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OSI Protects Saratoga County Property Adjacent to Moreau Lake State Park

Moreau, NY(January 4, 2019)Building on more than three decades of protecting land in Saratoga County, the Open Space Institute (OSI) today announced the acquisition of land in the town of Moreau that will permanently protect a scenic, forested parcel for public enjoyment and recreation. Easily accessible, the property is located off of the Northway (Route 87). 

The newly protected property is adjacent to Moreau Lake State Park and it is expected that the land will be added to the park using Environmental Protection Funding (EPF). Once the transfer is complete, OSI will have helped State Parks triple the size of Moreau Lake State Park.

The 890-acre “Smith Farm” acquisition was purchased by OSI for $1.4 million from Finch Pruyn Timberlands. Located along the Hudson River, the property features more than two miles of river frontage. It is comprised of forest and wetland and is directly across the river from Hudson Pointe Preserve, which OSI also protected.

“Moreau Lake State Park is a breathtaking, natural landscape where individuals and families can enjoy nature’s bounty—dense forests, rocky ridges, and sparkling lakes. OSI has been vested in protecting this landscape for more than 20 years,” said Kim Elliman, president and CEO of OSI. “With the conservation of the Smith Farm property, OSI continues to cultivate a partnership with the community of Saratoga County that will serve the wildlife, residents, and visitors of the community for years to come.”

View of the Smith Farm Property
View of the Smith Farm Property
Photo Credit: Robert Stone

With the land protected, the Town of Moreau can move forward with their plan to develop the Hudson River Trail, a scenic pathway running along the Hudson River for runners, walkers and bike riders with the plan that the trail will connect Moreau Lake State Park to downtown Glens Falls.  

The conservation of Smith Farm is a priority of a newly developed master plan that was created by OSI and local partners. The Palmertown Range Master Plan offers a conservation and recreation road map for the sector of the Adirondack Foothills that runs from Fort Ticonderoga in the north to Saratoga Springs in the south and is also known as the “Palmertown Range.”   

The master plan identifies the parcels of land that are critical to protect in order to establish a 13-mile recreational corridor that will link two highly popular state parks – Moreau Lake and Saratoga Spa State Park.

The protection of the Palmertown Range offers one of the best opportunities to protect a continuous swath of land between the Green and Adirondack Mountains, providing wildlife with a corridor for habitat and movement.

OSI’s acquisition of the Smith Farm property represents the organization’s first step in achieving the Palmertown Master Plan conservation vision.

Prior to acquisition, OSI used climate data to map the terrestrial resilience of the land and identified the property as a highly resilient landscape, meaning that its protection will increase the county’s ability to withstand floods and other weather events associated with climate change. Conservation of Smith Farm is consistent with the recommendations made in Saratoga County’s Green Infrastructure Plan, the NYS Open Space Plan, and the land is the northernmost priority identified in the Palmertown Range Master Plan.

The protection of the Smith Farm property will also help to supplement high demand for equestrian resources in the region. In conjunction with an equestrian trailer parking area that is being planned by Saratoga County, the land will be able to serve as an extension of the popular equestrian trails currently found throughout Moreau Lake State and will provide additional access points into the park for equestrian users.

The protection of the Smith Farm property will also help to supplement high demand for equestrian resources in the region.
The protection of the Smith Farm property will also help to supplement high demand for equestrian resources in the region.
Photo Credit: Mike Lynch

“OSI’s protection of the Smith Farm property lays the groundwork to expand Morea Lake State Park and further connect families and visitors with the countless recreational opportunities offered at the park,” said Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation Commissioner Rose Harvey. “I am grateful for the conservation role OSI continues to play, here at Moreau and across the state.”

“Saratoga PLAN is ecstatic to partner with the Open Space Institute on the Palmertown Range Master Plan to map and identify key pieces of land, that if protected, are critical for maintaining the health of the surrounding community and wildlife,” said Maria Trabka from Saratoga PLAN. “Saratoga County is one of the fastest growing counties in New York State, so protecting contiguous, resilient landscapes in the region has become more challenging than ever and it is a cause for celebration when lands like these are protected.”

“This is fantastic news and the OSI is to be commended for all its efforts to protect this forested land while working to create publicly accessible trails.  This will enhance recreational opportunities for Moreau residents and surrounding communities for generations to come,” said Todd Kusnierz, Moreau Town Supervisor.

“The trails that will be established on this property will create a key connection to a larger system of trails for equestrian users, serving as an economic boon to the town and surrounding communities during the spring, summer, and fall. This project is a fantastic example of a public private partnership resulting in benefits to an underserved community of recreational user, the Town, and the public,” said Bill Lasher of the  Saratoga Backcountry Horsemen’s Association. 

The Smith Farm property is named for the Quaker colony which used to inhabit the property in the mid-1800’s and the property contains the historic foundation of a Quaker barn from the period, as well as a Quaker cemetery and the remnants of a fish hatchery.

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