Lake Placid Land Conservancy Awarded $26,000 Grant for Public Access Improvements at the Three Sisters Preserve in Wilmington

LAKE PLACID, NY — The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and the Land Trust Alliance announced the award of a $26,000 New York State Conservation Partnership Program (NYSCPP) Transaction Grant to the Lake Placid Land Conservancy (LPLC). This grant enables LPLC to complete a management plan and develop public access improvements at the Three Sisters Preserve in the Town of Wilmington.  The land trust established the 98-acre preserve in 2017 through a donation from Scott Avery on Hardy Road, and through the purchase of a neighboring parcel on Quaker Mountain Road. A $25,000 gift from an anonymous donor and a $50,000 grant from Open Space Institute supported acquisition of the fee parcel.

After closing, the Barkeater Trails Alliance (BETA) constructed a 1.5-mile trail on the Preserve to connect the hamlet area of Wilmington to Hardy Road. This trail provides an off-road connection between the Flume Trails, the hamlet and the popular mountain bike trails in the DEC Wilmington Wild Forest Beaver Brook Tract along Hardy Road. Mr. Avery’s donation was the result of years of cooperative community planning for more trails in the Wilmington area.

The “Three Sisters” white pine tree, after which the preserve is named.

The NYSCPP grant sets Lake Placid Land Conservancy on a successful course to develop a management plan for the Three Sisters Preserve that reflects the property’s ecological character and recreational value. Grant funding will help the land trust develop goals and objectives for the preserve, map the property and surrounding areas using GIS technology, develop trail plans and maps, conduct public outreach, install trailhead kiosks and other interpretive and informational material, and complete a detailed habitat assessment and forest management plan. The plan will be developed with the Town of Wilmington, BETA and nearby residents. There will also be a public meeting to present the plan and receive comments.

“This project started with the community, and it is very important we are responsive to the needs of the Town and other stakeholders. We are excited to establish a community preserve that protects the natural characteristics of the site while incorporating the recreational needs of the community,” says LPLC Executive Director Dan Kwasnowski. “Our ultimate goal is to develop the preserve as an asset to the town so the town can eventually take it over as a park.”

The Land Trust Alliance’s president, Andrew Bowman, noted that NYSCPP’s grant funding “… enables land trusts and local communities to tap the enormous potential of the land to address societal challenges and positions New York as a national leader in demonstrating the relevance of land conservation to all Americans. New York’s commitment to the Environmental Protection Fund sets a standard that can inspire other states to protect water quality, promote healthy communities and address the growing risks of climate change. These are smart investments in our collective future.”

LPLC is one of 70 not-for-profit land trusts in New York State that received nearly $2.29 million dollars in grant funding through the Conservation Partnership Program, and one of 8 awarded in the North Country that received a combined $454,000.

The NYSCPP grants are funded through New York’s Environmental Protection Fund. “Land conservation is an essential tool that provides immeasurable environmental and economic benefits for New Yorkers and visitors alike,” said New York State DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos. “Thanks to Governor Cuomo’s leadership, financial support from the Environmental Protection Fund, and the hard work of New York’s land trusts, the Conservation Partnership Program continues to improve our quality of life while protecting valuable natural resources and state lands.”

Lake Placid Land Conservancy has received a total of $161,000 in grant awards from NYSCPP since 2014. Previous NYSCPP grants enabled the Lake Placid Land Conservancy to hire its first executive director, forge a strategic plan, and develop and launch their popular conservation monitoring outreach program.

The Lake Placid Land Conservancy is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit land trust that partners with landowners and communities in the Ausable and Saranac River watersheds in the Adirondack Park to conserve important open spaces, viewsheds, wildlife habitats, water resources, and recreational lands that create opportunities for people to enjoy the region’s natural beauty. Their office is located in Lake Placid and they have preserves and conservation easements in Keene, Wilmington, Jay, and the Town of North Elba.