(8:15 – 9:00 p.m., join a Guided Crescent Moon Hike!)
Free event! All are invited! Enjoy local, seasonal refreshments!
Join our community for an inspirational and educational evening of local refreshments and “conservation stories”. Enjoy short talks by local landowners who have conserved their land, as well as unique conservation success stories from our regional partner organizations including the Open Space Institute, Scenic Hudson, Mohawk Hudson Land Conservancy, Rensselaer Plateau Alliance, Pine Hollow Arboretum, and others! Come away with new ideas about how conservation of forests, fields, water, and wildlife can succeed locally… Warm up with hot apple cider from Indian Ladder Farms and seasonal food tastings from farm-to-table chefs of Field Notes.
After the stories, from 8:15 – 9:00 p.m., join a Guided Crescent Moon Hike: tour the snowy trails at Five Rivers with local ecologists, listen for owls, and gaze at the winter moon. Dress warmly!
This is truly a collaborative event and will be a fun evening! The Town thanks the NYS DEC and Friends of Five Rivers for hosting the event at Five Rivers Environmental Education Center (56 Game Farm Road, Delmar). See you there! These events are co-sponsored by: the Towns of Bethlehem and New Scotland, Albany County, Mohawk Hudson Land Conservancy, Delmar Farmers Market, NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation, and Friends of Five Rivers.
(Stay tuned for “part two” of this “conservation stories” event focusing on conserving farmland: June 13th in the Apple Barn at Indian Ladder Farms!)
Questions? Contact Open Space Coordinator Karen Shaw at 518-439-4855 x 1106 or email@example.com
Thank you to the over 1,500 residents who responded to the Town’s recent Open Space and Farmland Conservation Survey! A summary of the survey results were presented to the Town Board at the December 12th, 2018 meeting. The Town appreciates your input and looks forward to continuing the open space and farmland conservation discussion with community members.Executive Summary of the Open Space and Farmland Conservation Survey Results
Survey comments received on open-ended questions:
Question 13: How concerned are you about development in town as it relates to loss of open space and farmland? Responses
Question 14: In your opinion, where are places in Bethlehem that are most important to conserve? Responses
Question 15: Please use this space to share your interests, concerns, and questions about open space and farmland conservation in Bethlehem.
Questions? Please contact Karen at firstname.lastname@example.org or 518-439-4955 x 1106.
The Albany County Agricultural and Farmland Protection Board has recently updated the Albany County Agricultural and Farmland Protection Plan, which includes recommendations that could benefit the Bethlehem agricultural community. For more information on the plan, contact Laura DeGaetano at the Albany County Office of Natural Resource Conservation at 518-447-5670 or Laura.DeGaetano@albanycountyny.gov.
Open space conservation planning has been actively discussed in Bethlehem for over a decade. It was identified as a goal in the 2005 Comprehensive Plan, and has been raised in Town Board discussions and by a number of advisory committees. To keep the community informed about the town’s ongoing open space planning process and efforts, this page is dedicated to relevant town documents, presentations, public engagement opportunities and related information as it becomes available. Please sign up for the town’s monthly e-Newsletter and Notify Me features to stay up-to-date on both the town’s conservation efforts and opportunities to get involved.
As open space land in its natural state provides a myriad of benefits to us all, the town will employ the tools within this document, and others as they are developed in the future, to continue to work to balance appropriate development with open space conservation, with the goal of protecting Bethlehem’s community character, scenic qualities, and ecological and economic values.
The town's stated purpose of open space planning is "to ensure that future consumption of land for development is balanced with the conservation of land for its open space value". With this in mind, and after receiving and incorporating public comments, the town has finalized an Open Space Plan that includes:
The ongoing use and implementation of these plan components by the Town Board, Planning Board, Planning Department Staff, and the Conservation Easement Review Board, will prepare and guide the town in responding to landowner inquiries about conservation opportunities, as well as inform the town’s development review and design process. Further, it will inform the use of limited financial resources and direct future funds to the conservation of open space land that will have the most beneficial impact town-wide. Having this open space plan in place will also support town applications for state, regional and federal grant funding for conservation implementation.
Key to the success of the conservation tools described in this plan is ongoing public engagement and involvement. Town staff and town boards are dedicated to working with the public, with interested individuals, and with land trusts and other entities to strengthen partnerships that support land conservation efforts that benefit both the landowner and the community.
Interested in learning about conservation opportunities for your land? Please contact Karen Shaw, Open Space Coordinator, at OpenSpace@townofbethlehem.org, or 518-439-4955 x 1106. Thank you!
What are these maps and their purpose? The first step in identifying and prioritizing open space lands in town was to conduct an open space inventory that included natural and cultural resources in Bethlehem. Using data collected from over 20 public data sources (including town, state and federal); inputting more than 70 data sets into a GIS mapping system; and reviewing community open space values stated in past surveys, focus groups and public meetings; the town developed the above four Open Space Conservation Values maps. These maps, along with field verification when needed, will be used on an ongoing basis to help inform town conservation decisions. Reviewing these maps, and the relationships they show, is a useful step in considering any land in town for conservation purposes. The many open space values and benefits illustrated within these four maps are summarized in the Open Space Plan linked above.
To view the presentation delivered by town planning staff at the 2017 Open Space Conservation Public Workshop, please see the following:
Conservation Easement Exemption Program for Bethlehem Landowners with 5 or more acres of open space
This summer, residents were asked to participate in a Scenic Bethlehem Photo Survey and we received over 300 photos of scenic and open places in town that are special to residents; examples may be viewed in the Scenic Bethlehem Photo Survey 2017 album on the town’s Facebook page, www.facebook.com/BethlehemNY/. These photos will be mapped as part of the town’s ongoing Open Space Planning efforts. Thank you to all who participated.
The town has mapped a sample of the photos received through this public project. Click on the image on the right to view the general "scenic views" locations, as suggested by participants and sample photos.
Town documents regarding open space planning
Examples of Open Space Plans
How can I enjoy Bethlehem’s open spaces and get involved?