Coming this summer: 4th Annual Summer Solstice Festival and Hike-a-thon

Coming this summer: 4th Annual Summer Solstice Festival and Hike-a-thon

Call for Volunteers, Vendors and Sponsors

Delmar, NY—Below zero temperatures blanket the Capital Region but summer is on its way and with it the Summer Solstice Festival and Hike-a-thon on the Albany County Helderberg Hudson Rail Trail (ACHHRT). 


2014 Summer Solstice Celebration

On Saturday, June 20th join neighbors, friends, local businesses and organizations to kick off the start of summer. The Summer Solstice Festival includes activities, vendors, food, animals, artists, music and more, spread throughout the ACHH Rail Trail in Bethlehem and Voorheesville.

In its fourth year, the Summer Solstice Celebration is hosted by the Mohawk Hudson Land Conservancy and its Friends of the Rail Trail Committee, which focuses on the converted rail trail that will stretch from the Port of Albany to the Village of Voorheesville by the end of this year.  This unique summer festival on the trail has grown exponentially in three years, boasting more than 1,000 attendees and over fifty vendors in 2014.

To celebrate its fourth anniversary, the Solstice celebration offers new and exciting changes.   The festival will be held on Saturday this year with extended hours, giving all attendees more time to enjoy the celebration that is fast becoming a staple of the early summer season.  Also new this year is a hike-a-thon. Enjoy a morning hike in one of the Mohawk Hudson Land Conservancy (MHLC) preserves and relax at the Solstice Festival in the afternoon. Hikes will be held on the Albany County Helderberg Hudson Rail Trail and at four pre-selected MHLC preserves and will be led by expert guides. Hikers with pets are invited to join the Tails on the Rail Trail walk. All hikers receive a free Solstice T-Shirt but space will be limited. The Hike-a-thon will take place from 10:00 a.m. until noon and the festival begins at noon and ends at 4 p.m.

The Summer Solstice Festival planning committee is looking for volunteers, vendors and sponsors. If you or someone you know is interested in participating in or sponsoring the Summer Solstice Festival and Hike-a-thon, please visit:

The Albany County Helderberg Hudson Rail Trail is a nine mile stretch of an old D&H rail line running from Voorheesville to the Port of Albany. The Albany County Helderberg Hudson Rail Trail is owned by Albany County and is being developed and operated with the cooperation of the Mohawk Hudson Land Conservancy and its Friends of the Rail Trail committee, the Towns of Bethlehem and New Scotland, and the Village of Voorheesville.

The Mohawk Hudson Land Conservancy is the Capital Region’s local land trust, working day after day to improve the quality of life for all local residents. The work that we do to preserve the natural spaces in Albany, Montgomery, and Schenectady counties, directly impacts the health of the region. We have protected close to 4,000 acres of land including over 1,300 acres open to the public in the form of preserves – for hiking, cross-country skiing and other educational and recreational opportunities.  Visit for more information.


New easement in the Town of Berne

MHLC is thrilled to be a part of an exciting new land project in the Town of Berne.

Natural Resources Preserved while Allowing for Economic

from left:  County Executive McCoy, County Clerk Bruce Hidley, CRC Chair Gary Domalewicz, Berne Supervisor Kevin Crosier, NYS Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara, Open Space Institute’s Charles Burgess and Mohawk-Hudson Land Conservancy’s Mark King.

from left: County Executive McCoy, County Clerk Bruce Hidley, CRC Chair Gary Domalewicz, Berne Supervisor Kevin Crosier, NYS Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara, Open Space Institute’s Charles Burgess and Mohawk-Hudson Land Conservancy’s Mark King.

Development Opportunities in Helderbergs

The natural beauty and resources of 350 acres of land on Game Farm road in the town of Berne will be preserved and provide a yet untapped economic development opportunity for the Hilltowns.  Property on Game Farm Road, formerly the site of the Center for Wisdom & Compassion, has been sold to the town of Berne.  At a press conference today, Albany County Executive Daniel P. McCoy highlighted the sale as a chance to use the existing buildings and the land as both a public resource and a way for the town to generate revenue.

“The property, including a 5,000 square foot lodge and a retreat house, is amazing and presents a chance for our Hilltown communities to conserve 350 acres of open space as well as to find ways to capitalize on recreational and tourism dollars,” said McCoy. 

 “The Buddhists chose this site for their Center for Wisdom & Compassion because they were inspired by the beauty, the location and our community,” said Berne Town Supervisor Kevin Crosier.  “Possibilities are endless for us to encourage the public to walk the trails or go camping or to book weddings, retreats or other programs as we further develop our plan down the road.”

