A new nature preserve is being created with a conservation easement on 105 acres north of the village, Saratoga PLAN announced last week.
The Patricia S. Whitesell Conservation Easement covers a property off Route 147 owned by John R. Wolfe. The easement is named for his late wife, who died of cancer in 2006.
“They spent several years studying its ecology and enjoying its beauty, and had plans to donate a conservation easement to forever protect it as a wildlife and nature preserve,” officials with the land trust organization said in a statement.
“Sandy loved wildlife — she wanted a place where wildlife could thrive, now and in the future,” said Wolfe, using her nickname. “Conserving this property pays tribute to the vision of the land being a refuge for nature.”
The property, located north of the Glowegee Creek, is part of a larger forest complex, bordered to the east and south by the 400-acre Camp Woodhaven, a day camp used by the Girl Scouts of Northeastern New York. It was at one time used for agriculture.
PLAN officials said the mostly wooded land boasts mature hemlock groves, a beaver pond, an old cellar hole, and two tributaries to Glowegee Creek.
“We are proud to have helped create a lasting legacy that honors the memory of Patricia Whitesell. The protection of the property will ensure that her love of nature lives on, while also providing the Galway community with conserved forests, wetlands, stream habitats, and trail resources for future generations,” said Maria Trabka, Saratoga PLAN executive director.
Wolfe will continue to own, manage and pay taxes on the land, while Saratoga PLAN will be responsible for ensuring that the conservation agreement is upheld over time. The agreement permits limited construction on an existing one-acre homestead site, and a public access trail along an old abandoned road for educational or recreational purposes consistent with wildlife habitat.
Funding for transaction costs was provided by a grant from the Dockstader Charitable Trust, a community benefit trust established through the will of the late Clayton R. Dockstader.
As a nonprofit land trust, Saratoga PLAN owns or had conservation easements on more than 3,500 acres of farmland, forest, natural habitat, trail corridors, historic places, and water resources in Saratoga County.