Land in Oneonta, NY To Be Protected Forever As a Wildlife Sanctuary

The Humane Society of the United States
Monday, 7 June 2004

Irwin Gooen has donated a conservation easement on 87 acres in Oneonta to The Humane Society of the United States' Wildlife Land Trust for permanent protection as a wildlife sanctuary. Gooen has named the now-protected property "The Shoggi-Boghi Wildlife Sanctuary," a name that dates back to his childhood. Gooen purchased the land in the early 1970s.

"The vicissitudes of life have led me to becoming the steward of this land, and I want to continue the stewardship after I'm gone," said Gooen. "I needed to make this preservation permanent before I leave this vale of tears and laughter." His philosophy of nature is similar to that of American Indians, asserting, "I am only the temporary occupant of this land, even though technically I own it. Nature cannot be owned, it can only be shared and respected amongst us mortals living here at the moment."

Some of the animals making their homes on the Shoggi-Boghi Wildlife Sanctuary include deer, turkey, barred owls, red-tailed hawks and king and garter snakes. Gooen has also heard coyotes. Of the coyotes, he says, "They are tricksters. They seem to act as ventriloquists at times, and I'm not sure where the sound is coming from."

Gooen was born and raised in Manhattan, and had careers in photography and as an Outward Bound instructor.

A conservation easement is a permanent and legally enforceable agreement between a landowner and a land trust. The landowner agrees to establish the property as a permanent wildlife sanctuary - an agreement that is binding on all future owners of the property - and the land trust enforces the terms of the agreement. For The Wildlife Land Trust, these terms include a ban on recreational or commercial hunting or trapping, and commercial logging.

"Our accepting this easement means that it will remain a permanent wildlife sanctuary, safe from shopping malls and housing developments and the many other destructive influences that threaten increasingly rare wildlife habitat every day," said Robert Koons, executive director for The Wildlife Land Trust. "Every property that we protect is directed at one goal: ensuring that wherever they live, wild animals have permanently protected homes."

For more information, or to contact The Humane Society of the United States, see their website at:

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