By JAEGUN LEE, Watertown Daily Times, link to original post
The Thousand Islands Land Trust hopes to protect an important wildlife habitat south of the village while promoting eco-tourism by building a nature trail at the Otter Creek Wetland Preserve, according to land trust officials.
Jake R. Tibbles, the land trust’s executive director, said Tuesday that the nonprofit has applied for a state matching grant for the project, which TILT hopes will help “promote Alexandria Bay and the greater Thousand Islands region.”
The state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation grant would cover half of the project’s total cost, or up to $240,000, including the acquisition of an 81-acre property — which TILT hopes to finalize within the next few weeks — predevelopment work, land survey, trail designs and construction.
Mr. Tibbles said the scope of the proposed construction and length of the new trail have not been determined, but this will be the land trust’s “next big project.”
There will be interpretive signs along a scenic route as well as picnic tables, a parking lot and a kiosk, he said.
The Clayton-based land trust recently secured a $75,000 North American Wetlands Conservation Act grant to help pay for the acquisition and protection of the 81-acre Sweet property behind Big M along Route 26.
Since last year, the trust has been in talks with landowner Brent H. Sweet, Alexandria Bay, on acquiring the property to expand and further develop the Otter Creek preserve to encourage tourism in the Thousand Islands and support the local economy.
If state funds are awarded to TILT later this year or early in 2013, the land trust would be required to complete the project within 24 months.