Wednesday, April 24, 2013

State Acquires Cat and Thomas Mountain Parcels

DSC00080New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Joe Martens was atop Prospect Mountain this morning to announce the state’s purchase of more than 2,460 acres that will help protect the world-renowned scenery and water quality of Lake George and its tributaries.

The purchases, made through the Environmental Protection Fund, include the Cat and Thomas Mountains parcel, a 1,900-acre property in the town of Bolton (Warren County), previously acquired by the Lake George Land Conservancy (LGLC), which was sold to the State for $1.5 million. The State also purchased the 565-acre East River Road Tract of the former Finch lands in the Town of Bolton from The Nature Conservancy for $381,000. This parcel is adjacent to the Cat and Thomas Mountains parcel. The parcels will be added to the State Forest Preserve. The State will pay full local property and school taxes on the newly acquired land.

A portion of the Cat and Thomas property includes approximately 65 percent of the watershed encompassing the Town of Bolton’s drinking water supply at Edgecomb Pond, including Finkle Brook.

Lake George Watershed State Lands (2013)Two Queensbury politicians, who have expressed their broad opposition to state land acquisitions in the past, spoke favorably of this latest purchase. “This parcel is part of the Lake George watershed. The State’s acquisition is a small but very important investment that will benefit those depending on the lake for drinking water and help ensure Lake George remains a premium tourist destination in the years ahead,” State Senator Betty Little said in a statement to the press.

“As an avid hiker, I can attest to the breathtaking views Cat and Thomas Mountains provide of Lake George. I also remain committed to protecting the water quality of Lake George, as well as the drinking water for the residents of Bolton. This acquisition will both provide recreational opportunities and preserve water quality for the residents of the Lake George area,” newly elected State Assemblyman Dan Stec’s statement said. Ron Conover, Supervisor of the Town of Bolton, and Mayor of the Village of Lake George Robert Blais both also praised the acquisition.

Over the past several years the Lake George Land Conservancy has developed an extensive trail system at Cat and Thomas Mountains. Thousands of hikers register their names in the trailhead register each year. Cat and Thomas mountains provide spectacular views of the Lake George basin, Gore Mountain and Vermont’s Green Mountains.

The Cat and Thomas Mountains parcel is currently open to the public and will remain open, the governor’s office said. LGLC officials said they are applying to DEC to continue to maintain the trails through DEC’s Trail Cooperative Agreement program. The East River Road parcel is expected to be open to the public in October 2013.

The State is still expected to develop recreational plans and work with the Adirondack Park Agency to determine classifications of the lands. Once classifications are approved, DEC will be expected to develop a Unit Management Plans which will include a public comment period.


Related Stories

Community news stories come from press releases and other notices from organizations, businesses, state agencies and other groups. Submit your contributions to Almanack Editor Melissa Hart at

18 Responses

  1. laurie says:

    Any word on what will happen to the cabin on Thomas?

  2. Paul says:

    I assume they would burn it down when conditions are good for that, although maybe they dismantle these kinds of things now and remove.

    • John Warren says:

      Paul has no idea what they’re going to do with it.

      He’s entertaining, but please don’t be misinformed by his comments.

      John Warren

      • Paul says:

        True, I am just speculating based on some of the options for removing non-conforming structures from state land. If it has some kind of historical significance they could do something else.

        But on the burning I know that the DEC has said that cabins on old hunting club parcels need to be removed rather than burned. I assume for environmental and fire danger reasons.

        BTW why was my other comment entertaining? I think I am flattered?

        John is there any official word that you can add to your article?

        • John Warren says:

          As of today (May 16), the cabin remains, and a sign at the trailhead says that the camping is limited to three days. First come, first served.


  3. Phil Brown says:

    Joe Martens, DEC chief, said it’s likely that the cabin will be removed, but that decision will be made in the unit-management plan.

  4. Bill Ingersoll says:

    I believe that on other recent acquisitions a contractor was hired to dismantle and remove abandoned cabins.

    In the past it was common practice for the state to burn old cabins and leave the hardware, much to the dismay of all subsequent visitors. The West Canada Lake region offers a few good examples of this outdated practice.

    • Paul says:

      Too bad you could not maintain and use these places like “huts” in other areas.

      Seriously what is the huge difference between a little cabin and a lean-to? I guess maybe the fact that the bugs can eat you alive in the latter?

    • Bill Ingersoll says:

      At North Lake in the southwestern Adirondacks, there are two lean-tos that were converted from pre-existing structures.

      One was just a woodshed that had a lean-to shape, and was left standing.

      The other was a tiny log cabin. Someone cut out one wall, and now it’s a lean-to.

      • Paul says:

        Interesting. Thanks.

        I really have enjoyed the time that I spent in some of the White Mountain huts when hiking. I suppose huts in the Adirondacks could put a crimp in ADK’s business.

  5. Chris says:

    If you are going to post maps I wish you would make them big enough to read.

    • Bill Ott says:

      Right click the map, save to your computer, open in Irfanview or some other photo viewer, and it is quite readable.

    • John Warren says:

      You can right click and select ‘view image’ to go straight to the large original online.

      We’re working on returning that one-click functionality.

      John Warren

  6. Paul says:

    I think they can really boost winter use in some areas.

  7. Tony Hall says:

    There appear to be some misconceptions about the cabin on the mountain. It has no historical status. It was hauled up there by two developers who logged the property and then hoped to sell it by marketing the parcel as “a great camp.”

  8. Peter Bauer says:

    Yes, it’s terrific that the state will finally purchase Cat and Thomas Mountains. This will permanently protect and keep open a great natural and outdoor resource for the Town of Bolton, the Lake George community and many more. The views from the top of both are spectacular.

    But lets take time to herald the work of the Lake George Land Conservancy. Buying and holding and managing these mountains was no easy task for the LGLC. Their mission is to protect land, yes, but realize the tremendous effort they made to protect these mountains and see them transferred to the state. This project took years of very hard work.

    This was great work by the LGLC. Bravo!

  9. Paul says:

    From the photo. I would remind folks that you should not sit, or have your dog sit, where they are in this photo. Maybe they are on the rock but the dog is where it should not be. This part of the problem we are seeing on some of these mountains.