KEENE, N.Y. — The Adirondack Land Trust has received a $99,300 grant from the New York State Conservation Partnership Program and a $75,000 grant from the North Elba Local Advancement and Enhancement Fund for a total of $174,300 in funding for trail improvements at Cobble Hill, a popular Lake Placid hiking destination. 

These generous grants support the work of people coming together to solve problems for community benefit,” says Adirondack Land Trust Stewardship & GIS Specialist Becca Halter. “These funds will help to improve this beloved community hike with a beautiful view of the village, Mirror Lake, and the surrounding area.”   

Since 2020, the Adirondack Land Trust has collaborated with community partners to plan for a safer, more sustainable hiking trail to the Cobble Hill summit. This group includes the Town of North Elba, private landowners, Northwood School, the Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, the Barkeater Trails Alliance, the Lake Placid 9er hiking challenge, and the Paul Smith’s College Visitor Interpretive Center. Planned improvements include a 200-foot wheelchair-accessible boardwalk, rerouting trail sections to prevent erosion and avoid hazards, installing a rock staircase to allow hikers to avoid steep rock slabs near the summit, and a new trailhead kiosk and signage.  

“This funding is crucial to move the project forward,” says Scott Van Laer, project coordinator and director of the Paul Smith’s College Visitor Interpretive Center. “These improvements will make it easier for beginner hikers to use the village as their trailhead to visit Cobble Hill and help anyone with mobility challenges venture off pavement and into the forest.” 

The estimated total cost for the Cobble Hill project is $227,000. The Adirondack Land Trust will continue to raise and secure funds, including gifts from community members, to help partners complete the project. Trail work for this multi-year effort will begin in summer 2023. Construction will not impede hiker access. More information on visiting Cobble Hill is available here 

On May 2, the New York State Conservation Partnership Program (NYSCPP) granted more than $3 million to 45 nonprofit land trusts throughout the state. Funded projects focus on water quality, farmland, outdoor recreation, and open space conservation to support community health, tourism, and economic development. These grants are administered by the Land Trust Alliance in coordination with the New York State Department of Conservation and financed by the New York State Environmental Protection Fund (EPF). Created in 1993, the EPF is funded by real estate transfer taxes to support capital projects for environmental protection and community enhancement. 

In March 2023, the North Elba Local Advancement and Enhancement Fund (LEAF) awarded a total of $734,000 to 20 organizations serving the Town of North Elba community through programs, activities, and facilities that improve quality of life for residents and visitors. Nonprofits, local governments, and public sector organizations are eligible to apply. LEAF is funded by a two percent occupancy tax implemented by the Essex County Board of Supervisors in June 2020.