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OSI Purchases Over 600 Acres Adjacent to Lake Champlain for Recreation and Water Protection

Photo Credit: Lake Champlain Land Trust

CHESTERFIELD, NY—The Open Space Institute (OSI) announced today its acquisition of shoreline property on Lake Champlain that enhances recreational boating and mountaintop hiking opportunities while protecting local water quality. Easily identifiable from western Vermont and the City of Burlington, the property also offers spectacular views of Lake Champlain and the Green Mountains to the east, and the Adirondack High Peaks to the north and west.

The “Trembleau Mountain-Lake Champlain Shoreline” property was purchased by OSI for $500,000 from the Gellert family. It features more than 4,000 feet of Lake Champlain frontage, and is also the scenic backdrop to Schuyler Island, a renowned day trip of area kayakers and boaters.

“The conservation of the Trembleau Mountain-Lake Champlain Shoreline property is a resounding win for kayakers, hikers and outdoors lovers alike,” said Kim Elliman, OSI’s President and CEO. “It will protect the Lake Champlain watershed, while keeping beautifully rugged land in the hands of the public. OSI is delighted to continue our commitment to the Adirondack Forest Preserve, an international treasure right here in New York State.”

“The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is thrilled to be working with the Open Space Institute on the conservation of the Gellert tract along Lake Champlain,” said DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos. “Ultimately, DEC plans to add this 618-acre property to the Adirondack Forest Preserve, where it will provide generations of visitors with peerless opportunities for hiking and hunting, not to mention scenic vistas of Lake Champlain.”

Located just 90 minutes north of Albany, the Trembleau Mountain-Lake Champlain Shoreline property features four rugged, recognizable peaks — Trembleau Mountain, at nearly 1,000 feet, is the tallest. Not only are these peaks striking from a distance, visitors are also treated to breathtaking views of the High Peaks, Green Mountains and Lake Champlain.

With regionally rare pitch pine populations, the property also provides habitat for regional wildlife, including nesting bald eagle, goshawks, grouse, turkeys and porcupine.

“This land has been an important part of our family for generations, and we can think of no better way to preserve this heritage than conserving it,” said former property owner Robert Gellert, on behalf of the Gellert family. “We look forward to seeing future generations enjoy it as well.”

“Over the past decades the Gellert family has been outstanding stewards of this wonderful property,” noted Elliman. “We applaud their conservation values and their commitment to protecting this land for future generations to enjoy.”

A railroad line separates the cobblestone lakefront from the inner part of the Trembleau Mountain-Lake Champlain Shoreline property. A network of forestry roads also threads through the property, providing opportunities for future trails. The peak of Trembleau Mountain will remain privately owned.

To protect the land, OSI worked with the Lake Champlain Land Trust (LCLT), a regional land trust that has been protecting natural areas on both sides of Lake Champlain for over three decades.

“This project permanently protects one of the Lake's largest remaining undeveloped shoreline properties, featuring rare wildlife habitats and stunning panoramic views,” noted Chris Boget, Executive Director of LCLT. “This important conservation effort advances several of the Lake Champlain Land Trust's regional conservation goals, including expanding public access, saving wildlife habitat, conserving scenic beauty, and safeguarding the Lake's water quality. All the people who love and enjoy Lake Champlain will forever benefit from this 'once-in-a-generation' conservation success story.”

The Trembleau Mountain-Lake Champlain Shoreline property lies across from DEC-owned Schuyler Island, a 161-acre uninhabited island involved in a Revolutionary War battle. Today managed as part of Adirondack Park, the island also features several unimproved campsites. About half a mile south is the Port Douglas Boat Launch Area, a public-access put-in that can be used to access the island.

The 618-acre parcel is part of DEC’s overall plan to ensure a net conservation benefit by acquiring at least 1,400 additional acres of property throughout the Adirondack Park for inclusion in the Forest Preserve to help resolve the Township 40 issue. As part of that resolution, New York State recently announced the acquisition of Marion River Carry, a 296-acre property in the Adirondacks.

DEC Commissioner Seggos signed ceremonial maps to resolve more than a century of differences between the state and Raquette Lake occupants located on 216 parcels within Township 40. As part of the resolution, the state acquired the property from the Open Space Institute, which contributed $1.3 million to the state in order to permanently protect the Marion River Carry and resolve the Township 40 title dispute. The property has been added to the Adirondack Forest Preserve and made open to the public for outdoor recreation, including hunting and fishing.

Looking ahead, OSI will hold onto the Trembleau Mountain-Lake Champlain Shoreline property until DEC acquires it for the Adirondack Forest Preserve. Trails will be created on the property after its transfer to the state.

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