TOWNS OF WILTON AND GREENFIELD, NY (June 4, 2021)— The Open Space Institute (OSI) today celebrated a grant to establish the first publicly owned community forest in Saratoga County. The Saratoga County Community Forest, a joint project of OSI, Saratoga County, and Saratoga PLAN, will serve as a dynamic community hub for multi-use recreation and offer connections to a larger trail system envisioned for the Palmertown Range, a sector of the Adirondack Foothills that runs from Fort Ticonderoga in the north to Saratoga Springs in the south.
In the community forest model of land conservation, municipalities or community-based organizations own the forestland and local citizens participate in the planning and management of forests. Community forests are a powerful force for strengthening communities and ensuring long-term forest conservation.
Easily reached off busy Route 9 and with ample space for developing public parking, the proposed Saratoga Community Forest property’s gently sloping old logging roads will allow visitors of varying abilities, fitness levels, and experiences to easily utilize and enjoy local trails and quickly immerse in an Adirondack experience. Additionally, as the first publicly owned community forest in the area, the project is intended to serve as a model for future community forest development.
“Saratoga County is a rapidly growing region with significant development pressure and OSI is excited to partner with county officials and local conservation organizations to create the first publicly owned community forest in Saratoga County,” said Kim Elliman OSI’s president and CEO. “Community Forests provide multiple and significant benefits to the community and the protection of this property will not only prevent development of the land, but also safeguard the land’s natural resources and drinking water quality, protect the property’s carbon stores, and provide a site for community recreation.”
“This community forest project is an excellent example demonstrating the simultaneous conservation, recreation and economic development benefits resulting from the collaborative efforts of the Palmertown Partners,” said Maria Trabka, executive director of Saratoga PLAN. “Local municipalities, Saratoga County, state agencies, businesses, property owners, and nonprofit community organizations like the Open Space Institute and Skidmore College have been working together for many years to realize the vision for protecting and benefiting from the 40,000-acre Palmertown Range region. As the project grows and evolves, there will be many more opportunities for people of all abilities to get involved in building, managing, and enjoying community forests and trails in this special corner of the Adirondacks close to home.”