BUFFALO, N.Y. -- A new nature sanctuary for the public to explore is coming to the East Aurora area.

The public provided input Thursday on plans for the area, known as the Owens Falls Sanctuary.

The 57 acre property was purchased by the Western New York Land Conservancy last December, but is not yet open to the public.

The conservancy has been gathering input from the community about how to best utilize the land, which features waterfalls and forests. They have also hired a professional trail design firm, and proposed trails were presented at the meeting.

The sanctuary is important not only for wildlife, but also for water quality, said Nancy Smith, the Western New York Land Conservancy Executive Director.

It features a "headwater forest" and 2,000 feet of creek frontage, which help to cleanse water which then heads to Buffalo's Canalside area and the Niagara River.

"So it's important for the water that we drink, and anyone from our region is benefiting from having the forest cleanse and protect that water," Smith said.

The Land Conservancy hopes to open the sanctuary either later this fall or early next spring. However, they still need around $25,000 more to complete the first phase of the project.

For more information visit www.wnylc.org.