Going Green: Managed wildlife sanctuary
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The 2,000 acre Lucky Star Ranch in Jefferson County may look like your typical northern New York landscape, but it's actually quite unique with 400 million year old rocks known as Alvar, forestland, wetlands, and a small lake. Today it's being turned into a managed wildlife sanctuary. However, it didn't start out that way.
"The lakes were stocked by my grandfather actually, who was a commercial fisherman in the 40's for the original landowner. His name was J.C. George. He was a heavy equipment operator and seller of that stuff and he would bring his clients up here and wine and dine them and they would shoot pheasants. Then he'd package them up, take orders for equipment and send them off down the road,” said Jody Garrett, Lucky Star Ranch co-owner.
Landowners Jody and Doreen Garrett purchased the land a few years back, recognizing it's potential.
"This is two thousand acres of pristine northern New York and we have a hundred acre lake and we do have white tailed deer on the property, about three or four hundred,” said Doreen Garrett, Lucky Star Ranch co-owner.
The biggest project has been managing the deer. So far, so good.
"We knew that the doe population was too high. When we got here, there were no bucks to be seen. They had all been shot off so all the big bucks were gone. So we put a moratorium on shooting bucks for five years. We did that to harvest them and get that balance,” said Jody. "With the fishing, we decided we were going to take as many Northern Pike out of the pond as we possibly could and we have seen that by doing that, our Black Croppy are coming back, our Perch are coming back, some of the Pumpkin Seeds are coming back, which feed all of the other fish. So we're seeing better fish by doing this. If people have a piece of ground they want to try and preserve for wildlife, one of the first things you can do is some natural plantings to help improve the habitat for the species that you have there. That will improve everything."
Going Green is produced in cooperation with the College of Environmental Science and Forestry. Learn more about SUNY ESF by visiting their website, esf.edu.