ALT considers public access for Route 86 vista
SARANAC LAKE — An iconic vista on state Route 86 that’s known for its photographability could soon be developed to include public access.
There’s a gravel pull-off on state Route 86 in Harrietstown — near Donnelly’s Ice Cream, where Route 86 intersects with Route 186 — that often has at least one car parked there. Tourists and locals alike can be seen there on any given day taking scenic photographs and taking in the views that overlook Whiteface Mountain and the McKenzie Mountain range.
The 238-acre swath of land that surrounds the pull-off is called the Glenview Preserve, and it’s maintained by the Adirondack Land Trust. The land is currently managed by the ALT for pollinator and wildlife habitat, water quality protection and maple syrup production. But on Monday, the ALT announced that it’s exploring expanding the property’s management plan to include public access.
“We think that there are opportunities for recreation here that are very different than what’s available in the region — definitely different from the forest preserve,” ALT Director of Communications Connie Prickett said on Monday. “So we think that there’s potential, which is why we’re taking these steps.”
The ALT is holding a feedback session next week to hear what the community thinks about expanding land use management at the Glenview Preserve to include public access. The public forum will be held from 6 to 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 26 at the Mt. Pisgah Lodge.
Prickett said the ALT is taking a “multi-phase approach” to considering public access at the preserve. The property assessment and public input pieces are the first steps, she said, “and then we’ll see where the other phases go.”
So far, Prickett said the ALT doesn’t have any specific ideas for how the property could be developed for public access. However, she said the trust does want to ensure that there’s safe access to the property — as opposed to the unofficial pull-off that’s currently there — if the community expresses interest in having public access to the land.
The ALT is working alongside Saratoga Associates, a Saratoga Springs-based design firm, to consider a public use future for the preserve. Prickett said that the land trust chose SA’s proposal for the work because their portfolio boasted similar planning work and the company is familiar with the Adirondacks.
The ALT purchased the Glenview Preserve, formerly known as Glenview Farm, from the Trevor family in 2016 for $98,000. Even then, according to a 2016 press release from the ALT, the trust was considering including a public access element in its management of the property. Prickett was the ALT’s director of communications at the time, and she said the trust had a few priorities for the land ahead of the public access consideration.
“We wanted to get to know the neighbors,” she said, “and (now) we know a lot of the neighbors, and so now we’re managing it for pollinator habitats, wildlife habitats, forest and water protection. That was the priority, was to get that kind of management in a good place. Now we’re in that good place where we’re looking for more input on our management plan.”