Schenectady County

Troopers: Teens charged in May Chistman Sanctuary vandalism in Duanesburg

Two each face a felony criminal mischief charge, state police say
The Christman Sanctuary on the Schoharie Turnpike after vandalism in May.
The Christman Sanctuary on the Schoharie Turnpike after vandalism in May.

Categories: News, Schenectady County

DUANESBURG – Two 17-year-olds have been arrested in connection May vandalism at Christman Sanctuary in Duanesburg that temporarily closed the preserve, state police said Thursday.

State police did not name the two 17-year-olds, though indicated both face at least one felony in connection with the incident.

The Nature Conservancy, the non-profit organization that owns the wooded preserve with its hiking trails and centerpiece waterfall, said earlier that it was dismayed by the extent of damage but heartened by the community response.

Paul Gallery, stewardship coordinator for the Nature Conservancy’s Capital Region-Hudson Valley region, described the situation in June as “more intense than run-of-the-mill vandalism.”

Gallery said vandalism included a lockbox being broken open and the trail counter inside stolen; the lean-to in the gorge was spray-painted and had holes punched in its roof by rocks pitched off the cliff above.

“Information received from the community and a lengthy investigation” resulted in the two arrests, state police said in a release.

Both teens face one count each of third-degree criminal mischief, a felony, as well as misdemeanor petty larceny.

One of the two also faces one count of first-degree aggravated harassment, a felony. A state police release did not describe the allegations in the aggravated harassment charge.

The preserve off Schoharie Turnpike started in 1970 with the donation of 97 acres by Lansing and Lucille Christman. It survived an early proposal that would have routed Interstate 88 through the site. It has since been expanded to 120 acres, with about two miles of trails.

A highlight is the little gorge where the Bozenkill flows over a 30-foot waterfall that is serene or roaring, depending on the recent weather and the season. The Christman Sanctuary offers the gorge walls, tree canopy and water sounds reducing the sense of the world beyond.

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