Hike set at Big Woods nature preserve

WILLSBORO The Nature Conservancy and Town of Willsboro are hosting a hike on Saturday, May 10 at the Big Woods Natural Area behind the old Willsboro School. The 100-acre property features a high-quality floodplain forest, riparian wetlands, a sandplain forest on the flat uplands and excellent wildlife habitat. We invite people to walk through Big Woods and see the great asset it could be for the town, said Chris Maron, Champlain Valley Program Director for the Nature Conservancy which currently owns the property. Well walk through the upland forest, go down to the river trail to see sycamore trees and the wetland, hike up a path to the upland trail, and then return to the old school. It is a pretty easy hike that can be enjoyed by everybody. The Conservancy has proposed that the Town own the nature park, said Willsboro Supervisor Lori Spooner, so we want to see the benefits it can provide. We want to provide outdoor recreation opportunities for Willsboro but dont want to incur additional costs. This hike will give us an idea of what the nature park may offer. Willsboro resident, Laura Smith, has enlisted people to help manage the preserve. I already have 39 people who volunteered to be in a Friends of Big Woods Committee, she said. We can maintain trails and offer other assistance so that the cost to the town is minimized. A Friends Group will be a great help, said Maron and encourage a stronger sense of community. Willsboro will be fortunate to have a nature preserve so close to the hamlet. Studies show that people and businesses want to have easy access to places like Big Woods. We can talk about this as we walk through the woods, see the wildflowers, and feel the fresh air. The hike is free and open to the public. If interested, meet at the old school parking lot at 10 a.m.. The hike should last until about 12 p.m. The Nature Conservancy is a non-profit conservation organization whose purpose is to preserve plants, animals and natural communities that represent the diversity of life on Earth by protecting the lands and waters they need to survive. The Adirondack Chapter office is in Keene Valley, 576-2082).

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