Bender Melon Farm Update: March 28, 2022

March 28, 2022

Since joining the team in January 2022, Erick McCandless, the new Project Manager of Bender Melon Farm Preserve, has been developing and implementing various initiatives to ensure the projects at the preserve meet guidelines, timeframes, and budgets for work completion. There are many projects in motion at the preserve—stay tuned to our website for the latest updates!


Here’s a look at what has been happening:


Site Cleanup and Rejuvenation 

A top priority of creating a cleaner, safe property involves the demolition and removal of collapsed buildings and resurfacing the farm road to access this worksite. We are working with the Town of New Scotland to ensure that the proposed work meets Town requirements and hope to begin the project later this spring or summer.  


Bridge Rehabilitation

MHLC staff met with bridge engineers in late February to discuss the practicality and costs of rehabilitating the old bridge on the property that passes over the Rail Trail. The engineers were enthusiastic about the potential to repair the bridge successfully. Having a usable bridge will create a fun, exciting connection to the north and south portions of the preserve for hiking and bicycle use.


Grant Applications

Our staff has been working together to apply for funding to support bird restoration initiatives and trail building on the property. We submitted grant applications to Resources Conservation Service(NRCS), Cornell University’s Land Trust Small Grant, and Bender Family Foundation.


Trail Planning

David’s Trail is just the beginning of the trail system at Bender Melon Farm Preserve! MHLC has engaged Tahawus Trails, LLC to evaluate the site. We’re exploring the possibilities of multi-use and mountain bike trails at the preserve, particularly on the northern side of the Rail Trail. Stay tuned for updates on this exciting development!


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NRCS and Albany County walk the Bender Melon Farm property

Old structure on Bender Melon Farm, photo by Tom Bessette.