The Gateway Reserve is open to the public from dawn to dusk. A small parking lot is provided, but overnight parking is not permitted.
SMHT has completed a relatively simple plan for the property as shown in a sketch plan of improvements. The property has been fenced, signage added to identify the land as protected, a perimeter path has been mowed, a pond created, two benches installed and ramps leading from the relatively low land to the trail along the berm of the Madison feeder. The Madison Feeder Trail and an overview of the relationship of the Gateway Reserve to other properties in the local area is shown in this annotated aerial view. The trail along the Madison Feeder has been mowed by neighbors for many years and we thank them for making the trail accessible.
History: In 2013, SMHT purchased an approximately 4.4 acre property 3/4 miles north of the Village of Hamilton in the Town of Madison, NY. The Gateway Reserve is located at the junction of Johnnycake Hill and Lake Moraine Roads and provides public access to a hiking trail along the Madison Feeder of the Chenango Canal and a “gateway’ to a larger protected wetland.
In 2014, SMHT received grants from the New York section of the Land Trust Alliance and the Mid-York Foundation to provide improvements to the property for public access and SMHT’s education programs. Heritage Farm contributed two benches to SMHT as a pilot project to start a wood working program at Heritage Farm. We owe special thanks to nearby local residents who voluntarily mow the trails on the property and along the Madison Feeder.
As the property contains wetlands, and borders the Madison Feeder of the Chenango Canal, we anticipate developing new historical and environmental lesson plans for the Hamilton Central school 5th grades. This will enhance the current program, by bringing in the historical impact of the Chenango Canal on the region in the 19th century along with its current significance. Covering the construction of the canal and the feeder system also brings in aspects of geology and rainfall which supplied the water needed for the commercial use of the canal.
The Gateway Reserve was the subject of development proposals with the capstone environmental science class, ENST390 “Community Based Study of Environmental Issues” at Colgate University and the SUNY Morrisville HORT 105 “Landscape Planning and Design II” class, which adopted the property as a landscaping project. The Morrisville class generated ten proposed landscaping plans. Although these plans are much more extensive than SMHT could implement, the students’ proposals developed important new ideas for access, trails, wetland management, plantings and bird watching opportunities that SMHT had not considered.
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