Three Sisters Preserve
Welcome to Three Sisters Preserve! This nearly 100-acre preserve was established on April 19, 2017 through the process of a generous land donation and land purchase in the Town of Wilmington. Sat between Quaker Mountain Road and Hardy Road, Three Sisters Preserve is in the southern portion of the Black Brook Forest, which is classified by the New York Natural Heritage Program as rare, sandy pine forest. It boasts a mixed forest beech, maple, red and white pine that supports a variety of wildlife including deer, turkey, grey and red fox, raptors and forest songbirds, and fisher. Weaving through the Preserve is a welcoming 1.2-mile long mountain biking trail skillfully designed and maintained by Barkeater Trails Alliance. This trail serves as a connector between the hamlet of Wilmington and the growing number of mountain biking trails off Hardy Road.
A capital grant awarded by the Open Space Institute (OSI) in the amount of $50,000 greatly supported LPLC’s acquisition of the Preserve. The purchased land was combined with adjacent land that was generously donated by Wilmington resident Scott Avery to create the preserve. In addition to the OSI grant and land donation from Avery, LPLC also received a $25,000 donation from an anonymous donor who wished to support LPLC’s efforts to conserve lowland forest habitat and enhance recreational opportunities in the Wilmington area.
Our partnership with Barkeater Trails Alliance (BETA) is critical to the success of Three Sisters as a community preserve. BETA is a non-profit organization dedicated to developing, maintaining and advocating for a diverse, sustainable and interconnected system of trails for ski touring and mountain biking in the greater Adirondack High Peaks Region. We work with the trail group and its director Josh Wilson to monitor conditions and make sure its use is consistent with its intent – a community preserve that supports recreation while preserving its conservation values.
The trail plan for the Wilmington Wild Forest prioritized improved connections between the hamlet and the trail systems at the Flume and Marble Mountain. As noted by Josh Wilson, Three Sisters Preserve “will further that vision by allowing for a public connection between Wilmington and the popular trail system at Hardy Road. Connectivity between trail networks is the thing that turns ‘good’ biking destinations into the ‘best’.” LPLC and BETA has plans to add additional trails in the near future.
LPLC is also in the process of completing a management plan for the Preserve. We were awarded a $26,000 Transaction Grant from the New York State Conservation Partnership Program, a program of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and the Land Trust Alliance, to develop the management plan. The plan will contain a complete ecological assessment, guide for managing Three Sisters forest stand, and will share our vision for the Preserve moving forward. As part of this effort, we will be adding trail markers, kiosks and interpretive signage, as well as a parking area at the Hardy Road trailhead. The management plan and signage are expected to be completed by fall of 2019.
Three Sisters Preserve can be accessed via a trailheads at Quaker Mountain Road or Hardy Road. There is a small parking area at the Quaker Mountain trailhead for those entering from the west; if accessing from Hardy Road, please park at the Hardy Road (Beaver Brook) Trails. The Preserve is bordered by private property – please be kind to the trails, plants, and animals, and respectful of our neighbors.
Wilmington Wild Forest consists of several non-contiguous forest preserve parcels totaling 13,231 acres that are within a ten-mile radius of the hamlet of Wilmington, NY. LPLC sees the project as a way to support ecotourism for the Town of Wilmington by significantly enhancing mountain biking opportunities between the Beaver Brook tract, the hamlet of Wilmington and the Whiteface/Marble Mountain tract.
The Open Space Institute protects scenic, natural and historic landscapes to provide public enjoyment, conserve habitat and working lands and sustain communities. Founded in 1974 to protect significant landscapes in New York State, OSI has been a partner in the protection of nearly 2.2 million acres in North America. A leader in environmental conservation, OSI leverages its knowledge and attracts resources for strategic investments to make innovative land conservation happen. Visit OSI online at www.openspaceinstitute.org.