The Pinnacle, the Bolton landmark visible from Lake George and the Cat and Thomas Mountains Preserve, may be protected from development after all. More than five years after Ernest Oberer first proposed building houses on the ridgeline, the Lake George Land Conservancy intends to purchase the property, said Jamie Brown, the Conservancy’s new executive director.
“We spent so much time trying to protect this property, and though there were many ups and downs, we never gave up,” said Nancy Williams, who was in the process of negotiating the transaction in December, even as she was preparing to step down from her position as the Conservancy’s executive director.
With an easement in place prohibiting any development on the property, the Town of Bolton would be in a position to purchase the Pinnacle from the Conservancy for recreational purposes and help defray the cost of the property’s protection, said Bolton Supervisor Ron Conover.
As of January, the costs to the Conservancy and to the Town had yet to be made public. “The transaction has been structured so that it fits with the sellers’ wishes and our ability to pay,” said Williams. The price of the property to the Town would be far less than its market value, said Conover.
“The Town and the people of Bolton are the beneficiaries,” said Williams. “You can’t put a value on it,” Conover said. “Land protection is investment in our future. The protection of the Pinnacle, of its viewshed and with its potential for recreational trails, is a gift to the Town.” According to Williams, the difference between the purchase price and the price offered to the town will be met by donors.
According to Conover, a system of trails linking the Pinnacle, the Cat and Thomas Mountain Preserve and the Conservation Park is in the process of being developed. The system includes easements across private properties, and several landowners have already agreed to donate those easements, said Conover. He said the Town’s ultimate goal is to link the trail system to the hamlet of Bolton Landing.
That’s not an unreasonable goal, according to Williams. “In most communities, once a trail plan is established, landowners will help complete it,” he said.
A Town to Peaks trail system, one that includes the Pinnacle, was a recommendation of a “Trails Master Plan” developed by Tracy Clothier of the LA Group with a $69,000 state grant, recalled Conover.
“The Pinnacle was the major, missing element in Bolton’s ‘Trails Master Plan.’ It really is the jewel in the crown. If we had lost it, we would have lost not only a vista but a piece of the plan,” said Conover. “Once we’ve protected the Pinnacle, we need a strategy to package and market this new trails system,” he added.
Town councilwoman Sue Wilson said, “We’ve talked about creating hiking trails from town to Cat Mountain for years, because one of the questions we’re frequently asked is where to hike. We’d like to make Bolton a destination for hikers.”
The protection of the Pinnacle now, Wilson said, “is an opportunity that will never present itself again.”