Thursday, September 11, 2014

State Acquires Former Finch, Pruyn Lands Near High Peaks

D08A9330The state has purchased a 5,770-acre tract abutting the High Peaks Wilderness from the Adirondack Nature Conservancy, the latest acquisition of former Finch, Pruyn lands for the Forest Preserve.

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.

MacWestTransferPete 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.


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Phil Brown is the former Editor of Adirondack Explorer, the regional bimonthly with a focus on outdoor recreation and environmental issues, the same topics he writes about here at Adirondack Almanack. Phil is also an energetic outdoorsman whose job and personal interests often find him hiking, canoeing, rock climbing, trail running, and backcountry skiing. He is the author of Adirondack Paddling: 60 Great Flatwater Adventures, which he co-published with the Adirondack Mountain Club, and the editor of Bob Marshall in the Adirondacks, an anthology of Marshall’s writings.Visit Lost Pond Press for more information.

21 Responses

  1. Neil says:

    It looks like Mt. Andrew can be legally accessed from the gaited road from the Santanoni parking area. Would you agree? (The map is a bit difficult to interpret.)

  2. Phil Brown says:

    I can’t say with certainty, but that would make sense. Mt. Andrew is on the tract, and it appears that you could reach it by hiking south from the road–subject to any easement restrictions, of course.

  3. Dan N says:

    This is excellent news. Another acquisition is always welcome. Great job, state!! thumbs up all the way!!!

  4. JFL says:

    Any ETA on Mac East and Boreas ?

  5. Alan says:

    I led a winter trip to Mt Andrew 30 years ago when the camps welcomed hikers so long as they didn’t mess with the sportsmen during hunting or fishing season. Now it would be a capital offense with all the ‘how come he could go and I can’t’ posts on FB and the hiking boards.
    Wooded summit. Can’t remember if there were views. Gotta go look at the photos.

  6. Anonymous says:

    On one hand I praise the state for adding these pieces of former Finch Land to the Forest Preserve. It helps to ensure the same sights, ecosystems, and wilderness that I have grown up enjoying will be around for my own children to enjoy in a similar manner.

    On the other hand I really question wether or not this whole sailing of former Finch Land is the best option available– I question what will happen to the lands that remain in forest production. From my own observations it it seems the few acres (comparatively) that remain in forest production have been hit extremely hard. When one drives north of Blue Mtn. Lake to the Salmon River snow plow turn around and back to Blue Mtn. the heavy clear cutting that has occurred on the ridge to the North / North East of Minnow Pond cant be missed. If one has the time to look at the updated Google Map imagery a similar method of heavy cutting can be seen on the land in Conservation Easement along the Snowmobile corridor trail that connects Blue Mtn. with Newcomb. 43.864265, -74.340861 are the coordinates.

    I worry that has more land gets passed on to the state, the land that remains in timber production will be hit even harder…. having possible negative consequences.

  7. dennis says:

    i love new york.

  8. Phil Brown says:

    JFL, I suspect the east tract will be purchased this fiscal year and Boreas either the following year or the year after. But I haven’t heard of any specific dates.

  9. JFL says:

    Any particuliar reason the FP land between Panther/Buell and Snowy will not be purchased by the state ?

  10. Dan N says:


    Unfortunately, that particular land was never a part of the original deal; we have to keep hoping that that will be purchased in the future.

  11. John Henry says:

    I am very to see this for all of us.

    I have question what harm would it be to leave a number of the camps up? pick the ones with most historic past. Rent the land to the hunting clubs with the 1 acre and restrictions. Hunting clubs have a long and important history in the park.

    I would think some sort of compromise could be found. Having hiked and ridden the old roads on my bike in this area I hope some of the means to get back there via horse or bike will be kept.

    Overall bravo.

  12. Phil Brown says:

    I fixed a mistake: originally I said twenty-eight hunt clubs lease the land. In fact, there are only two clubs, with twenty-eight camps.

  13. Christine says:

    Santanoni Club has two access roads and Lake Andrew?Mt. Andrew can be accessed from both easely as there are trails from both roads leading to this beautiful lake. There is even an old and very pretty camp along the shoreline and a 1940’s benchmark near the building. From the shoreline by the old camp there is a fabulous view of Santanoni and the Twin Slides. One trail travels most of the circonference of beautiful Lake Andrew.

  14. Christine says:

    Not just Mt. Andrew but Little Santanoni and Ermine Brook Slide can be reached with relative ease from this new state acquisition, at the very end of the Southern Road, one can follow old logging roads, and the Santanoni Brook which flows into Newcomb Lake, curving around Santanoni Mountain to rejoin Ermine Brook via mostly the usual Adirondack open birch forest…

  15. David says:

    That’s how I like to see my state dollars spent ! This is great news.

  16. john Labourr says:

    This will allow many more acres of Wildernesas in New York to no loger be a habitat for Birds and Other forms of wildlife as the forest grows and allows nothing to grow underneath for habitat and food. I now hike on State land around Lake George and never see any wildlife.. What a waste of taxpayer money in a state that can ill afford to spend into any more debt. How many acres do they need. If put up for a vote, these acquisitions would be soundly defeated. Is not this our money? It is an attrocity.

    • David says:

      The forest preserve around lake George is mostly wild forest

      not wilderness. Also I think that most New Yorkers support expanding our system of public lands. A constitutional protected forest preserve and world class state park system. Not bad for an eastern state. Open your eyes and take a walk in the woods.

  17. Neil says:

    Assuming the (two?)roads that cut through this tract will be off limits to motorized vehicles will they be maintained or will they gradually be reclaimed by nature?

    Will bicycle traffic be allowed on the roads across land that is designated as wild forest?

    Accessing the Erminebrook Slide currently entails an 8 mile road walk (feels uphill both ways!) followed by an hour or two of bushwhacking. It looks as though walking or cycling to the end of the southern road puts you about one mile of easy bushwhacking from it.

    Additionally, you could use the northern and southern roads and make a loop that includes both the EBS and the Twin Slide.

    I think the slide accesses will interest more hikers than the legal access to Mount Andrew, which is on a peak list that very few people have completed or are working on.

  18. william Deuel,Jr says:

    There are 2 ways to get into the Santoanoni club property. There is an upper and lower road. The lower road runs through the Newcomb Sportsmans club, which is not part of the piece bought by the state. The upper road by the hiking trail is part of the new tract.

  19. Neil says:

    I found the above map difficult to interpret so I printed it and used it to draw the outline in National Geographic Topo! software. Note that the result isn’t accurate for surveying purposes!

    Included in the .jpg image is the Santanoni purchase from 2007.

    Click here for the map:

  20. Neil says:

    Myself and BillB visited the summit of Mt. Andrew yesterday. For such a non-descript peak there is a lot of exploring one could do. We approached it from the north and crossed over the slightly lower WNW sub-summit (great views of Santanoni), dropped into a gnarly col and made the final approach up some very steep, cliffy slopes to the summit. We saw absolutely no signs of human visitation up top.

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