Champlain Area Trails has purchased the 35-acre Essex Quarry property in the village of Essex, just a half-mile south of the ferry landing. The acquisition is the first step in CATS’ creation of the Essex Quarry Nature Park that will protect and showcase the property’s unique features that include fossils that are 450 million years old, a rare “limestone woodland” natural community, and a fascinating history. Stone from the quarry was used in nineteenth century building projects such as the Brooklyn Bridge and in the capital building in Albany. According to CATS, after trails are carved out, the Essex Quarry Nature Park will be a place where visitors and residents alike can walk through town and enjoy what they call an “oasis” for hiking, skiing or just unwinding. Plans call for the Essex Quarry Nature Park to include about two miles of trails for walking or cross-country skiing, along with interpretive signs that highlight the park’s special features. There will also be benches for relaxing and enjoying the peacefulness of the property. CATS is actively seeking funds for those improvements. They say while they are applying for public and private grants, they are at the same time, also asking people to donate. They are offering naming opportunities for benches, interpretive signs, trailheads and trails, and more. The names of donors giving $1,000 or more will be noted on a special plaque. Get all the details by phoning the CATS office at (518) 962-2287.