As part of an effort to resolve a century-old dispute over the ownership of land near Raquette Lake, the state Department of Environmental Conservation has agreed to acquire not only the Marion River carry, but also more than 1,400 acres of land in other parts of the Adirondack Park.
In a letter to Assemblyman Steven Englebright, DEC chief Basil Seggos said the state is committed to buying from the Open State Institute 836 acres on Huckleberry Mountain in Warren County and 616 acres along Lake Champlain, including 4,000 feet of shoreline.
In addition, Seggos said DEC will be buying “some or all” of the following properties: » Continue Reading.
John Sanford, the writer who placed a series of novels and stories in Warrensburg, once recalled, “In the spring of 1931, when Nathanael West was writing his second novel, Miss Lonelyhearts, I was working on my first. Neither of us was progressing… and when West proposed that we get away from the city, I turned up the right place to go. I’d met an upstate game warden, and through him, we obtained, for $25 a month, a seven-room cabin in the Adirondacks, together with a forest preserve of 1,200 acres and a 50-acre pond – Viele Pond, it was called. There in that private realm, we wrote, fished, swam and shot away the summer.”
That Adirondack Forest Preserve that accommodated West and Sanford so hospitably in the 1930s is about to be enlarged by another 836 acres. » Continue Reading.
The efforts of a group of former campers and staff and community supporters have saved a wilderness camp that for more than 70 years has taught generations of young women life skills and environmental stewardship. Camp Little Notch a former girl scout camp abutting the Lake George Wild Forest in Fort Ann, Washington County, has been purchased by the non-profit Friends of Camp Little Notch (Friends of CLN) from the Open Space Institute (OSI).
Organizers say it is the only former Girl Scout camp in the United States to have been purchased by an alumnae organization and operated as an independent camp. Situated between Lake George and Lake Champlain, the property is an important migratory pathway for large mammals and a vital part of the Lake George watershed region. » Continue Reading.
A historic carry trail between Utowana Lake and the Marion River likely will be added to the Forest Preserve if the public approves an amendment to the state constitution to resolve a longstanding dispute over the ownership of more than two hundred parcels on Raquette Lake.
Under this scenario, the state would give up title to the disputed lands in exchange for the 295-acre Marion River parcel, which the Open Space Institute purchased this year for $2 million from Dean Pohl, who operates a cruise boat on Raquette Lake.
The deal is not set in stone. If the amendment passes in November, the state legislature will have to determine that the swap would provide a net benefit to the Forest Preserve. » Continue Reading.
The Open Space Institute has announced that a private landowner has donated a conservation easement that will protect a nearly 1,400-acre forest in the northeast corner of the Adirondack Park. The property borders the western shore of Butternut Pond and is bisected by several brooks, most of which feed into Auger Lake, which in turn empties into the Ausable River and eventually into Lake Champlain.
The parcel, a largely wooded Essex County tract owned by the Johanson family, buffers state lands, including Pokamoonshine Mountain, and sits within the viewshed of the historic firetower on the summit of Pokamoonshine, a popular destination for rock climbers, hikers and cross-country skiers. » Continue Reading.
For more than a century, paddlers traveling between Utowana and Raquette lakes have used a trail known as the Marion River Carry — a portage around rapids in the Marion River. In recent years that access has been threatened after the owner announced plans to build several homes along Utowana Lake.
A fierce opposition to development near the carry was raised by local residents and outdoor enthusiasts and today the Open Space Institute (OSI) has announced that it has acquired 295 acres surrounding the Marion Carry. » Continue Reading.
The nonprofit Friends of Camp Little Notch have signed an agreement with the Open Space Institute to lease, with an option to purchase, the site in Fort Ann where many of the group’s members attended summer camp as girls.
In addition, the Friends have announced that the camp will be reopening this summer for the first time since 2008. The Girl Scouts of Northeastern New York had operated the camp for 70 years previously.