Berne needed help to purchase the property and turned to the Open Space Institute (OSI) which provided a $237,000 grant and $25,000 in associated transaction costs.

“For the past 20 years, OSI has been an active conservation leader throughout the Helderberg landscape,” said Kim Elliman, President & CEO, OSI.  “In saving nearly 3,000 acres along the escarpment we have protected valuable natural resources, preserved community character and improved recreational access for area residents. OSI is proud to support this community-inspired, public/private project and congratulate our partners at the Mohawk Hudson Land Conservancy, the Town of Berne and Albany County.  We look forward to seeing its transformation into an inspiring public space for all to enjoy.”

With a purchase price of $475,000, the town of Berne paid $112,500 and received $125,000 from the Albany County Capital Resource Corporation.  “The CRC is happy to help fund this project,” said Albany County Legislator Gary Domalewicz, Chairman of the CRC.  “This will help stimulate economic growth and eventually jobs in the Hilltowns, an area of Albany County which needs help in that area.”

Sale of the land includes an easement held by the Mohawk Hudson Land Conservancy to allow both active use and park-like use for how the property may be utilized.  “The Mohawk Hudson Land Conservancy is pleased to be a partner in this very exciting project,” said Mark King, Executive Director, Mohawk Hudson Land Conservancy.

“The Conservancy holds a conservation easement on the property that helps to guide how the park will be used in the future.  It promotes the reuse of existing structures and facilities on the property and provides flexibility for additional recreational and economic development activities, while ensuring that the property will always be available for public use as a park.  The project is a great example of a rural town preserving and promoting one of its greatest assets – the scenic beauty of the Helderberg region.”

“I look forward to working with local officials to promote and expand this new tourist attraction, which has the potential to create new jobs and grow the region’s economy,” said Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara. “This project is a win-win because it will allow visitors from across the region to experience a hidden gem in Upstate New York, while still preserving the unique character that makes it special.” 

“This is truly a win-win for everyone,” said Shawn Morse, Chairman of the Albany County Legislature. “We are preserving the scenic beauty of Albany County while at the same time, opening up the opportunity for economic development and job creation for the Hilltowns. I want to commend Supervisor Crosier, CRC Chairman Domalewicz and the Open Space Institute for making this come together.”

An advisory board will guide the future and uses of the property.  Nominations are now being accepted for the volunteer positions.

Aerial video of the property provided by Albany County

You might also like:
Open Space Institute; Former Buddhist Property’s Conservation
Is a Big Deal to a Small Town

Newsletter is Here!

Screen Shot 2015-01-07 at 9.46.15 AMThe winter edition of our newsletter ViewPoints is now available.

Stories include:
MHLC’s Largest Conservation Easement
Rail Trail News
Gala Recap
and more!



To view the newsletter click here.Screen Shot 2015-01-12 at 10.30.30 AM

Thacher Park News

Check out this article about upcoming changes to Thacher State Park:

New Conservation Easement!

MHLC is excited to announce an new easement in Albany County!craven
The easement protects approximately 87 acres of picturesque land located beneath the Helderberg Escarpment.
In the making for 10 years, this project is a long-awaited accomplishment for MHLC, made possible with help from the Open Space Institute and the land owner, Margaret Snowden Craven. We are thrilled to see this long time dream become a reality and to conserve such an important piece of land.craven corn

Eat for the Environment TODAY!

Wondering where to eat dinner tonight?

Eat for the Environment at Creo!

Please support the Mohawk Hudson Land Conservancy by joining us TODAY, Tuesday November 18th, at Creo’ in Stuyvesant Plaza for a FABULOUS meal!

A percentage of the day’s proceeds will be donated to MHLC to help the Mohawk Hudson Land Conservancy save the open, natural spaces of the Capital Region.

For Reservations: 482-8000

Creo poster 2014

On the Road Again: the Traveling Mural

The Albany County, Helderberg Hudson Rail Trail Community Mural was recently moved to the next stop on its tour at the New Scotland Town Hall!

close up

This year’s Summer Solstice Celebration, an annual community event hosted by MHLC and its Friends of the Rail Trail (FORT) committee to celebrate the longest day of the year and the beginning of summer, also marked the beginning of the traveling rail trail mural. Artist, MHLC Board member, and FORT member Ellie Prakken painted a beautiful image of the Albany County Helderberg Hudson Rail Trail complete with walkers, bikers and furry friends. The mural was conceived as a community art project illustrating the community connections created by the rail trail. At the Summer Solstice Celebration on June 22, 2014 leaves and markers were provided and solstice attendees of all ages were invited to add their creative mark to the mural. Each leaf was secured, making the mural a one-of-a-kind community artwork. Following the Solstice, the mural began a year-long tour across the capital region.

