Nestled along New York Route 8 between
Utica to the north and Binghamton to the south lies the Upper Unadilla Valley, a scenic, rural basin with a rich
history and quiet way of life. For generations, these simple treasures have woven a deep attachment for the land
into long-time residents and lured newcomers, who often have stayed.
Twice during the past 30 years, the landscape was threatened by plans for large-scale construction projects that would have changed the face of the valley forever. Both times, concerned residents belonging to the Upper Unadilla Valley Association challenged and successfully averted the proposed projects, saving the valley from unwanted change.
During the years in between and since, the association has hosted annual garden and craft shows, membership banquets, occasional membership drives, special events, and tours featuring both historic and modern homes, historic barns, residential gardens, local artists' studios, area geology and local industry.
The Upper Unadilla Valley Association, which celebrated its 30th anniversary in 1999, remains committed to calling attention to the valley's treasures. This website is another step toward that end. It provides a close-up look at the Upper Unadilla Valley, viewing it from the past to the present in an effort to show why residents settled here in the first place, why they continue to stay, and why they fight so hard to preserve it.
How It All Began
In 1969, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers proposed a plan to build four large dams in the Unadilla Valley portion of the Susquehanna River basin for flood control and drinking water between Binghamton, N.Y., and Baltimore, Md., and recreational opportunities in the regions surrounding the reservoirs.
Concerned valley residents renounced the plan, worried over the possibility of losing their homes, farms, businesses and local history. They united to fight the plan by forming a group of concerned citizens from five local communities: West Winfield, Bridgewater, Unadilla Forks, Leonardsville and West Edmeston. The Upper Unadilla Valley Association was born. To learn more about this struggle and the later successful thwarting of plans to put a 115 kilovolt powerline through the valley during the 1990s, click on the "political action" link.
Today the Unadilla River is used for recreational opportunities year-round. The proposed dam would have created mud flats during summer "let-downs."
At the core of the Association are fifteen
directors, three from each of the five communities. Current directors are listed on the Communities page. The membership
is a very loose group of anyone interested. There are no dues. A book is circulated at the Annual Banquet for names
and addresses. E-mail us if interested. At the banquet awards are given yearly for local feats of Historic Preservation
and Conservation. Various types of tours have been held since 1970 with informative booklets. Calendars and books
have been published highlighting area history and architecture. Check the Events page for all of the organizations
current happenings and publications.