The protection of Camp Little Notch, which is located between Lake George and Lake Champlain in the southeastern corner of the Adirondack Park, began two years ago and has unfolded via a series of creative partnerships since.
In November 2010, the Open Space Conservancy, OSI’s land acquisition affiliate, purchased the 2,364-acre Camp Little Notch, a former Girl Scout camp, from the Girl Scouts of Northeastern New York. In March 2011, OSI sold 1,921 of the acres to Meadowsend Timberlands Limited, a sustainable forestry company.
The third phase of the project, which is hoped to ensure the long-term protection of the property, is to sell the remaining 443 acres to the Friends of Camp Little Notch, a nonprofit group created by former Little Notch campers, counselors and supporters. The sale of the camp, like the sale of the forest tract to Meadowsend, will be subject to a conservation easement that limits development while permitting camp uses.
The Friends have signed an agreement that gives them three years to raise the $1.1 million purchase price. The group’s current lease payments are being credited toward the acquisition cost.
“This landscape has captured the hearts of hundreds of Girl Scouts over the years, and it is fitting that the Friends of Camp Little Notch are involved now in the permanent protection of the site,” said OSI CEO and President Kim Elliman. “This project, through each of its phases, has created jobs and tax revenue for the town of Fort Ann while preserving an Adirondack institution.”
This summer, Camp Little Notch is expected to run three one-week sessions for girls ages 7-17, and a two-week session for girls ages 9-17. Activities include nature exploration, low and high ropes course adventures, hiking, yoga, cookouts, the arts, social consciousness education and aquatics.
Camp Little Notch will also offer wilderness trips for girls ages 14-17, and a three-week Counselor-in-Training program for girls ages 16-17. Interested parties are advised to contact the camp director, Julie Schwartz, by phone at (518) 306-9239 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Camp Little Notch and the surrounding forestlands are dominated by northern hardwoods, an 80-acre lake that is drained by Mount Hope Brook, and a variety of rustic camp structures. Its lands are ideal habitat for a variety of Adirondack flora and fauna, including black bear.
If you ever climbed Mount Marcy from Lake Colden, you probably drove up the narrow road from Newcomb to the Upper Works trailhead, past an odd but massive stone structure near the southern entrance to the High Peaks. You might have wondered about this relic from the American industrial revolution, how it worked, and when it was built.
In a few months, the Open Space Institute (OSI), which bought the site from NL Industries in 2003, will install illustrated interpretive panels explaining the fascinating history of this important Adirondack site. I’ve been working on the team preparing these panels, and I’ve learned far more about 19th-century iron smelting than I ever thought was possible. » Continue Reading.
The Open Space Institute (OSI) has sold a 1,921-acre parcel on the former Camp Little Notch property in Fort Ann to the New Hampshire-based Meadowsend Timberlands Limited, a family owned forestry company that the OSI says follows sustainable forestry practices. The announcement was made in a press release issued today. OSI purchased the lands in November 2010.
The sale represents the second step in a three-phase project that is hoped to ensure the long-term protection of the property, which sits in the southeastern corner of the Adirondack Park. Meadowsend is expected to begin sustainably harvesting softwood and pulp products on the property within the next few years. “Meadowsend Timberlands is the proud new owner and steward of a truly special place within the Adirondack Park, the Little Notch forest,” said Jeremy Turner, the managing forester for Meadowsend. “Our stewardship of the Little Notch forest embraces a solid commitment of partnership between the old and new owners where forestry and camping, two traditional land uses, will continue. The Little Notch forest forms a vital link to the extensive private land conserved under a working forest easement, ensuring long-term, sustainable management forestry practices. The project culmination is largely due to the great energy of the Open Space Institute and the Friends of Camp Little Notch.”
In November 2010, the Open Space Conservancy, OSI’s land acquisition affiliate, purchased the 2,346-acre Camp Little Notch, a former Girl Scout camp, from the Girl Scouts of Northeastern New York. OSI has expressed its intent to sell the remaining 425 acres to the Friends of Camp Little Notch, a nonprofit group created by former Little Notch campers, counselors and supporters that plans to operate the camp facility as an outdoor education, recreation and retreat center.
