Champlain Area Trails (CATS) has recently gained access to 319 acres of the highlands, located off of Rte. 22 between the towns of Essex and Willsboro! Donated through a conservation easement by landowners Dick and Leanna DeNeale the land will be preserved for environmental and agricultural purposes.
Here is a word from the DeNeales:
“Years ago, when we bought this property, I wanted to be sure it stayed open and available for farming and that it would always grow crops and not turn into a housing development,” Leanna DeNeale said. “We are so happy to work with CATS to fulfill our dream.”
Mr. DeNeale said he is pleased CATS would be creating a trail to allow people to enjoy the property. (Denpubs)
The property contains some beautiful views and interestingly unique features including a clay-plane forest, which is unusual in the Champlain Valley because most of the clay areas have been turned into farmland (Denpubs).
CATS’ Future Plans
CATS Executive Director Chris Maron is pleased with the deal, and the chance to further expand the network of CATS trails throughout the Champlain Valley.
Maron said that the project advances goals identified in the new Willsboro Comprehensive Land Use Plan to preserve farmland, encourage active agricultural use of the land, and require agricultural management practices that reduce soil erosion and protect clean water. It also promotes the goals of conserving woodlands, wetlands, open space, and scenic vistas while providing a trail for outdoor recreation. (Denpubs)
Work on the new trails will start with planning the routes in January, which will be helped along by the presence of some old logging routes as foundations, and some field work will begin in the spring in order to hopefully have everything finalized for National Trail Day on June 1.
For more about the CATS organization call (518) 962-2287 or visit their website.