MHLC Receives $35,000 from NYS Conservation Partnership Program
On April 25th, the Land Trust Alliance and the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation announced a tenth round of land trust grants through the NYS Conservation Partnership Program. We are delighted to say that MHLC has received a grant of $35,000.
The award was announced at a news conference at the Mohonk Preserve in Ulster County as part of DEC's week-long celebration of Earth Day. The grants which total $1.4 million are funded through the state's Environmental Protection Fund (EPF), and will be matched by $1.3 million in private and local funding. Fifty-seven land trusts across the state received funding for 75 projects.
The grant will support MHLC's new conservation initiative to conserve wildlife habitat, farmland, and scenic open space stretching from the Helderberg Escarpment to the hamlet of Rensselaerville. The goal of the new project is to create a corridor of protected lands linking wildlife habitat and diverse ecosystems, and providing permanent protection of historic landscapes, scenic vistas, and working lands. Initially the project will focus on lands at either end of the landscape and will eventually expand to develop a corridor of conserved farms, woodlands, and wetlands. This grant provides the Mohawk Hudson Land Conservancy with the funds necessary to complete the initial study to finalize the scope and feasibility of the project.
Update on the Helderberg Hudson Rail Trail
Plans are progressing on the Rail Trail. We are hopeful that the work on the bridges in Voorheesville will be done in time to celebrate the summer solstice.
The final draft of the Comprehensive Graphic Communication Plan has been completed. This detail report provides guidelines for trail elements and amenities, such as benches, and identifies potential educational and intepretive themes for the trail. These themes were developed as the result of the public outreach workshop held in March of 2012. With the plan in place, we can soon start on its implementation. We thank Scott Lewendon and Dan Melhman who generously contributed their time and professional expertise to creating this plan. Funding from the $10,000 Hudson River Valley Greenway Grant will be used to develop and install signs and amenities.
Mark your calendars for our second annual Fairly Tales and Fireflies to celebrate the summer solstice and the end of the school year on the rail trail. This year the event will be on Thursday June 20th. More information will be coming out soon!
117 acres of Farmland in West Glenville Protected
On Friday February 8, Robert Bintz, Jr., and his parents Robert and Sally Bintz, signed an easement protecting 117 acres of their land in West Glenville, NY. Bordering on West Glenville and Touareuna roads, the property will now remain forever undeveloped, contributing to the beauty of the West Glenville landscape. This is the third easement that MHLC has acquired in the area. In 2006, Dud Crauer and Cal Schmidt put conservation easements on their properities in the community.
The Bintz property consists of a mix of open fields and woodlands and includes a 7.6 acre pond. It extends from Wolf Hollow Road on the east to Touareuna Road, the Schenectady/Montgomery County line on the west. There is an old family cemetery, surrounded by a stone wall in one of the hay fields along Touareuna Road. The property was featured in the Town of Glenville's Open Space Plan due to its scenic value.
We are pleased that the Bintz's have donated this easement, and hope that other landowners in the area might consider protecting their land to preserve the rural character of the Town.
New Acquisitions Bring Total Protected Land to 2706 acres!
With three new recent acquisitions and a new easement, we have now protected over 2700 acres.
Town of Bethlehm: We received another property this year in Bethlehem along the Phillipin Kill. The property is located on Van Dyke Road near the intersection of Meads Lane. The majority of the land, 25 acres, lies on the west side of Van Dyke Road. An eight acre portion lies on the east side of the road along the Phillipin Kill.
Like many of the other preserves MHLC has in the Delmar area, the property on the west side of the road is mixed terrain. The flood plain is broad and flat in some places and narrower with steep slopes in other spots. There are several intermittent woodland pools that provide important habitat for amphibians. An existing path, which appears to be an old farm road, provides easy access to a large portion of the property on the west side of the road. There are also a few small trails. The woods are similar to our Phillipin Kill preserve with a mix of hard woods including numerous beech trees. In several spots there are some larger hemlock.
We plan to develop access and trail in 2014 after the Town of Bethlehem completes the road project proposed to improve the intersection of Van Dyke and Meads Lane.
