New York City's water supply system is one of the largest surface storage and supply systems in the world, supplying high-quality drinking water to nearly nine million consumers representing nearly half of New York State's total population. More than 75% of the nearly 2,000 square mile total watershed is forested, with the majority of these lands privately owned.
The watershed forests exemplify the urban-rural interface; not only are they considered a preferred open space land use for water quality protection, but they also represent a working landscape that supports a viable local economy. The Model Forests stand as a valuable resource for communities wishing to enhance their outdoor opportunities for increasing local awareness about the importance of sustaining healthy private forests. For this reason, New York City supports a voluntary, locally based Model Forest Program under the auspices of the Watershed Agricultural Council.
This Website allows visitors to explore how the integration of continuing education, public outreach, and scientific research are at play in the New York City Watershed Model Forest Program and come to understand how these forests present an ideal opportunity for developing, monitoring, and demonstrating the importance of sustaining healthy private forests in the context of a large-scale working landscape over broad temporal terms.
The Model Forest Program began development in the fall of 1997 as the primary education, research, and demonstration component of the Watershed Forestry Program. The Model Forest Program has made great strides in its short history. The program consists of three model forest sites with locations in Ulster County, Delaware County and Greene County.
Click below to learn more about a specific model forest
Lennox Memorial Forest
(80 acres) The Lennox Model Forest is owned and managed by Cornell Cooperative Extension of Delaware County and is located in the Cannonsville Reservoir watershed.
Frost Valley Model Forest
(290 acres) The Frost Valley Model Forest is owned and managed by the Frost Valley YMCA and is located in the Neversink Reservoir watershed.
Siuslaw Model Forest
(142 acres) The Siuslaw Model Forest is owned and managed by Cornell Cooperative Extension of Greene County and is located near the Schoharie Reservoir.