CORINTH, N.Y. (NEWS10) — In 1986, Patricia LeClair and her husband built a house on nine acres of land in Corinth that they bought from their neighbors, Jack Curtis and Mary Curtis. Jack, Mary’s brother, was an old friend of Patricia’s husband. Over the years, Mary and Patricia became close and Patricia frequently walked in the woods that spread across both the LeClair and Curtis’ properties. After Jack and Mary passed away, the Curtis’ property was left to the LeClair family.

Patricia LeClair held onto an article about Saratoga PLAN for many years, and eventually decided to donate a substantial portion of her land—127.5 acres—to the land preservation group. “The LeClair family has made an outstanding gift to the community,” a spokesperson for Saratoga PLAN said, “helping to ensure the property’s ecological, educational, historic, recreational, and scenic values are maintained for generations to come.”

The gift was also made possible by Saratoga County’s Farmland and Open Space grant, where money was used to pay transaction costs, and from the Nature Conservancy’s Resilient and Connected Network grant which will help with future stewardship needs for the land.

The donated property is a mixed forest dominated by red oak, white pine, eastern hemlock, pitch pine, and American beech. The forest has been growing since the 1930s, or earlier, and the property has a history of agricultural land use and timber harvest, creating a unique educational opportunity for forest management and succession. Today the property is 100% forest cover with a peaceful brook running through the property offering cool, shaded areas for wildlife to rest during the increasingly hot summers.

“It is an impressive site with interesting topography, glacial history, and species composition,” the spokesperson said. “The site has 20 species of trees and no exotic weeds—a rare and exciting feat! Small pockets of richer flora exist and add diversity to the sandy site.”

The Curtis Preserve exhibits key linkages in wildlife habitat connectivity at the edge of the Adirondack Park. The now permanently protected property is also close to potential development threats on the Route 9N corridor.

“The Curtis Preserve is a wonderful addition to Saratoga PLAN’s preserved lands, furthering the preservation of the rural character, natural habitats, and scenic beauty in the Saratoga Region for generations to come,” writes Executive Director Rob Davies. “This is truly a generous gift for our community.”

The Curtis Preserve will be closed to the public apart from the existing S85 snowmobile trail that runs on the gravel road along the southwest border until a detailed management plan is developed. Preserve management plans follow the purpose and priorities of conservation, encouraging biodiversity, education, and research in balance with public use.