The property was donated to MHLC by Van Dyke Spinney LLC. The donation of the parcel was discussed as plans were being developed for their new senior housing complex on Van Dyke Road. With the donation to MHLC, access will be available to both the residents of the new development as well as the public at large. MHLC is thankful for the donation of this land which helps protect more of the Phillipin Kill stream corridor.
Additions to Winn Preserve:MHLC has received two parcels of land totaling 28 acres in the Town of Knox to enhance our Winn Preserve. These two parcels fill the gap between between other parcels we own now giving us a 208 contiguous acres.
These parcels were received from Albany County and had been held by the county as tax foreclosures. We are very appreciative of the County Legislature and County Executive for their support of our land protection efforts and the donation of these parcels.
Restifo Preserve, Westerlo: The Restifo Preserve is a 51-acre parcel, most of which is a wetland and pond. It is a gorgeous place to sit and what the abundant bird live and to see turtles and frogs.
The property was donate to the Conservancy by Joseph Restifo. Now a resident of Delmar, Joe owned numerous parcels in the area and enjoyed the rural area for a number of years. He acquired this 51 acre parcel, sometime referred to as "the sanctuary," in 2005. When Joe moved into town and put the rest of his land up for sale, he offered this beautiful parcel the the Conservancy to be kept as a nature preserve.
The property is located on north side Maple Avenue Ext. in South Westerlo. Plans include the installation of a small kiosk and possibly a very short trail on the knoll. Given the significant area of open water and wetlands, opportunities for hiking is limited.
We are delighted to have received this beautiful sanctuary from Mr. Restifo, and appreciate his desire to see it stay as protected property.
Work Progressing on Land Protection in Wolf Hollow
This summer we kicked off an initiative to protect more land in the Wolf Hollow /Hoffman's Fault area. In 2006, we completed two easements protecting 140 acres, but funding for land protection has been a limitation. This year, with landowners interested in protecting their lands, we started a fundraising effort to help with costs such as surveys and endowments. We expect to complete another easement this year protecting an over 100 acres.
As some of you may know, Wolf Hollow Road has been closed to public vehicular use. But this scenic roadway which winds through the hollow, is a wonderful place to walk. In August we held an event in the hollow to inspire some of our donors with the region's unique geologic history and need for protection.
If you would like to help with our land protection efforts in Wolf Hollow, please send a check or a donation on-line and note that it is for Wolf Hollow. We have a good start on protecting some beautiful properties in the area and hope other landowners who appreciate the region's rich history and natural resources will consider protecting their lands as well.
287 Acre Keleher Preserve Now Open
From Left, Judy Thomson, MHLC Board President; Kathy Moser, DEC Assistant Commissioner for Natural Resources; Peter Bakal, MHLC Stewardship Chair; Peter Stoj, Preserve Steward; Tom Dolin, Town of New Scotland Supervisor; Ethan Winter, Land Trust Alliance.
The Keleher Preserve on top of Wolf Hill outside of Clarksville opened officially Saturday September 15, 2012. A ceremonial ribbon cutting was held for public officials on Thursday September 13. Representatives from DEC and the Land Trust Alliance attended along with neighbors and volunteers.
Thanks to the efforts of Preserve Steward Peter Stoj and Board Member Peter Bakal, the preserve offers over 3 miles of trails over mixed terrain. The initial part of the trail loop is quite steep but once you are up to the top of the hill, it is an easier walk with only a few ups and downs. A portion of the trail runs along the edge of the escarpment and offers glimpses of the landscape to the east. Further work is planned to remove a few selected trees to open up more of a view. The red trail, a short spur trail, provides a great view of the hills east of the Hudson River.
MHLC acquired the preserve from Katherine and John Barber of Seattle WA in 2010. With funding from the NY State Environmental Protection Fund (EPF) and the New York State Conservation Partnership Program, a collaboration between the Land Trust Alliance and the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, we were able to develop a parking area and install a kiosk. We are also very appreciative of the support we have received from the neighbors.
Directions: From Albany take Rt. 443 West (Delaware Avenue) through the hamlet of Clarksville. Just outside of Clarksville, turn left on Cass Hill Road. Stay on Cass Hill for about 2.7 miles. Turn right on Gulf Hill Road. The parking area is on the right after about 1.2 miles. Be sure to keep to the left at the fork in the road after the pond on the right.