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Sunday, July 30, 2017

Bill Pekarski: Day 325, Living life on my terms

Bill Pekarski added 4 new photos.

Day 325, Living life on my terms.

I had the opportunity yesterday to check out a place about which I was only vaguely familiar. I have driven past the signs probably a hundred times, but I never really knew what it really was. What I discovered was an absolutely beautiful and generous gift that was given to the residents of Potter County—The Saulter Preserve.

Like I said, I have driven past the signs so many times when I would be going to Shinglehouse or Olean along Route 44 North of Coudersport. Truthfully, I never really thought much about it; that was until today when I actually drove out and met some friends to take a look around.

The preserve consists of a 57 acre parcel of land that was donated by Mr. Everett Saulter in December of 1999 to the Headwaters Charitable Trust. It is managed by the Potter County Conservation District for usage by the public and schools. Essentially, it is set up to be a nature preserve to be enjoyed by the residents of our county and to leave a lasting legacy of Mr. Saulter and his generosity.

A great deal of work went into developing the site. Brush, fallen trees, and diseased trees had to be cleared from the property. As the undesirable brush and trees were removed, the other trees and plants strengthened and are now flourishing.

The nature trail is well maintained with various markers depicting points of interest and specific trees along the path. A booklet is available for visitors near the pavilion at the park’s opening that describes the numbered stops as well as the “TRACKS Key” for the tracks painted on each post.

Touring along the main path, hikers are introduced to all of the different varieties of trees and hardwoods that grow there via identification markers and the guide booklet. Aside from the trees, people are able to follow the path into the wetlands that lead to the south branch of Oswayo Creek. The water that flows there eventually ends up in the Mississippi River and the Gulf of Mexico. It is of vital importance and concern that the entire area remains pollution free preserving the natural beauty.

There is no charge for usage of the preserve and its facilities can be reserved by contacting the Conservation District. It is open from April 1 through November 1 each year. The site boasts a large pavilion with several picnic tables that was moved from the Colesburg roadside rest by Mark Long and family. The roof needed to be replaced as Mr. Saulter rebuilt the structure and fortified the supports. Running water is available as well as electricity and restrooms making it a great place for gatherings and reunions.

The property is treated like most state parks as in you take out whatever you bring in. Special care needs to be given to ensure that no one litters or does anything that could destroy the natural beauty. Alcohol, drugs, and firearms are strictly prohibited on the property.

To further preserve the land it was deemed that the property would be available to area schools for educational programs and purposes.

It is difficult to put a price tag on a gift such as what Mr. Saulter has given to all of us. The timber on the property alone has a value in the 7 figure range; but Everett was never looking for monetary gain. It was more important to him that he leaves behind a lasting legacy to the residents of Potter County. After touring the property, I have to say that he succeeded.

Mr. Saulter continued to work on the property alongside the conservation district and area schools for as long as he was physically able. As his health and ability to care for himself faded, he moved to Sweden Valley Manor where he still resides today.

I was given a photograph by County Commissioner Paul Heimel of Mr. Saulter receiving a special gift a little while back. It was a steel can that was used to sell the maple syrup created on his property from his trees; certainly a cherished keepsake that was greatly appreciated.

Today I am dedicating my progress to Mr. Everett Saulter. Thank you for your gift to all of us and for caring about preserving and ensuring the natural beauty of Potter County for years to come.

Everett will be 100 on August 5th. He resides at Sweden Valley Manor if anyone would like to send him a card.

1 comment :

Joe Lagrua said...

Happy Birthday Everette. Thank you for your generous gift to Potter County