Residents on Saratoga’s west side will be able to make use of a new hiking trail starting Friday afternoon. Saratoga P.L.A.N., a local organization that conserves open spaces, has created its 11th public preserve which is officially opening today.
The Rowland Hollow Creek Preserve is a project that has been ten years in the making. It’s the result of an unusual arrangement between Charlew Builders and the city. In order to develop the property, Charlew agreed to protect the majority of the land – about 45 of the development’s 75+ acres are now part of the preserve, and title to that land has been transferred to PLAN.
The preserve forms a crescent around the Meadow Vista Estates development, and lies on the development’s west, south and east sides. Much of the property is wetlands, which would have been difficult to build on. The trailhead sits on Grand Avenue just west of Slade Road, and has parking for as many as 15 cars.
View of development from the trail
PLAN Stewardship Director Andy Fyfe says the only development on the land is about a mile of trails. The main trail wanders through the woods on the west side of the property, and connects with a second, smaller trail in the south portion of the property. The smaller trail actually takes strollers through a portion of the wetlands.
Konstantin Korablev was one of the first to purchase a home in the new development. He says the preserved land was one factor in his decision to move there. “We wanted to be close to Saratoga Springs, and at the same time near some outdoors.”
Korablev says his mother is visiting from Moscow, and she and his wife are already using the preserve. They “spend an hour almost every day” with his young daughter walking along the trail, he says.
Fyfe says PLAN is considering whether the preserve would be a good candidate for a sustainable forestry project. That means managing the forest in a fashion that would make it productive – providing some economic benefit – while keeping the forest itself intact. In this case that would mean the selective clearing of some of the scrub plants and “fostering growth of the more valuable hardwoods, such as cherry,” says Fyfe. But he says “We’re just getting to the point” of making such a decision.
But he says if such a move is taken, it would be wonderful to see that “you could have a productive forest in an urban setting.”
The preserve is the result of a partnership, not only between the builder and PLAN, but with the Rotary Club of Saratoga Springs. Rotary provided a grant that was used to provide trail improvements, signage, and the entryway to the trail itself.
Rowland Hollow Creek Preserve trail
ON THE WIRE