Ask the Conservation Director: How does MHLC monitor and manage its preserves?

Conservation Director Sarah Walsh checks trail conditions at a preserve.

Q: How does MHLC monitor and manage its preserves?

A: We monitor our preserves formally once per year, checking property boundaries and looking at any changes in use over the last year. Stewardship staff complete a form for each preserve which documents its condition, major projects that have taken place (such as trail work), and suggested improvements for the coming year.

On a day-to-day basis, MHLC has a formal Preserve Steward Program. Volunteers dedicate time each week to monitor their assigned preserve and report on trail conditions and needed improvements to ensure trails are safe and open for public use. Some preserves even have a Preserve Steward Committee:a group of volunteers who work together to care for the preserve. MHLC’s Bozen Kill Committee, which monitors the Bozen Kill Preserve in Altamont, and the Friends of the Rail Trail committee are both great examples of volunteer groups that coordinate to help us provide high quality outdoor experiences to the public.

Additionally, hikers on the trail help us keep track of changes on our 18 preserves. These visitors use the trail log, found at the kiosk at the entrance to each preserve, to report on trail conditions or unusual findings. These reports are very helpful to our stewardship staff. During the summer months, to increase our capacity to meet the ongoing needs of an active trail season, we also hire a Summer Land Steward Intern who assists our Stewardship staff with general preserve maintenance.

While monitoring, MHLC staff takes photographs to document changes over time.

MHLC wants to thank all the volunteers, neighbors and preserve go-ers who help us make our trails great for the Capital Region!

You can learn more about volunteering with MHLC at our 1st Annual Volunteer Open House on Thursday, January 25th from 5-7 PM. Learn more at our Events Page, and RSVP to Volunteer and Stewardship Coordinator Sawyer Cresap at

MHLC is currently hiring for a Summer Land Steward Intern! Click here to learn more and to apply.

Have a question for MHLC’s Conservation Director? Email your questions to MHLC Conservation Director, Sarah at

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