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Land Conservancy Protects 37 Acres on Bluff Head Road

The Lake George Land Conservancy (LGLC) has protected 37 acres in Huletts Landing, Washington County by purchasing a 33.3-acre upland piece and a conservation easement on the adjoining lower 3.7-acres lakefront property. As a result, this conservation project is providing permanent water quality protection by preventing the development of uplands directly above the lake, viewshed protection, and the addition of a small, family-friendly recreational opportunity.

Located on the eastern shore of Lake George, Bluff Head Road forms the approximate boundary between the two parcels that were sold by the Wilkening family. The lower property includes an old home (“the White House”), nearly 1/4-mile of stream corridor, and over 600 feet of Lake George shorefront. The upland property has an existing path leading to a viewpoint overlooking the narrows and Silver Bay on the western shore. The uplands also share a 1/2-mile boundary with Spruce Mountain, owned by New York State.

Current zoning would have allowed the construction of up to three homes on the larger parcel, and the smaller parcel could have been subdivided to allow for one additional home. However, the Wilkening family welcomed the possibility of protecting the land that has meant so much to them.

According to an oral history documented in 2010 by Friends of Historic Huletts Landing, the Wilkening family owned the property since the late 1800’s when Helena “Bunny” Wilkening’s grandfather, Smith Ely Jelliffe, bought 150 acres of land in the area. That land was then divided between his children; Ms. Wilkening’s mother was given the land that Ms. Wilkening enjoyed coming to for more than 80 years.

The conservation project was made possible thanks to the generous support and cooperation of Paul and Kaye Lawler, and Paul’s employer, the W. K. Kellogg Foundation, which matched their gift.

The Lawlers made a generous donation to the LGLC with the desire that it be used on future land conservation projects, to protect the land they love. As it turned out, this gift was just what the LGLC needed to move forward on the Wilkening project.

“I am thrilled to see my gift and the matching funds from the Kellogg Foundation being used on these great projects in Huelletts Landing,” Mr. Lawler said. “It’s a special place to me, and it will do so much good for the lake.”

“We are so grateful for the Wilkening family for working with us on this exciting project,” said LGLC Executive Director Jamie Brown, “and to the Lawlers and Kellogg Foundation for making it fiscally possible. It’s been more than 20 years since the LGLC has completed a conservation project in the Town of Dresden, and we’re pleased to once again be active in this tightknit community.”

“This is just the start of things to come in Huletts Landing,” Brown continued. “Foster Brook and other smaller tributaries flow through the area, which is mostly undeveloped. By protecting the surrounding land now we will safeguard the land’s natural ability to filter and manage stormwater for the health of Lake George. Additionally, we are looking into a number of other projects that will help to protect critical conservation values, including viewshed, in this part of the watershed.

The LGLC intends to make modest improvements to the uplands property to allow for minimal passive recreational use. A small parking area will be identified so as to not interfere with traffic on Bluff Head Road, and a short trail will lead to one or two picnic tables installed at the lookout area.

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