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The Open Space Institute Protects Watershed for the City of Amsterdam

Photo Credit: Robert Stone

Saratoga County acquisition protects land for clean drinking water and enables the creation of new snowmobile and hiking trails

 Saratoga County, NY (June 27, 2018)—The Open Space Institute (OSI) today announced the acquisition of land in the Saratoga County towns of Edinburg and Providence that will permanently protect the watershed for the city of Amsterdam. Conservation of the “Hans Creek” property, named for a creek that flows through the northeast portion of the property and into the Sacandaga Reservoir, permanently protects the land within the watershed of the Steele and Ireland Vly reservoirs, including direct frontage along the Steele reservoir.

The Hans Creek property contains a well-established forest road network which will serve as the foundation of a property-wide trail system for both hiking and snowmobiling.

 Purchased by OSI for $2.55 million, the 4,388-acre Hans Creek property is one of the largest contiguous, single ownership tracts of forested land left in the Southern Adirondacks. Located in the Southern Adirondack Foothills, the property offers expansive seasonal vistas of the Great Sacandaga Lake—one of the largest lakes in the Adirondack Park.

 “The Open Space Institute is delighted to have protected this large, connected, and scenic landscape in the Southern Adirondacks. This significant acquisition is an accomplishment for OSI and critically important for the City of Amsterdam, whose residents will benefit from the clean, filtered water from this land for generations,” said Kim Elliman, president and CEO of OSI. “The newly protected land will also provide new recreational opportunities and spur greater visitation to the area.” 

“Clean drinking water is critical to maintaining healthy communities. The City of Amsterdam applauds OSI’s acquisition of the Hans Creek property and its willingness in working towards securing a conservation easement for protection of Amsterdam’s water supply,” said Randy Gardinier, Chief Operator for the City of Amsterdam. “The City of Amsterdam is grateful that in prioritizing land conservation, OSI is also addressing the needs of local communities. By ensuring the city’s watershed is protected, we are taking important steps to increase security of a clean supply of drinking water now and in the future.” 

A photograph of Hans Creek which runs through the newly protected property.
A photograph of Hans Creek which runs through the newly protected property.
Photo Credit: Robert Stone

A broad forested plateau which overlooks the southern shore of Great Sacandaga Lake, the property’s size and location also make it an ideal outdoor recreational spot for public trails and a snowmobile corridor.

“The protection of this intact, working forest will be a great asset to Saratoga County and the public. This acquisition will not only advance our plans to create publicly accessible trails that benefit local communities and increase tourism, but it also has the potential to continue the tradition of responsible, private forest management,” said Jason Kemper, director of the Saratoga County Planning Department.

“I'm thrilled that OSI is working to keep this forest a private, working landscape while facilitating the development of an important snowmobile trail,” said Jean Raymond, Supervisor for the Town of Edinburg. “The snowmobile trail established on this property will create a key connection to a larger snowmobile corridor, serving as an economic boon to the town and surrounding communities during the winter. This project is a fantastic example of a public private partnership resulting in benefits to the Town, the public, and the local and regional forest products industry.”

The entire terrain consists of a mix of well-drained ridges and valleys containing a mosaic of beaver ponds, seasonal creeks, and open marshes that serve as a sanctuary for local wildlife.

“The Open Space Institute is grateful to have partnered with New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, the City of Amsterdam, Saratoga County, the Saratoga County Planning Department, and the Towns of Edinburg and Providence to create a land use plan that ensures this acquisition is a benefit to the community,” said Elliman.

Looking ahead, OSI expects to transfer the property to a conservation-minded timber buyer, allowing the property to remain in private ownership as a working forest. The property will be transferred with a responsible, long-term forest management plan in place and a conservation easement that will prohibit development on the property while allowing public recreational access.

 This property was protected with support from the Lila and DeWitt Wallace Endowment and New York State is expected to use the Environmental Protection Fund to obtain a conservation easement on the land.

OSI has committed more than $23.5 million in the Adirondacks area over a span of 25 years, protecting more than 31,000 acres of land including the historic Tahawus property, the village of Adirondac, and Split Rock Wildway wildlife corridor, and the addition of the Finch Pruyn Lands and Mount Treambleau to the Adirondack Forest Preserve.

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