museum Executive Director Stephanie Ratcliffe said. "It's going to allow our staff to fulfill our strategic plans by developing a whole new array of programs. We'll be able to do more on the river, more in the woods, including using a great maple stand that gives us a brand new type of forest on our property." Ratcliffe said that some of the best rated programs at the Center in a recent survey were the outdoor experiences, and the property will nearly triple the available outdoor space.
"Next summer, in addition to this new property, we are also adding Wild Walk, a major outdoor experience which has the shared goal of taking more programs outside. These two major expansions mark a pivotal moment in The Wild Center's evolution, and I believe for science and nature education in the Adirondacks. The building could expand our space to house our growing corps of interns and possibly visiting students and scholars. The entire space is going to enhance our capacity for learning, teaching, creating and collaborating."
"I am so grateful to the donors for making this purchase possible without using any of the center's current resources and to the Klueck family for agreeing to sell us the property," Betsy Lowe, museum co-founder and board member said.
The property was previously owned by Ella Klueck, who passed away in May 2014, and her husband Erhard A. Klueck who predeceased her.
"Ella was a good neighbor, friend and member of The Wild Center who had long hoped the property could become part of the center's campus," Lowe said. "I know her family is also pleased about The Wild Center owning the property now."
"We're very pleased that the property will be in the museum's capable care and will benefit the Tupper Lake community," Elisabeth Taylor, daughter of Ella and Erhard Klueck, said. "Our family is deeply thankful for the many years of friendship and connection to the wonderful people in this beautiful region. We're also grateful to the Museum's talented leaders for sharing their vision with all of us."
Ratcliffe said that The Wild Center will be listening to ideas and developing a complete plan for best use of the property over the next two years.
"This is a huge opportunity, and we want to make sure that we take the best possible advantage of all this property offers to help us keep building a center that does more and more to connect more people more deeply to the Adirondacks," Ratcliffe said.