On March 28, evening sunshine lit the slopes of Saranac Lake’s Mount Pisgah Recreation Center as schoolkids on skis rode the T-bar uphill and carved turns down to the lodge. Inside, Adirondack Land Trust staff and Saratoga Associates consultants welcomed the community to review conceptual designs for creating public access to a 238-acre parcel five miles north of the ski area.

This process began in 2016, when the Adirondack Land Trust purchased the property, then called Glenview Farm and better known as the spot to see Whiteface Mountain and the McKenzie Range from Route 86 north of Donnelly’s Ice Cream. At the time of purchase, the Adirondack Land Trust announced plans to evaluate opportunities for public access to the property. 

“We’ve always envisioned this as a place where people can enjoy the view — especially those who are unable to hike a steep trail to a summit or paddle to the middle of a lake to soak in the beauty of the Adirondacks,” said Adirondack Land Trust Executive Director Mike Carr.

The property, now referred to as Glenview, is managed to maintain the scenic vista, protect pollinator and wildlife habitat and water quality, and facilitate maple syrup production. Adirondack Land Trust staff visit regularly to monitor conditions and, over the years, have engaged volunteers to cultivate pollinator habitat, remove debris, set wildlife cameras, and complete other activities.

At the same time, the Adirondack Land Trust began outreach to learn more about existing connections between people and Glenview, and how community needs could be met by expanding that relationship through public access. In October 2019, staff met with Glenview neighbors to hear their input and concerns.

After a pause due to the coronavirus pandemic, the land trust contracted Saratoga Associates, a Saratoga Springs firm that specializes in landscape design and community engagement, to guide outreach and planning. This partnership led to a meeting in October 2022 for community members to share their ideas. That input was reflected in the conceptual plans shared with community members in March 2023. These plans included: a parking area, shelter for portable toilets, a pavilion, 3.4 miles of trails through meadow and forest, and overlooks for birdwatching, photography, and painting. More than 40 community members joined us on that sunny March day at Mount Pisgah.

“Glenview can be so much more than an outdoor space, it can be a community asset,” said Adirondack Land Trust Stewardship & GIS Specialist Becca Halter. “The interest and input from neighbors and community members is already shaping the direction we are going and will make this effort a success.”

At Mount Pisgah, five representatives of the land trust and four planners from Saratoga Associates greeted attendees at four separate stations. Each was dedicated to specific aspects of the conceptual plan for Glenview: an overview of the design and goals for the property; the trailhead; the meadow and forest area; and potential overlooks near the bog area. Posters showing potential uses and layout were displayed next to interactive exhibits that invited people to share how they like to interact with nature. The Adirondack Land Trust also shared an online survey for those who preferred to provide feedback online or could not attend in person; 75 people completed the survey. To see a complete summary of survey results, click below.

As a result of this outreach, the Adirondack Land Trust learned more about how the community sees this project. Neighbors voiced concerns about increased traffic, road safety, and human impact. Area residents expressed support for creating more free trails and outdoor recreation opportunities, particularly accessible trails that can accommodate wheelchairs and strollers. Many inquired about what activities would be allowed, from cross-country skiing to the use of pedal-assist e-bikes. Interest levels in facilitating human activity at Glenview are strong according to survey results and in-person conversations. There were also people who do not want to see any public use. Please click below to read the land trust’s responses to frequently asked questions about the Glenview planning process.

Reporting from local media has added more voices to the conversation. The Adirondack Daily Enterprise collected differing views from area residents in an April 3 news story, North Country Public Radio aired an update on April 11, and the Sun Community News published an editorial on April 27.

For more information about Glenview, contact Adirondack Land Trust Stewardship & GIS Specialist Becca Halter at (518) 576-2400 ext. 105 or . 

Image: Adirondack Land Trust Stewardship & GIS Specialist Becca Halter prepares a Glenview plot for solarization, or covering an area with heavy-duty plastic to kill weeds, before planting species to create pollinator habitat. Photo by John DiGiacomo