MHLC: Saving the Fisher Boulevard Property and Expanding Five Rivers!
Photographs from the Fisher Boulevard property. Click for larger photos.
Did you seen our signs in Bethlehem and New Scotland?
These cherry-red signs sat on the borders of the Fisher Boulevard property, a 35-acre parcel of undeveloped forests and fields. For over a decade, the fate of this land has been under the threat of development. The property, one of the few remaining open spaces in Slingerlands, has been proposed as the site of eight-lot housing developments, and at one time, even 35-40 houses were being considered. With your help, MHLC has saved this unique property, recognized for its expanse of undeveloped land in an increasingly-developed area, and will add it to the Five Rivers Environmental Education Center.
UPDATE: We have reached our goal! Thank you for the incredible outpouring of support for this local landscape.
In a creative partnership with the Department of Environmental Conservation’s Five Rivers Environmental Education Center and an anonymous landowner, MHLC has preserved these acres as open space while also incorporating them into Five Rivers, thereby increasing community access to nature, outdoor learning, and recreation. Five Rivers is one of New York State’s premiere environmental education centers. Covering 450 acres, the center is one of four NYS environmental education centers and is located in a rapidly-growing suburban area just six miles from the City of Albany. Five Rivers is a priority area in the New York State Open Space Conservation Plan and is visited by more than 100,000 people per year.
In June, the Board of Directors of the Friends of Five Rivers group generously donated $5,000 to the Mohawk Hudson Land Conservancy to put us a quarter of the way to our goal. “The Friends of Five Rivers is happy to support this effort to save this open space.” states Joanne Macklin, Executive Director of the Friends of Five Rivers. “The project will provide the community with access to the Five River Environmental Education Center from Fisher Boulevard in the near future.”
We relied on the support of neighbors like you to help add to this generous donation and make this effort a success- and the community responded with overwhelming support! With the fleeting availability of open space in the surrounding area, the addition of the Fisher Boulevard property to the existing 450 acres of Five Rivers was one of the last opportunities to expand the Center beyond its current boundaries. MHLC and Five Rivers thank their neighbors in Bethlehem, New Scotland, Slingerlands, and for donating and helping us take advantage of this rare opportunity to protect this land.
The property itself features green, open fields and shady white pine forests, dotted with vernal pools. In the midst of a developed landscape, these 35 acres are a refuge for wildlife living on the suburban fringe. The vernal pools provide an important habitat for amphibians in our area, and the open fields are critical nesting and hunting grounds for birds and many other species of wildlife. Small, seasonal streams on the property form the head waters of the Phillipin Kill; by protecting this land, we also protect water quality. These lands will be incorporated into Five Rivers, adding to this excellent community resource dedicated to getting folks outside and enjoying nature.
The effort to conserve this property has taken an huge effort on the part of all partners. We’ve been working for years to close on what has proved to be a very challenging transaction. Under a unique arrangement, MHLC will own the property as conservation land and New York State will hold a conservation easement on the land, forever extinguishing the development rights to the land. As we work to preserve the Fisher Boulevard property, forever protecting these 35 acres from development, we look at the future: year after year of monitoring, stewarding, and protecting this land. This is where you came in: your support helps us complete the project while ensuring permanent stewardship of these acres.
Land preservation is an ongoing responsibility, and with each property we protect, we dedicate our resources and time for years and years to come. We hope that you will consider donating to the Conservancy and help us to preserve other landscapes like the Fisher Boulevard property. Our work, and the permanent protection of open spaces in the Capital Region, is only possible with the support of our community. Please consider making a donation today.
Thank you for being a part of the movement to protect lands like the Fisher Boulevard property in New Scotland and Bethlehem!