Conservation Roundtable features Guilderland’s pathways plan

The Enterprise — Melissa Hale-Spencer
Kate Maynard, center, listened a year ago to Mark Grimm, an Albany County legislator representing part of Guilderland, talk about connecting the Albany County Helderberg-Hudson Rail Trail to Guilderland.

GUILDERLAND — Last March, just before the pandemic hit locally, Guilderland hosted a session at its town hall to see what residents valued and wanted to see in the town’s pathways.

With the onset of shutdowns and the need for isolation that came with the coronavirus, Guilderland’s trails got more-than-usual use since last March.

Now, on March 30, the town’s new pathway plan will be featured at the annual forum hosted by the Capital District Conservation Roundtable. The virtual event goes from 7 to 8:15 p.m. and anyone may register to see it.

The other two case studies featured for the roundtable are the New Lebanon Climate Smart Communities certification and the Tomhannock Reservoir Watershed’s protection of water quality through slang conservation.

“You always want to understand what’s been done,” Kate Maynard told the crowd at Town Hall last March; she teaches master-degree students in the geography and planning studio course at the University at Albany who worked on the plan.

In their final semester of a two-year program, the students sifted through more than a dozen town plans — made from 1987 to  2018 — to see what was still relevant.

“Our goal,” said Guilderland Supervisor Peter Barber at the time, “is to make it a more walkable community.”

The plan, presented by the students in December, includes recommendations on linking walking trails, bike routes, and sidewalks to parks and green spaces.

It has recommendations for the town’s golf course and winter recreation area; the Keenholts, Nott Road, DiCaprio, and McKownville parks; the Black Creek Marsh Wildlife Area; the Bozenkill Preserve; the Watervliet Reservoir; Tawasentha Park; and the Pine Bush Preserve.

The plan also says that trails can amplify the importance of historical sites in town — naming the Battle of Normanskill, the farm of Evert Bancker, the Glass Works, and the Vale of Tawasentha — and recommends retrofitting Route 146 to connect cyclists land hikers to these sites.

The plan says this would “create an educational component and identity for the town.”

The town’s park’s department is using the plan this year to add more hiking trails and linkage connections in Vosburgh Trails, according to Barber, who writes a daily email to residents focused on COVID-19. The plan includes the ‘own’s scheduled installation of sidewalks this year on West Old State Road to Lynnwood Elementary School and on Western Avenue to the Guilderland Public Library. 

The plan will also support the town’s applications for state grants for sidewalks, bicycle paths, and park improvements, Barber said.

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