Rebuilding and Conserving the Hidley Farm Piece by Piece
WHEN SHARI AND DICK GIBBS bought the Hidley Farm homestead in Wynantskill in 1972, it came with a little land (just 3 acres) and a long history.
“In a deed dated 1787,” says Shari, “Johannes Hidley leased the farm from the Dutch Patroon Stephen Van Rensselaer. The original property was well over 100 acres, but over the years, the land got parceled out — a few acres to this person, a few to another — and before you knew it, it was all in pieces.”
Raised on family farms in Minnesota, the Gibbses had land in their blood and a desire to
put the farm back together and protect it.
“We’re uniquely situated on a dividing line between rural and urban communities,” Dick notes, “and that makes the land increasingly vulnerable to development. We knew if we wanted to protect it, we’d have to take steps to do so. Over the years, whenever we had the opportunity to purchase any of the original land back, we did so. We went from our original three acres to just over 155.”
Today, the restored property is a combination of managed woodlands, cropland, sugar bush, and includes numerous trails and paths for hiking, mountain biking, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. It’s also home to the historic Hidley Family cemetery where one can view a scenic landscape featuring the Rensselaer Plateau.
ASA’s conservation easement ensures the land remains undeveloped as forever farmland and forest. “Land is truly a treasure,” says Shari. “We’re happy to work with ASA and do our part to protect and conserve Hidley Farm and Forest for generations to come.”
"We knew if we wanted to protect the land we'd have to take steps to do so."
- Dick Gibbs