In 1986, Patricia LeClair and her husband built a house on nine acres of land in Corinth that they bought from neighbors, Jack Curtis and Mary Curtis. Jack, Mary’s brother, was an old friend of Patricia’s husband. Over the years, Mary and Patricia became close and Patricia frequently walked in the woods that spread across both the LeClair and Curtis’ properties. After Jack and Mary passed away, the Curtis’ property was left to the LeClair family.
Patricia LeClair held on to an article about Saratoga PLAN for many years and after thinking about how important land preservation was, she decided to donate a substantial portion (127.5 acres) of her land, the land that had been left to her by the Curtis family, to Saratoga PLAN. The LeClair family has made an outstanding gift to the community; helping to ensure the property’s ecological, educational, historic, recreational, and scenic values are maintained for generations to come. This gift to the community was also made possible by Saratoga County’s Farmland and Open Space grant, where monies were used to pay transaction costs, and from the Nature Conservancy’s Resilient and Connected Network grant which will help with future stewardship needs for the land.
The donated property is mixed forest dominated by red oak, white pine, eastern hemlock, pitch pine, and American beech. The forest has been growing since the 1930’s, or earlier and the property has a history of agricultural land use and timber harvest, creating a unique educational opportunity for forest management and succession. Today the property is 100% forest cover with a peaceful brook running through the property offering cool, shaded areas for wildlife to rest during the increasingly hot summers.
It is an impressive site with interesting topography, glacial history, and species composition. The site has 20 species of trees and no exotic weeds – a rare and exciting feat! Small pockets of richer flora exist and add diversity to the sandy site.
The Curtis Preserve is a wonderful property that exhibits key linkages in wildlife habitat connectivity at the edge of the Adirondack Park. The now permanently protected property is also close to potential development threats on the Route 9N corridor.
“The Curtis Preserve is a wonderful addition to Saratoga PLAN’s preserved lands, furthering the preservation of the rural character, natural habitats and scenic beauty in the Saratoga Region for generations to come.” writes Executive Director Rob Davies. “This is truly a generous gift for our community.”
The Curtis Preserve will be closed to the public apart from the existing S85 snowmobile trail that runs on the gravel road along southwest border until a detailed management plan is developed. Preserve management plans follow the purpose and priorities of conservation, encouraging biodiversity, education, and research in balance with public use.
About Saratoga PLAN:
Saratoga PLAN is a nonprofit land trust that preserves the rural character, natural habitats, and scenic beauty of Saratoga County so that these irreplaceable assets are accessible to all and survive for future generations. PLAN acknowledges that the lands it conserves are located on ancestral homelands of Mohican, Mohawk, and Abenaki people.
PLAN, which stands for preserving land and nature, has helped conserve over 7,000 acres of land in Saratoga County. PLAN helps landowners conserve farmland, woodlands, and natural habitats, and connects people to nature through an extensive trail network, including 12 public nature preserves open for hiking, biking, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and nature study. Saratoga PLAN helps communities create plans that balance growth with conservation to sustain the Saratoga Region as a great place to live, work, visit, play and farm. PLAN facilitates community-based conservation by partnering with municipalities to help them accomplish their community’s conservation goals.
For more information, call 518-587-5554, or visit www.saratogaplan.org.
Photo at top provided by Anna Gomez Domenech of Saratoga PLAN.