Monday, May 20, 2024

Governments buying Islands

USA: NY Town Raises Funds for Roger’s Island Purchase

The sleepy hamlet of Fort Edward has successfully lobbied the government of New York State for funds to buy a historic island property.

(Image Courtesy of

As previously reported in Private Island News, the small town of Fort Edward, found north of Albany along the Hudson River in Upstate New York, had its heart set on preserving a large part of the 42-acre Roger’s Island, regarded as the birthplace of the US Army Rangers. The town was disappointed when the cash-strapped state government was forced to cancel their purchase of the property, and decided to step in and lobby for different grants from the government, and ask for funds from individuals and local conservationists.

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Roger’s Island is considered historically significant for a wide variety of reasons; it was the site of important military encampment during the French and Indian War, and was a prominent training ground during the both War of Independence and Civil War. It was here, in the mid-18th century, that the famed Major Robert Rogers established what would become the US Army Rangers, and wrote his famous guerilla-warfare guide, with principles still in use by Special Forces today, “Roger’s 28 Rules of Ranging”.

(Statue of Robert Rogers on the island)

Today, the island is littered with relics of its numerous bygone military garrisons, including cannon and musket balls, soldier’s cufflinks, and an unmarked gravesite, all of keen interest to archeologists. The property was purchased decades ago by Frank Nastasi, a construction company executive and history buff who bought it for its military provenance, and dreamed of turning it into a protected public park.  After his death in 2007, his son Anthony inherited the property, and carried on his father’s wishes for the island.

Fortunately for all parties involved in the conservation efforts, Anthony Nastasi has been strongly committed to striking a deal to turn their property into a state park, and waited patiently for the town to raise the necessary funds. Now, it looks like the determined town has achieved success – Fort Edward has been awarded a $400,000 grant from state governor Mario Cuomo, as part of awards earmarked for NY’s ten economic councils.

Adding this to the $100,000 already secured by Senator Elizabeth Little, a long-time champion of the cause, Fort Edward now has just enough to cover the $500,000 asking price that was discussed for the 34-acre property. According to local media reports, the town hopes to start down the path to purchase at some point during the winter, and couldn’t be more pleased at this turn of events. “It’s a good day for Fort Edward,” Mayor Matthew Traver was quoted as saying. “We couldn’t be happier, this was a long time coming.”

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