GALWAY & PROVIDENCE -- A conservation easement will protect 168 acres in the towns of Galway and Providence from future development, the land conservation group Saratoga PLAN announced Tuesday.
The easements were donated by residents Dolores Arste and David Hickey, and cover 137 acres of natural woodland that will be publicly accessible once a trail system is completed, as well as 31 acres that will remain private, with woods, a residence, horse barns and pasture.
The land includes the Barkersville trails, once used for sled-dog training, and a tributary of the Glowegee Creek. The trails will follow the creek and surrounding slopes.
Arste and Hickey were recognized at PLAN's recent Conservation Hero celebration.
"The property doesn't want to be developed, it just needs to be beautiful ... and a place that people can enjoy no matter what's going on in the world," said Arste's daughter, Deanna Hadley, who recently returned to Galway after 30 years.
“I realized at that time the true beauty that my mother had seen so many years before. And when she spoke to me about what she wanted to do with her land it seemed that there was no other way,” Hadley said at the Conservation Hero event.
Trails for hiking and horseback riding are still being developed and will be open to the public once they are complete. Two miles of trail are being developed by PLAN trail maintenance volunteers as well as employees of Death Wish Coffee in Round Lake, and are expected to open early this year.
While the easement was donated, PLAN raised $25,000 for upholding development restrictions and trail maintenance. The Dockstader Charitable Trust of Galway granted $19,000 to cover survey, legal and title insurance costs, and the town of Galway was awarded Saratoga County grant money for developing the trails. The Galway Highway Department developed the parking area.
Saratoga PLAN is a non-profit land trust that works to preserve the rural character, natural habitats and scenic beauty of Saratoga County.