MOREAU -- The state put a bow on a week of state land purchases Friday, completing an Arbor Day purchase that added 200 acres to the Moreau Lake State Park.
The state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation announced the $198,000 land purchase that adds 200 acres of upland hardwood stands to the popular 4,400-acre hiking and swimming destination.
The purchase will contribute to the park’s bird conservation area. State protection of the ridge-line hardwood stand will assure long-term protection for the Snook Kill against hillside erosion and runoff, said Parks and Recreation spokesman Randy Simons.
“As Saratoga County grows, it’s critical that we balance economic development with natural resource protection,” said State Parks Commissioner Rose Harvey in a release.
The upland parcel has been on the state’s Open Space Plan, which targets desirable lands for state protection, for years.
The additional land will augment a multitown trail put together by Saratoga PLAN, a local trail advocacy and construction organization; along with a number of other private groups.
“It could become a spur with a beautiful view from up there,” said the trail group’s executive director, Maria Trabka.
The group hopes to complete agreements with private landowners in the coming months and develop a 12-mile hiking, biking and horse riding trail between Moreau and Saratoga Springs within the next year, Trabka said.
A one-mile gap in Greenfield, where easements must be secured with private land owners, is all that stands between the group and its trail, Trabka said.
The organization also seeks to develop 10 miles of interconnected trails that would ring Saratoga Springs.
The Arbor Day Moreau Lake State Park land purchase ends a series of land buys that started Tuesday with the state’s $6 million acquisition of 9,300 acres of former Finch timberland, including OK Slip Falls in Indian Lake, for the Adirondack Forest Preserve.
On Wednesday, the state announced the purchase of Cat and Thomas mountains in Bolton.
Monday was Earth Day and state environmental officials and Gov. Andrew Cuomo have spent the week focused on environmental initiatives.
State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joe Martens stood atop Prospect Mountain with members of the Lake George Land Conservancy to announce the 1,900-acre Cat and Thomas deal.
Cuomo’s office issued a lengthy press release Monday touting the administration’s environmental track record, pointing to new lands under state protection, bolstering of the Environmental Protection Fund and more than $100 million in funding in the 2013-14 state budget for environmental infrastructure improvements.
The release made no mention of hydrofracking, the most contentious environmental issue facing the Cuomo administration.