WALES, N.Y. (WIVB) – A 222 acre forest near East Aurora will remain that way, thanks to fundraising efforts by a local non-profit.

The Western New York Land Conservancy, along with Friends of Mossy Point, has been working for the past two years to raise $1.6 million to purchase Mossy Point with the intent of turning it into a nature preserve.

They achieved that goal right before their Dec. 31 deadline, Jajean Rose-Burney, deputy executive director for the WNYLC said.

“We had an incredible amount of donors- a lot of them at the last minute,” Rose-Burney said.

The NYS Department of Environmental Conservation awarded a $655,000 grant to the WNYLC in 2018 for the project. The majority of the rest of the money came from individual donors- more than any other project the organization has taken on so far, Rose-Burney said.

“Individual donors contributed almost $1 million to this project,” he added.

Mossy Point is located next to the Land Conservancy’s Kenneglenn Scenic & Nature Preserve. The two forested areas are separated by Hunter’s Creek.

With its rolling hills, hidden glades, and old-growth trees, Mossy Point is a compelling place, Rose-Burney said.

Its location on Hunter’s Creek also makes it important to the local watershed.

“Hunter’s Creek is beautiful, but it ends up in the Niagara River,” Rose-Burney said. “Everything we do in Mossy Point impacts county water quality, fishing, boating- if you lose Mossy Point to logging or development, you decrease water quality, wildlife habitats, and increase flooding.”

The purchase is expected to be finalized in spring. After that, the WNYLC will begin planning for new trails for walking, snowshoeing, and skiing in the nature preserve.

If you’re interested in getting involved with the WNYLC, click here.