Displaying items by tag: Maria Trabka

SARATOGA COUNTY — On July 19 Saratoga PLAN finalized protection of 219.9 acres of productive farmland called Wildwood Farms located in the towns of Northumberland and Saratoga, located near the village of Schuylerville, and adjacent to historic Stark’s Knob. The property, owned by Allen D. Wayne Wood and Wood Family Trust, is now protected for scenic enjoyment by the public and for agricultural use by a permanent conservation easement that will be forever monitored by Saratoga PLAN.

“We’re very pleased that this land will never be developed and will likely always be farmed. That’s what we’re all about,” Wayne Wood said.

This significant project was supported by Hudson Valley Agricultural Enhancement funding from the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets. Saratoga PLAN managed the grant funding and the transaction, and performed all necessary legal steps to secure the transaction. The terms of the agreement will be monitored, upheld, and documented by PLAN.

Saratoga PLAN is a nonprofit land trust that works to preserve the rural character, natural habitats and scenic beauty of Saratoga County so that these irreplaceable assets are accessible to all and survive for future generations. PLAN also helps landowners conserve farmland, woodlands and natural habitats and connects people to nature through an extensive trail network, including 10 public nature preserves open for hiking, biking, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and kayaking.

“Through this conservation easement project, Wayne and his family demonstrated their steadfast commitment to honoring the agricultural heritage of their family and of the Bacon Hill community. Their wish to ensure that 220 acres of their farm continues to feed future generations was made possible by funding from New York State, recognizing the importance of both agriculture and open space in Saratoga County. PLAN looks forward to helping other families conserve important properties throughout Saratoga County,” Maria Trabka, Saratoga PLAN’s executive director,said.

She added that Saratoga PLAN is currently working on 11 more farmland conservation projects in the county, as well as numerous trail and habitat projects.

Wildwood Farms is located in an important agricultural district that includes several dairy farms, and the property currently raises a large herd of heifers for an area dairy farm, as well as fields of corn, hay, and straw. Wildwood Farms supplies 12,000 bales of straw to the racetrack in Saratoga Springs, and another1,400 bales to local thorough bred horse farms.

Stark’s Knob, adjacent to the property, played a significant role in U.S. history. The basaltic outcrop served as a lookout and gun station during the 1777 battles of the Revolutionary War, and many artifacts have been found in nearby farm fields. Historic maps depict Colonel Morgan and his American “sharp shooter” riflemen with a defensive line in the area.

Published in News
Thursday, 21 June 2018 12:27

Yoga on the Trail

Photos provided.

SARATOGA SPRINGS — Saratoga PLAN (Preserving Land and Nature) is back this summer and fall with their Yoga Along the Trail event. Pre-registration is required, class size is limited, and it is $15 per class. Only sneakers and stretching clothing is required, no yoga mat needed.

“We thought maybe yoga would be a good one to try because our trails lend itself well to it and the activity of using nature as an inspiration for either poses or just natural processes that you might witness out there can be used for some of the getting unstuck or getting rejuvenated,” explained Maria Trabka, Executive Director at Saratoga PLAN.

Trabka thought of the idea after attending yoga at the YMCA with a, “really great instructor. I just had the idea that it would be a fun way to introduce people to our trails and also our preserves that are open to the public,” she said.

Dana, a Saratoga PLAN employee, is also a yoga instructor, so she was able to help with the planning and instructor search.

“It’s fun for the teachers as well to get out and use a different space. You don’t bring a mat or anything like that... This is really just utilizing the spaces out there along the trail,” Trabka said.

Classes take place Saturdays and Sundays, times vary, beginning in April and ending October 21. To pre-register or for more information, contact Dana at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 518-587-5554.

“This is for people of all ages and abilities. You don’t have to feel like an expert or anything like that. If you’re interested in seeing a new place or having a new experience along the way, it’s just quite a nice experience for people,” Trabka said.

Trabka stated they have considered doing a self-guided yoga tour, in which they create stations along the trail with a yoga pose and suggested meditation on a sign.

“It’s just nice to have air and sounds and breezes and all of those things that if you slow down a little bit, a lot of times I think people use the trails and maybe don’t take the time to really observe and slow down, but more like march down that trail and get it done and check it off your list,” Trabka said.

