Saratoga P.L.A.N. (PLAN) volunteers are at it again. In spring 2012, they completed 6 miles of trails on the Hennig Preserve, a 604-acre nature preserve on Centerline Road in Providence. Led by PLAN’s Stewardship Director Andy Fyfe and volunteer trail guru Walt Hayes, the group designed, mapped and constructed six miles of winding trails that feature lengths along a natural esker, a pond and a Civil-War-era house foundation.
The volunteers did not stop there; they needed a new challenge: so with PLAN’s blessing, they approached Supervisor Ed Kinwoski (Saratoga County Trail Committee Chair) with the idea of connecting the Hennig Preserve trails to the adjacent Saratoga County forest lands. The County agreed with the idea as it would be years before they could designate staff to map out, let alone construct new trails on the 400-acre County parcel. PLAN volunteers moved swiftly to design and map a trail system on the County land. Within two months they had mapped out the trails and were given the go ahead from the County to cut and mark these trails. This work is currently underway, with over 2 miles of additional trails in the making as well as a connection to the Hennig Preserve.
County Planning Director Jason Kemper stated, “There was no way that the County would be able to undertake this project in the near future; these volunteers have accomplished an extraordinary amount of work and are acting as stewards of not only PLAN’s Hennig Preserve but our county forest lands”. Don Washburn from PLAN’s Stewardship Committee added, “The miles of trails are suitable for all ages, full of many scenic paths and overlooks. It is an opportunity to experience nature in all its beauty and get some wonderful exercise at the same time”. County Supervisor Ed Kinowski indicated that the “Partnerships like Saratoga PLAN’s are critical as the county expands its trail system for a variety of groups; equine, hiking, cross country skiing and snowmobiles (note the Hennig Preserve does not allow Equine or snowmobile use). PLAN assists town’s not only with grant applications but in management of those grants, trail and farmland protection initiatives. Our county is richer for the combined efforts of our Supervisors and Saratoga PLAN”. Maria Trabka, Executive Director of PLAN added, “Volunteers are the heart and soul of our programs. I often say PLAN has a small staff providing support to hundreds of volunteers so they can accomplish their conservation vision for Saratoga County. Volunteers make it possible for PLAN to protect farms and natural areas, plan and build trails, and provide education on topics that are important for the future of our communities.” Providence Town Supervisor John Collyer said, “The 604 acres donated to the preserve by Bob Henning, Barbara Henning and Penny Steffen is in itself a spectacular contribution to the Environment, current Town Residents and others to enjoy now and forever. When the Town’s Comprehensive Plan was developed and adopted it was quite clear that the Town’s residents wanted the Rural Character of the Town preserved. This donated land has helped to accomplish that goal and yet provide recreation and enjoyment to many who love the great outdoors”.
The Hennig Preserve is open to the public from dusk until dawn year-round. Trail maps and directions are available at http://www.saratogaplan.org. The Preserve was donated by visionaries Bob Hennig, Barbara Hennig and Penny Steffen in 2011. The Dockstader Charitable Trust provided support to get the Preserve up and running, allowing PLAN to purchase signage, construct a parking area, clean up an old homestead and much more. The County trails are slated to be finished in spring 2013, when Saratoga PLAN and the county will upload the new trail maps to their websites.
Saratoga P.L.A.N. is a not-for-profit land trust offering comprehensive land conservation services to landowners, developers, organizations, and government partners, while striving to achieve regional coordination and cooperation on land use, conservation and recreational trail planning. It has protected over 3,433 acres of farmland, natural habitats, and water resources in Saratoga County. For more information on land conservation, or directions and trail maps for public preserves, contact Saratoga P.L.A.N. at 518-587-5554 or at www.saratogaplan.org.