SARATOGA COUNTY -- The Open Space Institute is acquiring nearly 4,400 acres in Providence and Edinburg to protect the city of Amsterdam's watershed, the private land conservation organization announced Wednesday.
The 4,388-acre "Hans Creek" property lies generally to the north and west of Amsterdam's reservoirs in the town of Providence, which have supplied the city with drinking water for more than a century. There had been fears the privately owned land would be developed.
Located on uplands of the Kayaderosseras Range that seasonally offer views of Great Sacadaga Lake to the west, the property is one of the largest contiguous single-landowner properties left in the southern Adirondacks, OSI said.
The land is being purchased from Voyager Advisors LLC, of Pittsfield, New Hampshire, for $2.55 million. OSI officials said they plan to resell the land to a private timber company, adding a new conservation easement and other conditions that ensure the property will never be developed and the watershed protected -- though the property will be opened to public recreation.
There's little public information available about Voyager Advisors, but it was described as a Manhattan investment group when it bought the land from a timber company for $2 million in 2008, raising concerns the land might be developed with seasonal homes.
The Open Space Institute foresees timber harvesting on the land, and some recreational development that could benefit the local economy.
"The Hans Creek property contains a well-established forest road network that will serve as the foundation of a propertywide trail system for both hiking and snowmobiling," OSI said in its prepared statement.
"This significant acquisition is an accomplishment for OSI and critically important for the city of Amsterdam, whose residents will benefit from the clean, filtered water from this land for generations," said OSI President and CEO Kim Elliman.
Amsterdam owns three reservoirs and 5,000 acres in Providence, which have supplied the city's water since 1890. The quality and volume of the water supply is a point of pride for the city.
"The city of Amsterdam applauds OSI's acquisition of the Hans Creek property and its willingness in working towards securing a conservation easement for protection of Amsterdam's water supply," said Randy Gardinier, the city water plant's chief operator.
Edinburg Town Supervisor Jean Raymond said she was pleased the acquisition would aid development of a snowmobile trail corridor, "serving as an economic boon to the town and surrounding communities during the winter."
Elliman said the acquisition is taking place with financial assistance from the Lila and DeWitt Wallace Foundation and the New York State Environmental Protection Fund.