Friends of Camp Little Notch’s mission is to provide opportunities for all people to practice living in harmony with nature, each other, and themselves, according to an OSI press release, has launched a fundraising campaign with an immediate goal of raising $250,000 by July 1 and a three-year goal of $2.25 million to finance the opening and operation of the center, including a new summer camp program.
Friends of Camp Little Notch anticipates opening the property for programming in 2012. The year-round center will provide retreat opportunities for a diverse population of individuals, families and groups, as well as partnerships with various community organizations. The group hopes to incorporate the rich history of the property into its programming, creating educational opportunities for people to learn about a broad spectrum of environmental issues and sustainable living practices.
Joe Martens, Governor Andrew Cuomo’s choice to become the state’s new Commissioner of Environmental Conservation, was instrumental in protecting the 1,423-acre Berry Pond Tract on Prospect Mountain that includes the headwaters of West Brook.
Protecting the land was a crucial part of the West Brook Conservation Initiative, a $15 million project to restore the water quality of Lake George’s south basin; as president of the Open Space Institute, Martens arranged a $2.64 million loan to the Lake George Land Conservancy to buy the property. “We wouldn’t have been able to protect the Berry Pomd Tract without OSI, and Joe Martens was instrumental in securing the OSI’s loan to the Conservancy,” said Nancy Williams, executive director of the Lake George Land Conservancy.
“Joe Martens understood the importance of the Berry Pond tract and the necessity to protect it from development if we are to protect the water quality of Lake George,” said Walt Lender, the executive director of the Lake George Association.
When Cuomo announced that he would nominate Martens to head the Department of Environmental Conservation on January 4, Lake George conservation groups were unanimous in their praise.
“Joe Martens has a strong grasp of the importance of Lake George to this area’s economy and way of life. We expect him to be an advocate for protecting the environment around the state and around Lake George; we all know that when we protect the lake, we protect this area’s most important economic asset,” said Peter Bauer, Executive Director of the FUND for Lake George.
“It’s a positive sign that someone who’s already familiar with our issues, who has an intimate knowledge of Lake George and the Adirondacks, has been appointed to the position,” said Lender.
“We feel his experience and leadership on conservation issues will set a good precedent for the Department and hopefully sets a strong commitment for the new administration on environmental issues,” said Chris Navitsky, Lake George Waterkeeper.
According to The Fund for Lake George, Martens brings a long resume in state government to the new position. In addition to serving as president of the Open Space Institute and president of ORDA, he worked in the State Legislature, as an administrator at the Adirondack Park Agency, and as a top environmental aide to Governor Mario Cuomo.
Martens studied Resource Economics at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and received an M.S. in Resource Management from the State University of New York, College of Environmental Science and Forestry at Syracuse University. Photo: Tim Barnett, Adirondack Nature Conservancy; Dave Decker, Lake George Watershed Coalition; Peter Bauer, The Fund for Lake George; Mayor Bob Blais, Lake George Village; Walt Lender, Lake George Association; Assemblywoman Teresa Sayward; DEC Region 5 director Betsy Lowe; Nancy Williams, Lake George Land Conservancy; with Joe Martens in Lake George to announce the protection of the Berry Pond Tract, 2008.
There were hints last week that it would happen, but it’s official, Olympic Regional Development Authority (ORDA) Chair and Open Space Institute (OSI) President Joesph Martens has been nominated by Governor Andrew Cuomo to head the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC).
Martens has quite a legacy already in the Adirondack region. Under his leadership OSI secured protection of the 10,000-acre Tahawus property and most recently the 2,350-acre Camp Little Notch in Fort Ann. Martens also spearheaded OSI’s involvement in the Nature Conservancy’s 161,000-acre Finch Pryun purchase. » Continue Reading.
