County land purchase paves way for Long Path trail
Schenectady County officials announced the purchase of an additional 12 acres at the county-owned Plotter Kill Preserve in Rotterdam, which brings the total size of the area to 645 acres. The county paid $50,400 for the land, but the purchase won't cost taxpayers anything. Funding was provided by a federal recreational trails grant the county received from the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation totaling $75,840.
Preserving open space and adding to our parks and nature areas is a top priority for the County Legislature, said Susan Savage, D-Niskayuna, chairwoman of the Schenectady County Legislature. "This purchase will increase access to our beautiful trail system for all county residents at no cost to taxpayers while improving the safety of this trail."
County officials plan to construct a new trailhead and a half-mile trail, which will tie into the current trails at the preserve. The land acquisition will provide a much-needed access point at the lower end of the preserve and allow the Long Path trail to access 2.5 miles of the Plotterkill rather than using existing roadways. An additional entrance off Gregg Road will allow emergency personnel to have quicker access to the opposite end near the state Thruway. The original access point is located off Mariaville Road.
"It is an additional access point into the preserve and will help with any emergency personnel if there was a lost or injured hiker," said Joe McQueen, spokesman for the county.
The new land allows the preserve to become a part of the Long Path trail too, which starts in Fort Lee, N.J., and extends to John Boyd Thacher Park. Vincent J. Schaefer of the Mohawk Valley Hiking Club conceived the pathway more than 70 years ago. He based the Long Path off the Long Trail in Vermont, which was the country's first long-distance hiking trail.