Local conservancy buys Wilmington land for public trails

Board members and staff of the Lake Placid Land Conservancy and Barkeater Trails Alliance — from left, Matt McNamara, Georgia Jones, John Rosenthal, Jeffrey Graff, Scott Avery, Liz Clarke and Gregory Fetters — gather to celebrate closing a 100-acre land purchase that will be part of a new “community forest preserve” in Wilmington. (Photo provided by the Lake Placid Land Conservancy)

WILMINGTON — The Lake Placid Land Conservancy used a grant and donations Wednesday to buy 100 acres in this town and establish a “community forest preserve” with 2 miles of public trails.

The Open Space Institute recently awarded the LPLC a $50,000 grant to help buy the land between Hardy Road and Quaker Mountain Lane. This will be combined with adjacent land that was donated by Wilmington resident Scott Avery to create the preserve. An anonymous donor also gave $25,000 toward the effort.

LPLC plans to partner with the Barkeater Trails Alliance (BETA) to establish about 2 miles of scenic recreational trails here, connecting with the hamlet of Wilmington, existing public lands and trails on the Beaver Brook tract of the Wilmington Wild Forest on Hardy Road. The Wilmington Community Preserve will add connector trails to an established trail network in and around Wilmington.

BETA, a nonprofit organization dedicated to developing, maintaining and advocating for ski touring and mountain biking in the Adirondacks, will design, develop and maintain a 2-mile trail corridor that will allow mountain bikers, hikers and cross-country skiers to enjoy the preserve year-round. Initial trails are expected to be completed by Labor Day of 2017 as part of the Wilmington Trail Days celebration.

In addition to opening lands for public access, the preserve protects portions of the southern habitat of the Black Brook forest, which is classified as rare, sandy pine forest by the New York Natural Heritage Program.

“The Wilmington Community Preserve is an important ambassador project for our organization,” LPLC Outreach Coordinator Kerry Crowningshield said in a press release. “It provides a great example of how landowners, organizations and communities can partner to conserve land and enhance recreational opportunities for the benefit of their communities.”

Located in Lake Placid, the LPLC is a nonprofit land trust for the AuSable and Saranac River basins. OSI protects scenic, natural and historic landscapes throughout North America.


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