As Kermit the Frog famously crooned, it’s not easy being green. Take the Palmertown Range, a forested tract of land that connects Saratoga Springs to the Adirondack Park, which Saratoga PLAN is working to protect, for example. Of the 40,000-plus acres in the Palmertown Range, which stretches from Daniels Road State Forest in Saratoga to Corinth and Moreau Lake State Park, about 9,000 are already protected. PLAN is still hard at work protecting the remaining 31,000 acres, by way of conservation easements, land acquisitions and inter-organization partnerships.
“The goal is to conserve a forested landscape and keep it intact for wildlife habitats, protect the waters flowing out of it, and create a place where people can get outside and enjoy nature close to home,” says PLAN’s Maria Trabka, who in May will be retiring after 14 years as the organization’s executive director. “You don’t need to drive two hours north and climb a High Peak. You’ll be able to drive five minutes and visit a beautiful ravine with flowing waterfalls and mature woods.”
To that end, PLAN is also working on a project within the Palmertown project—one that will allow nature lovers to hop on a trail at Daniels Road and literally walk, bike or cross-country ski all the way to Moreau Lake. Last summer, a master plan for the Sarah B. Foulke Friendship Trails was completed, its focus being on accessibility and inclusivity. PLAN will begin building the trail system, which will be a mix of primitive, developed and highly developed trails, this summer.
“It’s getting increasingly difficult to find large blocks of forest close to populated areas that can be protected,” Saratoga-based ecologist Michael Gaige says in an informational video about the Palmertown Range. And while protecting them may not be a walk in the park (pun intended), “it’s those forest blocks and those large protected areas that are going to have the capacity to change under a warming climate. The large places are where the hope lies.”