Hal Moore and Libby Yokum stand on the New Land Trust in Saranac which consists of 287 acres, 10-12 miles of trails for hiking, snowshoeing and cross country skiing, a meadow and stage for music and a large stone labyrinth.
Photo by Stephen Bartlett.
Other uses at the property have included a sweat lodge, herb walks and a yearly gathering during the summer.
Jake Swamp, founder of the Tree of Peace Society, once planted a Tree of Peace on the property.
Over the past few years the property has taken on a slightly different feel, with the Scouts using it and many people coming to hike, ski and snow shoe, though it has maintained its educational and recreational component, such as a new trail for tree identification.
“For me personally, it has been a great learning experience over 40 years of being involved with the same piece of land,” Moore said. “I have watched the land itself change and have seen how different people have been educated there and affected by it. Being able to grow up there has taught me a lot about the natural environment.”
Moore has seen fields evolve into forests and watched some trees grow and others die.
Moore, a local woodworker by trade, is excited about the festival.
“It is an opportunity for people to get out and exercise,” he said. “Fall is a beautiful time of year to experience stuff and share food and community with other people and make new friends.”
Moore is Libby Yokum’s brother-in-law, and she would visit the area at least once a year for the celebration. Today, she’s a board member and cares deeply about the property.
She has seen changes herself as board members work to make the area even more inviting, adding a wooden bench here, a small map there and ensuring the upkeep of the trails.
“A lot of people didn’t know about this resource,” Yokum said. “But this place has everything.”
She urged the public to attend the Fall Festival, to learn to cook, listen to music, discover secrets about the North Country or to simply “walk the trails.”