Exploring Lake Bonita in Moreau Lake State Park

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Exploring Lake Bonita in Moreau Lake State Park Saratoga Springs, New York – March 9, 2017 Today Saratoga PLAN partnered with Moreau Lake State Park staff to explore Lake Bonita, a recent addition to the park. Led by Jackie Donnelly, an experienced naturalist, eight enthusiastic hikers plus park staff followed the newly constructed trail around the lake. The sun was shining and the wind was blowing as the group observed changes in forest composition from the south to the north side of the lake, ate winterberries, and watched a mink run across the semi-frozen ice. Jackie discussed the unique ecology of Lake Bonita’s bog islands, which are inaccessible by the public because boating is prohibited on the lake.

The islands are in an acidic environment which supports unique flora such as pitcher plants. The group appreciated the opportunity to learn more about the park, and can engage in future events through Saratoga PLAN and with Moreau Lake State Park staff who facilitate a full calendar of public events throughout the year. Those unable to join can check out a preview of the trip on Jackie’s blog.

This was the fifth in a series of events that aim to bring the public and experts together to explore the ecosystems of the Palmertown Conservation Area, a natural landscape bordered to the north by the Hudson River, with Routes 9 and 9N to the east and west. PLAN’s first event learned about active forest management to address beech bark disease and deer overbrowse in Lincoln Mountain State Forest led by DEC Forester Rich McDermott, and included a visit to ancient Black Gum trees. The second event toured winter evergreens around Mud Pond in Moreau Lake State Park under the guidance of expert naturalist, Jackie Donnelly. The third shared the fundamentals of animal tracking and winter ecology at Vince Walsh’s Kawing Crow Awareness Center in Greenfield. Most recently, Saratoga PLAN and the Southern Adirondack Audubon Society partnered to lead a bird walk through Skidmore’s North Woods to participate in Audubon’s global Great Backyard Bird Count. Future events are planned as the weather warms up in the spring. These events offer opportunities for the public to learn about areas within the Palmertown Conservation Area and to engage with expert naturalists.

Saratoga PLAN is focusing attention on the Palmertown Conservation Area as a conservation priority. The area includes unfragmented forests which provide important wildlife habitat and timber, and protect the headwaters of the Snook Kill and Kayaderosseras Creek. A detailed landscape analysis identified the landscape’s high potential for groundwater recharge and resiliency, two important ecosystem functions. The Palmertown Conservation Area also contains existing public lands and trail systems, which can be linked together to create a long distance trail network connecting communities and providing recreation opportunities that span the landscape.

The Palmertown exploratory events are supported by funding from New York State’s Conservation Partnership Program for land trusts helping to accomplish New York’s Open Space goals.

Saratoga PLAN is a nonprofit land trust that works to preserve the rural character, natural habitats and scenic beauty of Saratoga County so that these irreplaceable assets are accessible to all and survive for future generations. PLAN helps landowners conserve farmland, woodlands and natural habitats. PLAN connects people to nature through an extensive trail network, including 10 public nature preserves open for hiking, biking, cross country skiing, snowshoeing, and kayaking. Saratoga PLAN helps communities create plans that balance growth with conservation to sustain the Saratoga Region as a great place to live, work, visit, play and farm. PLAN facilitates community-based conservation by partnering with municipalities to help them accomplish their community’s conservation goals.

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