Published in Sports
Thursday, 19 April 2018 17:08

Safety Upgrades for Bog Meadow

In photos: Saratoga Springs Public Safety Commissioner Peter Martin, Mayor Meg Kelly, Greg Redling of Saratoga Preserving Land and Nature and Tina Carton of the city parks office walk the Bog Meadow trail this week; the existing route on Meadowbrook Road that walkers must navigate; a beaver hut next to the Bog Meadow Brook boardwalk; and volunteer Jeff Olson reflecting on 25 years of work. Photos by Larry Goodwin. 

SARATOGA SPRINGS – After trudging through a ditch next to Meadowbrook Road on Tuesday morning, city officials and environmental advocates walked a soggy portion of the Bog Meadow Brook Nature Trail to welcome several upgrades that are needed in the 25-year-old preserve. 

Initially completed in 1993, the popular recreation trail is two miles long and has entrances on both Lake Avenue (Route 29) and Meadowbrook Road. Much of the existing path was built over old railroad lines. It is surrounded by 174 acres of wetlands and forest, according to the group Saratoga Preserving Land and Nature (PLAN).

Greg Redling, the stewardship coordinator for PLAN, said a three-phase upgrade project would begin with construction of a new trail near the Meadowbrook Road parking area.

An 1,100-foot connector trail of mostly crushed stone will eliminate the need for people walking in the ditch along Meadowbrook Road—on which some drivers rapidly increase their speed.

Redling said two other phases of the project will include elevating a northern part of the trail affected by “intensive use,” severe weather and beaver dams; and making repairs on the large boardwalk that spans the Bog Meadow Brook itself.

The changes are being designed and engineered by Munter Enterprises, Redling said. He noted how John Munter has been a “crucial partner” in the Bog Meadow trail from the beginning.

The PLAN media spokesman, John Kettlewell, said the work would start by late April when conditions are drier. Mostly “brush and undergrowth” will be removed to build the connector trail on old train tracks that are difficult to spot, he explained.

Kettlewell added that a ribbon cutting is scheduled for the fall to mark the completion of all three phases of the project.

“In conclusion, a 25-year-old trail naturally needs revitalization,” Redling told the small crowd that had gathered Tuesday on the Bog Meadow boardwalk.

The attendees included Saratoga Springs Mayor Meg Kelly and Tina Carton, administrator of the Parks, Open Lands, Historic Preservation and Sustainability office. 

Redling and the small staff at PLAN works with a network of nearly 200 volunteers to maintain Bog Meadow and nine other trails in Saratoga County, from Woodcock Preserve in Clifton Park to the Orra Phelps Preserve in Gansevoort, and west to the Hennig and LeVine nature preserves near Galway.

Advocates hope to have the trails connected in a future Saratoga County Greenbelt Trail. They are actively recruiting volunteers to aid in all such efforts.  

On the Bog Meadow boardwalk Tuesday, volunteer Jeff Olson said he remembered his “very first exploration of this trail,” which he found using basic information from former city planner Geoff Bornemann.

At first, Olson explained, there was not much local interest in creating the Bog Meadow preserve. “It turns out that, literally, for 25 years, every single time I’ve been here, there have been other people on this trail, and that’s just a wonderful thing,” he said.

“To me, the most exciting thing is we’re standing here today thinking about the next 25 years,” Olson added, as many birds could be heard chirping in the distance.

“Wetlands are really important. We have this wonderful network of springs within the city and water resources, and we need to learn how we’re going to maintain these for future generations,” offered Carton.

She said Saratoga Springs is in the process of compiling a “natural resources inventory” to inform any related planning endeavors.   

Carton also talked about a separate trail project that she called the “downtown connector,” from the Exit 15 area of I-87 to Lake Avenue, which is being reviewed by an engineer. That trail will further connect the county’s entire network of trails.

Maria Trabka, the executive director of PLAN, compared the county’s trails to those used long ago by Native Americans—not for recreation, but for essential travel.

“We wouldn’t have any of our trails without volunteers,” Trabka admitted, adding that “homebuyers across the country” value recreation trails close to new properties they are considering for purchase.

“We need a lot of eyes and ears out in all the communities who understand,” Trabka said.  

For more information, visit the website https://www.saratogaplan.org/

Published in News