AMSTERDAM - Marsh marigolds thrive in full bloom across the path from a centuries-old family cemetery. A few steps down the mowed trail, bloodroot flowers dot the path in front of a beaver lodge and a 100-foot beaver dam.
These features and more were unveiled Friday at a ribbon-cutting for the town's first nature preserve, the Mosher Marsh.
Set back from 262 Manny's Corners Road next to The Community Hospice and down the road from the Town Hall, the Mosher Marsh Preserve offers a combination of wetlands, woodlands and 4-foot wide nature trails that loop around the property.
The Leader-Herald/ Amanda Whistle
Ellie Peters stands on a boardwalk that crosses land she donated for the 43-acre Mosher Marsh Preserve in the town of Amsterdam on Friday, when the site officially opened to the public.
Ellie Peters donated the 43 acres to the Mohawk Hudson Land Conservancy in 2008. Peters' grandfather acquired the land in 1895. She grew up on what was once mostly farmland and said she now wants today's generation of children to experience the mingling of history and nature on the land.
"I'm so glad it all worked out," Peters said at the event.
Ethan Winter of the Land Trust Alliance said the Mosher Marsh is opening at a time when many fear state-run public parks and historic sites will close.
"The MHLC is opening up [the marsh], and they couldn't do that without private partners," he said. "It really highlights their role."
According to the Alliance's website, www.landtrustalliance.org, the number of nonprofit land trusts has nearly tripled since 1982, when the alliance formed.
The trails were mowed and maintained by MHLC and a handful of volunteers. Schrader and Company donated 80 hours of labor for the 200-foot boardwalk that crosses the wetlands on the property. Curtis Lumber provided discount materials. Mike and Marcie Love donated $4,900 to the project, and the county Department of Public Works helped with installing parking access.
The MHLC also received a $16,000 grant from the state Environmental Protection Fund through the state Conservation Partnership Program, a partnership between the state Department of Environmental Conservation and the Alliance.
A kiosk near the parking area details the marsh plant life and the history of the land dating back to the Revolutionary War.
Tom Bielli and the Natural Resources Conservation Service Wetland Reserve Program made four "pot holes," or shallow bodies of water, on the property designed to attract wood ducks.
Jeff Leon, a coordinator for the project, said at least 20 people already signed the guestbook before the grand opening. The project was completed in November.
The Mosher Marsh Preserve is the second site the MHLC operates in Montgomery County. The other is the 198-acre Schoharie Creek Preserve in Burtonsville.
Amanda Whistle covers Montgomery County. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.