Should the Glenview Preserve have public access? | News, Sports, Jobs

The Adirondack Land Trust wants to open Glenview Preserve up to the public. But is that the best idea?

The Glenview Preserve is a 238-acre piece of land off of state Route 86, near the Harrietstown Cemetery. Since acquiring the land in 2016, the ALT has been good stewards of this beautiful vista, managing the property for pollinator and wildlife habitat, water quality protection and maple syrup production.

The ALT is considering opening up part of the property to the public for recreation. They’re looking at possibly installing an educational kiosk with hiking information, a fence made of natural materials, a freestanding wooden deck for yoga, painting or birdwatching, a parking area and maybe a portable toilet.

We can see the vision, and the ALT’s desire to make this an area that’s accessible to people whose mobility is impaired, or people with strollers, is a great thing.

But between existing trails and recreation areas, and the state’s promise to make the new 34-mile Adirondack Rail Trail accessible, a question comes to mind: Is another public recreation area — especially one on that property, where neighbors seem to disapprove of development — really necessary?

On top of the possible nuisance to neighbors and the potential for traffic issues, the property includes wetlands, forested areas, a couple of small streams, and wildlife including moose, black bears, bobcats, coyotes and more than 80 bird species. According to ALT Stewardship and GIS Specialist Becca Halter, the ALT would consider avoiding or working around sensitive land, wildlife and the nearby cemetery if they develop the property for public use. But we wonder if it would be better to avoid the possibility of inviting the public onto the property — some of whom could potentially wander into sensitive areas unknowingly — altogether.

Living in the Adirondack Park, we’re all no strangers to the delicate balance between development and conservation. Sometimes, development is necessary to alleviate a great need, like the new MacKenzie Overlook housing development in Lake Placid. Other times, conservation should be the primary focus — and maybe it should be in this case. After all, the Trevor family, the previous stewards of the property for more than 70 years, “developed a strong interest in conservation, which is what prompted (the) transfer of property to the ALT to insure preservation of this resource for future generations,” a 2016 press release from the ALT read.

Perhaps a good balance could be struck between development and conservation by further developing the unofficial pull-off area that’s already there — make it something akin to the pull-off between Keene and Keene Valley at the intersection of state routes 9N and 73, which has a small viewing deck and a few roadside parking spaces.

Whatever the ALT decides to do with the property, we hope that the Glenview Preserve will remain largely undisturbed.

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