Categories: Schenectady County
A Saratoga Springs businessman has donated 159 acres on Saratoga Lake to a land trust, protecting some of the last undeveloped shoreline on the lake.
“We are thrilled,” said Alane Ball Chinian, executive director of Saratoga PLAN (Preserving Land and Nature).
“It’s something we really wanted to protect,” Chinian said Friday.
John Witt of Witt Construction in Saratoga Springs deeded the wooded wetland property in Manning Cove near the mouth of the Kayaderosseras Creek to Saratoga PLAN.
Witt, who is known for building high-end, luxury homes, has developed house sites on Manning Cove Road in the town of Malta, not far from the land he has preserved.
“It’s really great habitat,” Chinian said. She said the land is not far from the Saratoga Lake Sailing Club.
The property includes a complex system of wetland and forest, she said. It provides habitat for migratory birds, waterfowl and other wildlife.
Witt said the property has 2,000 feet of lake front on the rapidly dwindling undeveloped shoreline of Saratoga Lake.
“It is a really nice wetland lot, a marshy boggy natural wildlife area with deer and ducks congregating, fishers and other wildlife too,” Witt said in a statement.
“I saw two eagles the same day, within minutes of each other,” Witt said about the property he has donated to Saratoga PLAN.
Saratoga PLAN is a nonprofit land trust that offers land conservation services to government, organizations and individuals. The land trust has protected 2,970 acres of farmland, natural habitats and water resources in Saratoga County.
“This project is a model for the kind of partnership we want to cultivate with builders in the community to help protect Saratoga County’s special places and open space,” Chinian said.
Chinian said Witt had contacted Saratoga PLAN some time ago about donating the land but nothing happened. Then, on Dec. 31, Witt announced he wanted to make the donation, she said.
The land transaction was made possible, in part, by a grant through the New York Conservation Partnership Program and the Land Trust Alliance.
Chinian said her organization received the $6,500 grant to help cover the project management and real estate transaction costs.
Chinian said the land has been used by hunters, anglers and snowmobilers in the past.
Saratoga PLAN will investigate the property carefully in the months to come and develop a management plan that could include trails for public use.
“We are not sure about the management yet,” Chinian said.
She said, for example, that the property may be suitable for a nature trail in summer and a cross-country ski trail in the winter months.
The land is located in the town of Malta and is in the Kayaderosseras Creek Greenway Corridor, which is a priority for Saratoga County’s Green Infrastructure Plan.
“We’re working hard to preserve high priority open space in Malta, and we are delighted to see this conservation area permanently preserved,” said Malta town Supervisor Paul Sausville in a statement released by Saratoga PLAN.
Chinian said her organization is grateful to Witt for his donation. Witt Construction Inc. is a home design/build firm with offices at 563 N. Broadway in Saratoga Springs.