- Associated Press - Wednesday, January 18, 2017

DOVER, N.Y. (AP) - The first piece of a new National Wildlife Refuge spanning six states has been established on 144 acres donated by The Nature Conservancy in New York’s Hudson Valley, 70 miles north of New York City.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says the Great Thicket National Wildlife Refuge will be located on non-contiguous land in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, and Rhode Island. The first section, in the Dutchess County town of Dover, was announced Wednesday.

The federal agency plans to work with willing landowners to acquire up to 23.4 square miles of shrubland and young forest that provide habitat for New England cottontails, monarch butterflies, American woodcock and other species of concern.

The Nellie Hill Preserve in Dover has been managed by The Nature Conservancy for 25 years.

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