MOREAU — A land conservation group has bought 890 acres along the upper Hudson River that will eventually be added to Moreau Lake State Park.
The non-profit Open Space Institute said Friday it bought the “Smith Farm” property from Finch Pruyn Timberlands for $1.4 million. It expects to hold the land until the state buys it at some point in the future, with help from the Environmental Protection Fund.
The OSI and state have worked closely for years on a number of projects, and on Friday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo nominated Eric Kulleseid, OSI’s senior vice president, to become the next commissioner of the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.
The Smith Farm property, which includes 2 miles of Hudson River frontage, adjoins the northern end of the state park, which has been expanding its footprint along the Hudson.
“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,” said Kim Elliman, president and CEO of the Open Space Institute.
The property, which includes dense forest and wetlands, is directly across the river from the Hudson Pointe Preserve, a nature park in Queensbury. It is named for a Quaker community that inhabited the land in the mid-1800s and contains the foundation of a historic Quaker barn from that period, as well as a Quaker cemetery and remnants of a fish hatchery.
“OSI’s protection of the Smith Farm property lays the groundwork to expand Moreau Lake State Park and further connect families and visitors with the countless recreational opportunities offered in the park,” said outgoing state Parks Commissioner Rose Harvey in a prepared statement.
The acquisition will also allow the town of Moreau to move forward with plans for the Hudson River Trail, a proposed walking, running and cycling trail between the state park and downtown Glens Falls. The trail is also expected to be open for horseback riding.
“This will enhance recreational opportunities for Moreau residents and surrounding communities for generations to come,” said Moreau Town Supervisor Todd Kusnierz.
The property could also tie into plans for a Palmertown Range Trail that would provide off-road trails between Glens Falls and Saratoga Springs. A master plan for that trail was released in November.
“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,” said Maria Trabka, executive director of Saratoga PLAN, which developed the Palmertown Range plan.
A study done prior to the acquisition of the Smith Farm property declared it a highly resilient landscape, meaning its protection will improve the area’s ability to withstand flooding and other weather events, OSI officials said.