Saratoga PLAN is building two miles of new recreation trail on Saratoga County-owned forest land here, property that adjoins PLAN’s 604-acre Hennig Preserve on Centerline Road.
The nonprofit land preservation group and the county expect to open the new trails in the spring, said Andy Fyfe, stewardship director at PLAN, which stands for Preserving Land and Nature.
When the current work is finished, there will be nine miles of linked trails in a 1,000-acre area built by PLAN volunteers, opening up public access to deep woods that lie less than a mile outside the southern boundary of the Adirondack Park.
The trail system includes nearly seven miles of trail that have been developed over the past two years on the Hennig property. Several new miles of trail on the south side of Centerline Road were completed earlier this year, Fyfe said, after trails on the north side of the road were built in 2011.
County officials said there was no cost to the county for allowing the volunteers to build the trails on county land. PLAN worked with the county Planning Department on where the trails should be situated on the 400-acre county property. The new trails are on the north side of Cadman Creek.
PLAN, which is based in Saratoga Springs, organized the volunteers who cleared paths and built the trails, which will be open for hiking, cross-country skiing, horseback-riding and snowmobiles.
The county trails will be interconnected with the Hennig Preserve trails, but PLAN does not permit horses or snowmobiles on the trails it owns.
The country trail will have an entrance off of Sherman-Glenwild Road, separate from the Hennig Preserve entrance.
County leaders have been making an effort in the past several years to develop new recreation trails on much of the roughly 3,000 acres of forest land owned by the county under a Depression-era federal forest conservation program. Most of the trail development until now has been in the Wilton-Northumberland area.
County officials have previously eyed the potential of the Providence land, but they had no immediate plans to move ahead if PLAN wasn’t willing to tackle the project.
“There was no way that the county would be able to undertake this project in the near future,” said county Planning Director Jason Kemper.
Stillwater Supervisor Ed Kinowski, chairman of the county Trails Committee, praised PLAN’s assistance to the county in developing the trails. “They do such a great job, and they’re a big player for our trails,” Kinowski said.
The Hennig Preserve, which opened to the public last year, is available from dusk until dawn year-round. The preserve property was donated by landowners Bob Hennig, Barbara Hennig and Penny Steffen in 2011.
Trail maps and directions for the Hennig Preserve are available at www.saratogaplan.org. Information on the county trails will be added in the spring.
In all, Saratoga PLAN has protected more than 3,433 acres of farmland, natural habitats and water resources in Saratoga County.