Johnsburg, NY (May 7th, 2021)- Building on a 40-year commitment to land conservation in and around the Adirondack Park Preserve, the Open Space Institute (OSI) today announced the transfer to New York State, a scenic Adirondack property as an addition to Wilcox State Forest. Located in Warren County, the property includes Huckleberry Mountain, an elongated, open peak ridge rising more than 2,400 feet, and spectacular cliffs on the ridge’s south and southwest face.
The 1,263-acre “Huckleberry Mountain” property, originally purchased by OSI in 2017, was acquired by the state using resources from the State's Environmental Protection Fund. The permanent conservation of this land will enhance recreational access in the region, offer opportunities to connect New Yorkers with nature, protect crucial watersheds, and improve important wildlife habitat in this part of the Adirondack Park.
"Through the Environmental Protection Fund, New York State continues to invest in land acquisitions that conserve open space and preserve the natural beauty of this great state for future generations to visit and enjoy," Governor Cuomo said. "Preservation of the spectacular Huckleberry Mountain lands will benefit the region for generations to come, providing new opportunities for visitors to explore the outdoors."
"OSI is proud to transfer ownership of the incredible and stunning Huckleberry Mountain property to New York State as an addition to Wilcox Lake Wild Forest,” said Kim Elliman, president and CEO of the Open Space Institute. “When OSI first acquired this property in 2017, we knew that the land's permanent protection would be a resounding win for outdoor recreationists and we are glad that the property will be open for public enjoyment, forever."
Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos said, "The Huckleberry Mountain parcel is a renowned area in the Adirondack Park and DEC is proud to preserve and protect this irreplaceable piece of New York's natural landscape. Protecting this pristine parcel will connect more hikers and outdoor enthusiasts to the outdoors and ensure future generations of visitors have the chance to experience the scenic wonder of this mountain area, while also preserving sensitive habitats for wildlife. We commend the Open Space Institute for their partnership on this important acquisition."
The property adjoins Wilcox Lake Wild Forest, which includes Crane Mountain, a popular, publicly accessible mountain peak that also provides access to exceptional cliffs for climbers. The land includes an existing recreational trail that traverses much of Huckleberry Mountain, with sweeping scenic vistas of the forested, mountainous region below and neighboring Crane Mountain to the west.
In addition to providing greater recreation opportunity in the southeast region of the Adirondacks, the property also contains a wide range of wildlife habitats, including a high-quality cold-water stream—Crystal Brook—that is excellent for brook trout, cliff faces that are a preferred nesting place for the endangered peregrine falcon, and a wetland complex home to an active heron rookery.
The property was a priority acquisition under the New York State Open Space Conservation Plan and the Wilcox Lake Wild Forest Management Plan. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYS DEC) will manage this parcel and is developing a unit management plan to determine the best use for the trails and recreational access for Huckleberry Mountain.