Tree nursery’s fate uncertain
The Saratoga County Board of Supervisors threw their support behind the Saratoga Tree Nursery earlier this week.
The reason: state officials have indicated the nursery may be shuttered as a way to help close the budget gap. The 250-acre nursery, with a staff of ten, commands a budget of around $750,000 which is offset by $250,000 in revenue.
County officials, in their resolution, said state officials should address the nursery’s business plan to “make it more self supporting.” They also said buying trees from other sources will cost the state more than they can save by shutting down the operation.
The nursery, adjacent to Saratoga Spa State Park, once produced as many as 15 million seeds a year for reforestation efforts across the state. They now produce around 1.5 million seeds a year.
David Lee, the nursery manager, told the Post Star in January that the facility was being “strongly looked at” for closure. Today, he said it remains unclear if state officials will move to shut down the facility, which opened in 1902 and is the last remaining state-run nursery.
“At this point, we’re still operating as normal,” Lee said.
Photo: Forester Michael Echnter shows a button bush seed sample while technician Mike Svoboda takes a break from sorting seeds at nursery in January.
– Drew Kerr