Edinburg and Providence -- More than 4,300 acres in the Adirondack foothill towns of Edinburg and Providence have been permanently protected from development while allowing logging, the Open Space Institute announced last week.
The lands, known as the "Hans Creek property" and much of the watershed for Amsterdam's municipal water supply, were purchased by the land conservation organization in 2018, and have now being sold to an Adirondack timber family with easements preventing non-logging development and allowing for public recreation.
Under a multi-part agreement, the OSI purchased conservation and recreation easements on nearly 5,000 acres in Clinton County owned by the Ketteler-Boeselager family, and the families then used the proceeds from selling those easements to buy the 4,338-acre Hans Creek property from the OSI. In all, 9,300 acres in the Adirondacks were conserved.
"The Open Space Institute is delighted to partner with the Ketteler-Boeselager family in keeping these large, working forested properties intact, while also opening up new recreational opportunities that could lead to an economic boom for the local towns," said Kim Elliman, president and CEO of the Open Space Institute.
The land, which lies mostly in Edinburg to the south of Fox Hill Road, has historically been used for logging, and is believed to include a native moose population.
"Our forest management plan focuses on the long-term health of the land, balancing public recreational access with ecological and, last but not least, economic gains," said Franziskus von Ketteler, CEO of the Ketteler-Boeselager Group, in an announcement.
In Saratoga County, local officials are especially interested in expanding snowmobile trails through the remote property, which is allowed under the easement.
"A snowmobile trail established on this property would create a key connection to a larger snowmobile corridor, serving as an economic boon to the town and surrounding communities during the winter," said Edinburg Town Supervisor Jean Raymond. "This project is a fantastic example of a public private partnership resulting in benefits to the town and the local and regional forest products industry."
The Hans Creek property, which adjoins state Forest Preserve lands, includes forests, streams, ponds and wetlands. It includes the headwaters of Steele and Batcheller creeks, and land bordering Amsterdam's Steele reservoir. There are old logging roads on the property that could be used for hiking or snowmobiling, officials have said previously.
The state Department of Environmental Conservation is expected to purchase the conservation easements on the land from the OSI in the future, since the lands are identified in the state's Open Space Plan as a high priority.
"OSI's purchase of these forested lands ensures that they will be protected from development and eventually enhanced with new and exciting recreation opportunities for visitors of all ages and abilities to enjoy," said DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos.
In 2018, the OSI acquired the Hans Creek property for $2.55 million from a private investment group that some people feared would try to develop the land for seasonal homes, given the land's remoteness and some seasonal views of Great Sacandaga Lake. At that time, OSI officials said they expected to re-sell to a timber company with conservation restrictions attached.