SARATOGA SPRINGS — On Friday, Dec. 13, Saratoga PLAN, in collaboration with Rick Burke and The Nature Conservancy, signed into agreement the Burke Forest Conservation Project. The conservation easement permanently conserved just over 80 acres of forest habitat in the Town of Saratoga, on what is locally known as Irish Hill.
Rick Burke, owner of Irish Hill Century Farm, a thoroughbred breeding and boarding operation, grew up in the woods he has now permanently conserved. Almost 13 years ago, when Burke learned that Finch, Pruyn & Company sold the neighboring woodlands to The Nature Conservancy, Burke knew he wanted to ensure that the land that had provided for him and his family would remain forested for generations to come.
“There’s a lot of housing pressure,” he said. “Farms that my father, uncle and grandfather had rented, they’re all gone now.” Burke explained that he wouldn’t want to see a similar phenomenon happen to the woodlands on his property.
Burke purchased land from The Nature Conservancy and simultaneously conserved the land, in addition to some of his own acreage, and fulfilled a long-time vision. “I didn’t realize it’s been 12 years, going on almost 13. The 13 number keeps coming around,” he pointed out, chuckling.
“We’re thankful to be able to help Rick and The Nature Conservancy fulfill their vision of forever conserving this land for its habitat and scenic beauty,” said Mike Horn, PLAN’s Conservation Director.