Deer Haven Park welcomes ecologist to formulate long-term plan for former Seneca Army Depot

Deer Haven Park, LLC is taking some serious steps to preserve the wildlife at the former Seneca Army Depot.

After winning bidder Earl Martin, a Seneca County resident, knew he had won the bid process — the wheels immediately began turning on how he could help preserve the globally recognized White Deer at the site.

The first step was creating a zone, and subsequent LLC aimed at preserving the deer. That meant working with local groups, like Seneca White Deer, Inc.

On Wednesday, Deer Haven Park announced that they would be welcoming Keith Tidball, Ph.D. to the team. Tidball will assist Martin with the development of a wildlife conservation plan for the former Seneca Army Depot property.

“We’re in the early stages of developing a master plan for the preservation and maintenance of the Depot’s plant and animal life,” said Martin, owner of Deer Haven Park LLC, and its parent company, Seneca Iron Works. “Dr. Tidball’s expertise is critically important as we seek to protect the white deer and other wildlife throughout the property.”

“I’m excited to partner with Earl, his team and the Seneca County IDA on this project,” Tidball said. “This is a rare opportunity to engage a unique social-ecological system, right here in my neighborhood, that, though once intensely managed, has been relatively untouched for two decades. Our planning and management efforts will work to support the white deer, but will also support other wildlife and plant life living and growing throughout the Depot, including pollinators and the plants they prefer, wetland species, and shrubland birds.”

Tidball is also a U.S. Army National Guard veteran and active member of the New York State Guard. In a separate role, he serves as chairman of the planning board for the Town of Fayette, Seneca County. He and his family operate Canoga Creek Farm, whose mission is to demonstrate a 21st century land ethic where sustainable farming and wildlife conservation go hand-in-hand.

Martin’s initial plans for the Depot include clearing overgrown brush and invasive species and assessing the perimeter fencing to identify where improvements need to be made. He has already invested in new machinery and equipment to support these initiatives. In addition to the ecologist, Martin has also recently contracted with a full-time maintenance manager to oversee mowing and other groundskeeping responsibilities.

IDA Executive Director Bob Aronson said the agency was pleased with Martin’s latest moves to support the Depot.

“These steps demonstrate Earl’s eagerness and serious approach to his future ownership and investment in the Depot property,” Aronson said. “He has already taken steps to improve the deer’s habitat, upgrade security, and now these initiatives to address the Depot’s future master plan and ongoing maintenance. We continue to work with Earl and his team, day in and day out, and look forward to closing on the sale of the property later this year.”

Read more about Deer Haven Park here.

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