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OSI Grant Helps Protect 2,434 Acres of Wild Adirondacks Foothills for Habitat, Recreation

Photo Credit: Brendan Wiltse Photography

CHESTERFIELD, NY – Thanks to grant support from the Open Space Institute (OSI) to the Northeast Wilderness Trust, a major land preservation milestone has been achieved within the Adirondack Park’s “Blue Line.” The newly-conserved, 2,434-acre property includes a vast expanse of Adirondack foothills at the headwaters of the Boquet River for habitat and recreation.

Including wild streams, pristine ponds, and mature forest, the property connects the High Peaks to lower-elevation lands near Lake Champlain. Nearby protected areas include New York State’s Jay Mountain Wilderness and Taylor Pond Wild Forest (home to the local landmark, Poke-O-Moonshine Mountain), as well as other privately conserved lands.

The land also includes some of greatest biological diversity in all of the Adirondack Park, including nesting habitat for rare Peregrine Falcons, a New York State-listed endangered bird; headwater streams that support rich native brook trout habitat; and the Eastern Pearlshell, a rare freshwater mussel found in only a few locations in New York State and at-risk throughout its historic habitat due to water pollution and dams.

“The protection of Eagle Mountain Wilderness Preserve is a monumental achievement in the larger effort to protect irreplaceable public resources within the Adirondacks,” says Kim Elliman, president and CEO of OSI. “The Preserve is a critical stepping stone for wildlife moving across the landscape from Lake Champlain to the High Peaks. OSI is proud to have supported this project, and we commend the Northeast Wilderness Trust on their tireless work seeing this land protected.”

“This is a momentous day for wilderness in New York’s Lake Champlain region,” says Jon Leibowitz, Executive Director of Northeast Wilderness Trust. “In contrast to the great wilderness areas of the High Peaks and lakes country of the central and western Adirondacks, the easternmost region of the Adirondack Park remains underrepresented when it comes to forever-wild landscapes. Eagle Mountain Wilderness Preserve is a big step toward ensuring that low-elevation areas receive equal wilderness representation within the beloved Adirondacks.”

The purchase of Eagle Mountain Wilderness Preserve is the culmination of a year of fundraising toward a total project budget of $1.8 million. In addition to OSI, major funding support came from Sweet Water Trust, Conservation Alliance, Gallogly Family Foundation, and Cloudsplitter Foundation.

Champlain Area Trails will team up with Northeast Wilderness Trust and Adirondack Land Trust to develop a footpath that showcases the property’s beauty while respecting rare plant and animal communities. In addition to hiking, fishing, wildlife watching, snowshoeing, and skiing, hunting with some restrictions will be allowed by permission.

Partnering with Northeast Wilderness Trust, Adirondack Land Trust will hold a conservation easement on the property to ensure it is cared for in perpetuity.

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