The Lake George Land Conservancy (LGLC) recently acquired 72 acres in the Town of Putnam from Thomas and Mary Ellen Eliopoulos. The land, known as the Beaver Pond property, joins another 65 acres purchased from the Bain family in September as the latest additions in a focused effort to protect the 2,000-acre watershed of Sucker Brook, a major tributary of Lake George.
As one of Lake George’s ten largest tributaries, Sucker Brook drains directly into the lake at Glenburnie, and makes a significant impact on the lake’s water quality. Its protection provides a safeguard against excess storm water runoff, erosion of the stream corridor, and nutrient loading from neighboring sources of fertilizers and road salt.
Both the Beaver Pond and Bain properties primarily consist of wetlands, which help to filter and slow the waters of Sucker Brook before entering Lake George. Specifically, beaver ponds have been shown to be particularly beneficial for water quality. Studies indicate that these ponds can trap and remove nearly 50% of excess nitrogen from the water. High levels of nitrogen, resulting from chemicals like lawn fertilizers being carried downstream in storm water, can trigger algal blooms and fish kills.
According to an announcement sent to the press by the Lake George Land Conservancy, protected land also provides thousands of dollars in natural resource benefits to the community each year in the form of storm water protection, aesthetic value, habitat, and pollution control.
The location of these properties also allow for an extended public recreational trail corridor for hiking, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, and bird-watching. Between the LGLC’s Gull Bay Preserve on Sagamore Road and the peak of Record Hill on Anthony’s Nose, the region currently includes 7.5-miles of marked trails, including ½-mile newly added to show off the Bain property’s unique white cedar swamp. An additional 1 mile of trail on the beaver pond property is proposed, which would also connect to the Anthony’s Nose trailhead.
Nine educational panels have been installed along the region’s existing trails, with information about nocturnal wildlife, hardwood forests, wetlands and more. Future plans include additional signage, as well as the construction of bridges or boardwalks with viewing platforms through the wetland and beaver pond areas.
The entire system is expected to be a draw for school groups, birders, and other guests may observe the plants and animals that are present, while at the same time gain a better understanding of how the land functions to protect the water.
Altogether, the region between Glenburnie and Gull Bay Roads offers 925 acres of contiguous protected land. Due to the complexity of having so many different parcels, the LGLC plans to merge all of the properties together to create one cohesive preserve. A revised trail map and other resources are expected to be completed for the 2017 summer season.
Schools and other community groups interested in having a guided field trip to the area may contact the LGLC’s Communications and Outreach Manager Sarah Hoffman at (518) 644-9673 or email [email protected]
Map of Putnam Protected lands, courtesy Lake George Land Conservancy.