Photo Credit: Robert Stone courtesy of the Open Space Institute

“The Greentree Lake Preserve is situated at the heart of the Southern Palmertown Range, a range which forms the southeasternmost corner of the Adirondack Foothills,” explains Maria Trabka, Saratoga PLAN’s executive director. “PLAN and all its partners, and eventually the trail users, are so grateful to the trustees of the Alfred Z. Solomon Charitable Trust for kick-starting this trail project.”

The Greentree Lake Preserve encompasses 365 acres that will connect into Lincoln Mountain State Forest and with other properties that are in the process of being conserved. The Open Space Institute (OSI) purchased the Green Tree Lake Preserve for permanent protection in 2016. The Preserve is owned by the Open Space Institute, a nonprofit conservation organization, and is managed through a recently signed stewardship agreement by Saratoga PLAN, also a nonprofit conservation organization.

“The Open Space Institute’s Green Tree Lake property is one of five significant properties, together totaling more than 3,300 acres, that OSI has protected in support of creating a recreational trail network connecting Moreau Lake and Saratoga Spa state parks,” said Kim Elliman, president and CEO of the Open Space Institute. “With access to trails and open space at a premium, OSI is excited to see the first part of the trail creation process begin and we look forward to better welcoming and directing visitors to the property.”

Funding allocation for Greentree Lake Preserve

The grant funding will make it possible for the two organizations to create a parking area for visitors, an orientation kiosk at the trailhead, and two stream crossings – necessary improvements to ready the Greentree Lake Preserve for public access, outdoor recreation, and nature study.

The Greentree Lake Preserve provides a critical link in the Sarah B. Foulke Friendship Trails system, for which a master planning process is currently underway. Following the master plan, slated for completion this year, more detailed trail designs for sites like the Greentree Lake Preserve will be undertaken by contracted professional trail designers. Volunteers have already scouted and proposed trail loops for the preserve.

A goal of the Sarah B. Foulke Friendship Trails is to create welcoming experiences that accommodate a variety of experiences and interests. Through an online survey and series of interviews conducted in December, more than 1,000 local residents provided input into what they desire for a trail system in the Palmertown Range and that information is being used to feed the master plan. “In addition to the site’s natural beauty and diversity, the terrain lends itself to a variety of trail pursuits that are accessible to a range of outdoor enthusiasts,” says Trabka.

View of Greentree Lake Preserve

Photo Credit: Robert Stone courtesy of the Open Space Institute

Greentree Lake Preserve: A piece of the puzzle

The Greentree Lake Preserve is a piece of the Palmertown Range – a larger conservation initiative in the Saratoga County. Because of the region’s cultural and ecological importance, seven municipalities, two state agencies, Skidmore College, two conservation organizations, several trail and community groups, and dozens of volunteers have banded together to collaboratively protect and promote the 63 square mile region’s woodlands, waters, wetlands, and scenic beauty, while expanding its potential for public health and compatible outdoor recreation through an extensive and inclusive trail system for trail users of varying abilities and interests.

“It is exciting to witness what we had imagined starting to become real,” says Laura Kipper, the Project Coordinator for the partners and volunteers collaborating in the Palmertown Range. “Establishing trails at the Greentree Lake Preserve is a multi-phased endeavor. If adequate funding can be identified for construction, trails on Greentree Lake are expected to open to the public in 2022.”

In addition to grants from Alfred Z. Solomon Charitable Trust and the Sarah B. Foulke Charitable Fund, funding will be sought to construct the trails. Plans are being made to engage volunteers through supervised hands-on trail construction training, with grant funding from the New York State Conservation Partnership Program, also awarded to PLAN. Volunteers are instrumental throughout Saratoga County for stewarding and maintaining trails that are open to everyone on private and public lands. With the pandemic, visitation to trails has skyrocketed as people sought ways to safely meet up, get out of the house, exercise, and enjoy nature’s rejuvenating and stress-relieving gifts.

In honor of Alfred Z. Solomon and the funds making these improvements possible, the orientation kiosk and the two bridges will be named the “Alfred Z. Solomon Trailhead”, the “Alfred Z. Solomon Snook Kill Bridge” and the “Alfred Z. Solomon Crossing.”