It may take three or four years to clear out 100 acres of land near Lime Hollow Nature Center in Cortlandville, but Glenn Reisweber, the center’s executive director, says it will definitely be worth it.
“This is good, hard, sweaty nasty work,” he said. “But the end state is well worth it.”
Reisweber and other staff at Lime Hollow Nature Center plan to begin the task of clearing out debris and trash in the coming weeks to help make way for a mile and a quarter to a mile and a half trail that will go around the marl ponds off of the Lehigh Valley trail on Gracie Road.
The land is owned by the town of Cortlandville, which gave maintenance authority to Lime Hollow Nature Center since it could not be developed, Town Supervisor Tom Williams said.
It was originally purchased by the town to help protect a nearby well site so development wouldn’t harm the town’s public water supply, he said.
“We are very enthusiastic about partnering with them,” he said. “They are good folks. They do good work.”
Williams said the expansion may allow trails to connect Lime Hollow Nature Center to Gutches Lumber Sports Complex, which would allow for athletes and attendees to travel between the two sites.
Reisweber said that the project will help visitors access the marl ponds, which are unique to the area.
A marl pond is a temporary pond that disappears as the water level recedes, according to SUNY Cortland’s department of biological sciences. They are marked by high levels of calcium carbonate, which both makes the water basic and sediments on the bottom of the ponds a whitish color.
Reisweber said the state Department of Environmental Conservation actually refers to the area around Lime Hollow Nature Center as the No. 1 place for the ponds.
Reisweber estimates that there are well over 250 old tires in the project area that need to be cleared out to create the trail.
“It’s going to be a long, long process,” he said.