The Open Space Institute (OSI) has announced the acquisition of Camp Little Notch, a 2,346- acre former Girl Scout camp in the southeastern corner of the Adirondack Park in the Town of Fort Ann. The Open Space Conservancy, OSI’s land acquisition affiliate, purchased the property from the Girl Scouts of Northeastern New York (GSNENY) “to ensure its long-term protection, and continued use for wilderness recreation and education” according to the OSI’s Communications Coordinator Jeff Simms.
OSI is partnering with the Friends of Camp Little Notch, a new nonprofit created by former Little Notch campers, counselors and supporters from around the U.S. and abroad that intends to operate the camp as an outdoor education facility, according to Simms. » Continue Reading.
Two new land deals were announced this week closing to the public 1,700 acres returned to Finch Pruyn, and protecting 1,400 acres in an Open Space Institute (OSI) conservation easement deal.
In a deal announced late last week, Finch Paper re-acquired from The Nature Conservancy (TNC) a 1,700-acre tract in Indian Lake, Hamilton County that was part of the 161,000 acres TNC purchased in 2007. Finch retained the right to re-acquire the parcel as a condition of the 2007 agreement. The land will not be open to the public.
In a second deal, also announced late last week, the OSI acquired through donation a conservation easement on 1,400 largely wooded acres in the northeast corner of the Adirondack Park from the Johanson family. The parcel includes lands along the shoreline of Butternut Pond and on Pok-O-Moonshine Mountain, a popular destination for rock climbers, hikers and cross-country skiers. » Continue Reading.
There is a movement afoot to transform the northern end of the Upper Hudson Railroad into a multi-use trail. Although the project has only just begun, Friends of the Upper Hudson Rail Trail have met twice so far in the North Creek area and according to organizers indications are good the new trail will become a reality. The entire route, from the North Creek Railroad Station to the Open Space Institute’s 10,000 acre Tahawus Tract is owned by NL Industries (National Lead, the former operators of the mine at Tahawus), who have been reported for several years to be eager to dispose of the property and salvage the rails. Access points are owned by Warren County, Barton Mines, and the Open Space Institute.
The route would be 29 miles long in three counties (Warren, Hamilton, and Essex) beginning along the Hudson to a bridge just below the gorge, then along the Boreas River, Vanderwalker Brook, and Stillwater Brook before rejoining the Hudson River near Route 28N in Newcomb and finally crossing the Opalescent River and into the mine area. Riders could continue past the restored iron furnace along the Upper Works Road to end at the Upper Works, a southern trailhead to the High Peaks and Mount Marcy. » Continue Reading.
On Friday, the Appellate Division of State Supreme Court, 4th Department, ruled in the Dillenburg Case that the state may continue to make tax payments on state-owned land. The ruling will ultimately protect the Forest Preserve, local schools and governments, and the local economy.
In December of last year New York State Supreme Court Judge Timothy Walker issued an order throwing out payments in lieu of taxes for state lands. The move threatened to have a huge impact on towns, schools, and taxpayers in the region. Town of Inlet Supervisor J.R. Risley, said his town has about 400 year-round residents, 10,000 summer residents, and that 93 percent of the land is state-owned. The ruling was expected to double the town’s tax rate. Twenty-two percent of the Saranac Lake Central School District tax levy comes from taxes on state land – the number is fourteen percent in Tupper Lake. The ruling had been stayed while awaiting appeal – it was #2 on Adirondack Almanack’s Top Stories of 2007. » Continue Reading.
The Adirondack Almanack's contributors include veteran local writers, historians, naturalists, and outdoor enthusiasts from around the Adirondack region. The Almanack is the online news journal of Adirondack Explorer. Both are nonprofits supported by contributors, readers, and advertisers, and devoted to exploring, protecting, and unifying the Adirondack Park.
General inquiries about the Adirondack Almanack should be directed to Almanack founder and editor John Warren.
To advertise on the Adirondack Almanack, or to receive information on rates and design, please click here.