Known as Macintyre West, the tract includes 3,081-foot Mount Andrew and sixteen-acre Lake Andrew as well as Santanoni Brook, which flows into Henderson Lake, and Sucker Brook, which flows into Newcomb Lake.
“It’s an important part of the upper Hudson watershed,” said John Sheehan, spokesman for the Adirondack Council. “We think it’d be a fine addition to the High Peaks Wilderness.”
He expects the tract will be used by hikers, hunters, and anglers.
Neil Woodworth, executive director of the Adirondack Mountain Club, said people exploring the Santanoni Range will now be able to camp closer to the trailhead. In the past, hikers have had to hike more than four miles to find a lean-to and campsites on state land.
The tract will open to the public on October 1, when contracts with two hunting clubs that lease much of the land change. The clubs own twenty-eight camps, and on that date, the clubs’ lease-holdings will shrink to an acre around each camp.
Pete Constantakes, a spokesman for the state Department of Environmental Conservation, said the hunting clubs will have exclusive use of the one-acre parcels, but the rest of the Macintyre West tract will be available for public recreation. The leases will expire completely on September 30, 2018, and the clubs will be required to dismantle their buildings.
The state purchased the tract in May from the Nature Conservancy for $3.8 million as part of a five-year deal to acquire sixty-nine thousand acres from the non-profit organization. Nearly all of the land was formerly owned by Finch, Pruyn & Company, which sold its timberlands to the conservancy in 2007.
Among the Finch lands already purchased are the Essex Chain Lakes and OK Slip Falls tracts as well as smaller parcels scattered around the Adirondack Park.
Next on the acquisition list is the 6,200-acre Macintyre East Tract, which includes stretches of the upper Hudson River and Opalescent River. The final piece of former Finch lands to be acquired is expected to be the Boreas Ponds, also located on the edge of the High Peaks Wilderness.
It’s not a given that Macintyre West will be added to the High Peaks Wilderness, but that is what environmentalists are advocating. “It’s the only sensible thing to do,” Woodworth said.
Constantakes did not explain why the state did not announce the acquisition in May.
Photo of Lake Andrew and map provided by the Adirondack Nature Conservancy. Macintyre West is the dark-blue tract in the upper portion of the map.