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What you need to know for 01/20/2018

Colonie again considering logging land at reservoir

Colonie again considering logging land at reservoir

The town of Colonie plans to investigate the possibility of cutting timber at its Stony Creek Reserv

The town of Colonie plans to investigate the possibility of cutting timber at its Stony Creek Reservoir in Clifton Park.

The 424-acre reservoir is surrounded by woods, about 377 acres of which are suitable for logging, said Colonie spokeswoman Sara Wiest. The property totals 973 acres.

On May 3 the Town Board voted to authorize the general services manager to advertise for a request for proposals at Stony Creek. The proposal request has not been drafted, and Wiest said Wednesday she doesn’t yet know what the document would say.

“We’re in a very preliminary state regarding this matter,” she said.

The document, if it is drafted, may ask for an update on a 2002 timber management plan that was developed for the site. That 10-year-old plan estimated the town could gain between $88,000 and $108,000 by thinning the trees at the reservoir and selling the timber.

“The idea is you take out some timber, which then allows the forest to grow in a healthier way,” Wiest said.

Any plan to thin trees would probably include hiring a timber management consultant to decide how many to cut down, to mark them and make sure the loggers take the ones they’re supposed to, she said. “Everything has to be carefully monitored.”

Colonie created the reservoir in the early 1950s as a backup water supply for the Latham area during dry summer months, though it hasn’t been used much, if at all, in recent years. The property is entirely in Clifton Park.

Clifton Park officials haven’t been contacted by Colonie officials about potential logging.

“They’d have to issue plans and submit an application,” said Clifton Park Supervisor Phil Barrett, adding Colonie would need a special use permit from the Clifton Park Planning Board and a permit for timbering. Plans would need to show where the town wanted to cut down trees.

Barrett said he wouldn’t give an opinion now on logging the site, in order to ensure Colonie would get a fair hearing before Clifton Park’s land use boards.

In 2009, the Open Space Conservancy, partnering with Clifton Park, offered to buy the property from Colonie for $3.03 million to use as a public park. Colonie was looking for a buyer to help close a large town budget deficit, and wanted at least $8.7 million for the property, much more than Clifton Park was willing to pay.

There’s been no talk since then of selling the property by one town to the other.

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