BETHLEHEM After years of planning, and donations from a new development, the Van Dyke land preserve has now opened.
The 33-acre property lies at the intersection of Van Dyke Road and Meads Lane in Delmar and sits on the Phillipin Kill, a meandering creak that flows through the property, creating a flood plain along the floor of a narrow valley.
A half-mile trail follows the creek through a valley and “gives people opportunity to get away and take walk through peaceful setting,” said Mark King, executive director of the Mohawk Hudson Land Conservancy, which created the preserve.
The official opening of the preserve was held Monday, Nov. 16 and was attended by Supervisor John Clarkson and Assemblywoman Patricia Fahy. Both spoke on the importance of protecting nature in communities. About 40 people attended the event, who shared the same interest.
With the preserve’s close proximity to the Bethlehem Central School District’s middle and high schools, and the Bethlehem YMCA, King described the location as “on the edge of very developed area and remaining undeveloped areas.” The preserve is easy to access by bikes, which is accommodating for students, and includes a parking lot for those that choose to drive there.
The creation of the Van Dyke land preserve was a provision required in the zoning of the neighboring The Spinney At Van Dyke housing development at 246 Van Dyke Road, owned by The Spinney Group. The company contributed the 33-acres of land for the project, provided an endowment for the preserve’s upkeep, and according to King have been very supportive throughout the creation process.
“It’s of huge benefit not only for our residents, but for the residents of Bethlehem as well. As development happens, it’s important to keep open land spaces, and we recognize that,” said Samantha Feinberg of The Spinney Group.
The Spinney Group first proposed their 104-apartment, 54-acre Spinney At Van Dyke housing development for those “55 and better” looking for an “active adult rental community,” to the zoning board in May 2008, and opened in October 2014. Though it took a while, the company is pleased to be able offer this resource to the community.
The Van Dyke Preserve is open every day, dawn until dusk, and parking is located off Van Dyke Road. Trails are intended solely for running and walking, and snowshoeing and cross-country skiing in the winter. Bike riding is not permitted.
To learn more, visit mohawkhudson.org.