"This is the first time in earth's history that the diversity of life in the oceans was such that they could build such a structure," she said. "It was designated for preservation because it's such an excellent example and we'd like to keep it preserved for children to study in school projects, and for university students and scientific researchers, to have this available as a resource for years to come."
Though it has taken several years to receive national landmark status, it's been worth the wait, said Mehrtens.
"I think it probably ranks up there in the list of most significant things I'll do in my professional career," she said. "As a group, I think we're all really happy to be able to preserve such an educational resource for our children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren. It's very gratifying."
The Chazy Fossil Reef is best accessible through the land trust's Goodsell Ridge Preserve in Isle La Motte. The preserve has walking paths, a visitors center and a museum that details the history of the reef and surrounding environment. The reef may also be seen on the New York side from Valcour Island, said Mehrtens.
More information about the reef and its best vantage points is available on the land trust's Web site, www.ilmpt.org.