Adirondack Land Trust to present Glenview Preserve plans

Adirondack Land Trust’s Glenview Preserve (File photo — John DiGiacomo)

SARANAC LAKE — A preliminary design for possible public access to the Glenview Preserve, a scenic mountain vista in the town of Harrietstown, is now ready for community review.

The Adirondack Land Trust — a Keene-based nonprofit that owns the 238-acre preserve along state Route 86 — has talked about developing Glenview to include public access since purchasing the property from its former owners, the Trevor family, in 2016. Now, the ALT is planning to present preliminary public access designs to the community in a feedback session at the Mt. Pisgah Lodge from 6-7 p.m. on Tuesday, March 28.

The new conceptual design plan proposes 3.4 miles of new trails, overlooks for birdwatching, painting and photography, as well as an official parking area with multiple parking spots, a shelter for portable toilets, and a pavilion. The preserve would first need to be assessed for its ability to support the development plans before construction could begin, according to ALT Director of Communications Connie Prickett. The preliminary design for development at Glenview is available at https://tinyurl.com/5bjhpsvh.

ALT first presented some concepts for development at the preserve — designed with Saratoga Associates, a Saratoga-based design firm — at a public feedback session this past October. Saratoga Associates Landscape Architect Alison Yovine showed some mock-up designs for development that featured minimal, natural design elements — she showed trails mowed through a grassy field, an educational kiosk with hiking information, a fence made of natural materials and a freestanding wood deck for yoga, painting or birdwatching. At the time, community members expressed a blend of skepticism, support and complete opposition to the idea of developing the preserve. Some liked the idea of having accessible trails at the preserve; others were concerned developing the vista could attract more visitors and parking problems; a couple of people thought the ALT should leave the preserve untouched.

The ALT currently manages the Glenview Preserve for pollinator and wildlife habitat, water quality protection and maple syrup production. The ALT wants to develop the area to provide a more accessible Adirondack experience than people often find in the forest preserve, potentially making the area wheelchair- and stroller-accessible, while still preserving land for wildlife.

Prickett said the new draft plan reflects community input that was gathered in October, including traffic safety concerns. The preserve has an unofficial pull-off on state Route 86 near the Harrietstown Cemetery, where drivers often pull over to photograph and take in the views that overlook Whiteface Mountain and the McKenzie Mountain range. After several preserve neighbors voiced concerns about car collisions and speeding there, the ALT is proposing to create the proposed official pull-off south of the current pull-off’s location on Route 86. Prickett said the new location was picked for its improved sight lines for drivers.

Next week, community members will have an opportunity to look at the new conceptual designs and talk with ALT staff one-on-one.

“This is an opportunity for people to help us make our plan even better,” Prickett said.

After next week’s feedback session, Prickett said the ALT doesn’t plan to host any more official public feedback sessions. The land trust is also fielding written feedback in a survey at https://tinyurl.com/5bjhpsvh.

Next steps

Once the ALT gets feedback about its new concepts next week, Prickett said the land trust will start refining its concept plan with the additional comments and taking trips out to the vista to make sure that the land could support the ALT’s ideas. The land trust would then make any necessary plan adjustments and start fundraising for the project. The ALT would also start applying for any necessary permits for construction through the Adirondack Park Agency and the state Department of Transportation, according to Prickett. The preserve is in an APA resource management zone, so the ALT has to meet certain management standards and apply for any construction permits through the APA.

Pricket said construction at the preserve could start as soon as summer 2024.

For more information about plans for the Glenview Preserve, contact Becca Halter, the ALT’s stewardship and GIS specialist, at becca.halter@adirondacklandtrust.org or at 518-576-2400 extension 105.


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