JOHNSBURG, NY (December 18, 2017) — The Open Space Institute (OSI) today announced the acquisition of a large-scale conservation tract in northwestern Warren County, NY. Permanent conservation of the land will enhance regional recreational access and protect sensitive habitat in the southeastern region of the Adirondack Park.
The 1,285-acre property includes Huckleberry Mountain, an elongated, open peak ridge rising 2,400 feet, and spectacular cliffs on the ridge’s south and southwest face. The newly-protected land adjoins Wilcox Lake Wild Forest, which includes Crane Mountain, a popular, publicly-accessible mountain peak.
The Huckleberry Mountain project is OSI’s latest conservation victory in the Adirondacks, a landscape where OSI began working in 1992 and has conserved more than 28,000 acres.
“The conservation of this incredible, stunning property is a resounding win for outdoor recreationists, and will open this beautifully rugged property to the public,” said Kim Elliman, OSI’s president and CEO. “We anticipate transferring the property to the State of New York in the near future, and expect it to be a great addition to Wilcox Lake Wild Forest and open up Huckleberry Mountain for public enjoyment.”
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos said, “With the acquisition of the 1,285-acre Huckleberry Mountain tract, New York’s amazing Adirondack Park just became more magnificent. DEC is proud to partner with the Open Space Institute to preserve and protect another irreplaceable piece of New York’s natural beauty. Protecting this pristine parcel will connect more hikers and outdoor enthusiasts to the Adirondacks and ensure future generations have the opportunity to explore and experience all of the wonder these lands have to offer.”
Despite having two access points to Rt. 57, and being located only 30 miles west of I-87, the property offers a remote wilderness adjoining Wilcox Lake Wild Forest. The protected 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 offers long-term habitat protection. Due to a diversity of ridges, wetlands and slopes on the property that support a range of “microclimates,” or natural strongholds better equipped to recover from disturbance, the property will remain a refuge for threatened plants and animals even as climate change occurs.
Today, the property already hosts habitat for threatened species, including Crystal Brook, a high quality cold-water stream and tributary of the Hudson River with excellent brook trout habitat; cliff faces for peregrine falcon, a New York State Endangered species that prefer to nest 50-200’ in the air; and a wetland complex home to an active heron rookery.
Looking ahead, OSI expects that ownership of the property will be transferred to New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and added to Wilcox Lake Wild Forest.