Our story picks up in the Town of New Scotland.
Diane Deschenes, Town Clerk, leads us down a hallway at the Town Hall to the space where the mural will soon hang. Diane mentions that people often walk past this area, and the mural will bring some much needed life to the bare wall.closebox

Ellie and her husband, John Smolinsky, meet us with supplies in hand. Now halfway through its tour, Ellie and John have become experts at hanging and taking down the mural. Most recently, the artwork was displayed in the Voorheesville library for the months of September and October.hanging mural




Before long, the mural is stretched out on the wall, held by John and Lea Montalto-Rook, MHLC Development Director. After a few minor adjustments, Ellie gives the OK, and up it goes!








Without trouble, the mural is secured to the wall, and soon starts attracting the attention of passersby.


Ellie discusses the Rail Trail with Tom Dolin, New Scotland Town Supervisor, and Diane Deschenes, Town Clerk. Dolin and Deschenes were both excited to host the mural and happy to be supporting the Rail Trail.







 Ellie poses with the finished project. Many thanks Ellie and John!

The mural will remain at the New Scotland Town Hall through December 2014 before it travels on to its next stop, sure to brighten the days of all those who see it.


Visit the mural at the New Scotland Town Hall

2029 New Scotland Rd.
Slingerlands, NY

For hours and information about the town hall visit:

Getting excited for Summer Solstice 2015? We are too! Stay up to date:


In two weeks!

#GivingTuesday is two weeks away!
How are you going to celebrate and giveback?

Don’t forget to stop by our office with some canned goods on December 2nd for our food drive! We’re committed to creating a healthy community.



#Giving Tuesday

We all know about Black Friday and Cyber Monday, but did you know there’s now a designated day to give back?

We’re excited to announce that we’ll be taking part in Giving Tuesday this year!

Want to give back with us? Stop by our office on December 2nd and contribute a few canned goods to our food drive. Be sure to spread the word! #GivingTuesday


Volunteers Needed!


MHLC is looking for 3-4 volunteers for a morning of trail work at our Normanskill East Preserve.

When: Saturday, November 1st from 10am-noon.
What: Work will include clearing brush and minor digging.

If you or someone you know is interested in getting dirty and doing some heavy lifting, contact John Schlepp, stewardship coordinator, by October 29th at

We look forward to seeing you out on the trails!

Don’t miss the last fall hikes of the season!

The final two hikes of this season are this Monday, the 20th and Tuesday, the 21st. Join Hike Coordinator, Dodie Seagle, for a morning of outdoor adventure and fall colors! 

Hike Information:

A 113-acre preserve in New Baltimore, one of our most popular hikes, includes a lovely waterfall, scenic vistas, and the foundation of a paper mill. Also included will be a walk across a bridge that is made out of 68,000 recycled milk jugs, the only one of its kind in the country! Afterward those who wish may have lunch at Yanni’s Restaurant, which features fine food and views overlooking the Hudson River.

October 21 (Tuesday) OOMS POND
Come celebrate fall colors at this 180 acre property in Columbia County. The property is owned by the Open Space Institute and managed by the Columbia Land Conservancy. There are beautiful vistas along this level hike-something for everyone!

Hikers: Please call the MHLC office at 436-6346 or email to coordinate carpooling.
Please bring: water, lunch/snack, and waterproof boots.
All hikers will meet at the Delmar Municipal Lot at 125 Adams Street, Delmar. All hikes will start promptly at 10AM.

Dodie Seagle
MHLC Hike Coordinator

Fall Fundraiser Photos

 Wow! What a evening, it’s hard to believe A Walk in the Woods was already 5 days ago.

Wish it never ended? Unable to attend?
Check out our events page to re-live the magic!
>> Go

Thank you Interim HealthCare

Thank you to Interim Healthcare, for your generous support of MHLC and the Fall Fundraiser.

‘For  42 years, our customers have counted on Interim HealthCare to provide exceptional Skilled Home Care and Non-Medical senior Care services at home in the New York Capital Region, We have been providing professional care services in community since 1971 employing only the finest health care staff.  We value the trust our clients and their families have placed in us, and strive to keep it, everyday. We have a team of trusted and respected employees who have a reputation for excellence with a commitment to improving people’s lives.’


Shout out!

Shout out to Albany Medical Center! Thank you for all of your support of the 2014 Fall Faundraiser. Learn more about Albnany Med here:

Special thanks to the Department of Neurology. We are excited to be honoring Dr. Kevin Barron, former MHLC Board Member and doctor of Neurology at Albany Med, at this years event.

For more information about the Fall Fundraiser, visit our Events page.  >> Go