Molpus Woodlands Group has purchased the 112,238-acre holdings of The Forestland Group. A price was not disclosed. The purchase makes Molpus, of Philadelphia, Mississippi, the Adirondack Park’s largest private landowner at more than 273,000 acres. [Note: This story has been corrected to reflect that Molpus is in fact the largest private landowner – in recent years Lyme Timber Company has sold 121,000 acres and now owns 239,500].
The lands are in Lewis, St. Lawrence and Franklin counties, and include frontage on several northern-flowing rivers, including the St. Regis and the Grasse. Prior to The Forestland Group, the lands were owned by Champion International. Molpus had owned only 30,000 acres (near Saranac Lake) until its January 2014 purchase of nearly 131,000 acres in St. Lawrence, Clinton, Franklin and Lewis counties from Rayonier Forest Resources.
The Adirondack Council praised the sale in a statement to the press. “We are pleased to see that Molpus is making a long term investment in the Adirondack Park’s economy and will be helping to stabilize woodlands employment by keeping these lands in production,” William C. Janeway, Executive Director of the Adirondack Council, said. “We urge the company to continue to manage these lands under a third-party certified sustainable management plan, such as the Forest Stewardship Council or Sustainable Forestry Initiative. We also call on state officials to assist the company in achieving this. New York taxpayers own a conservation easement on all of these lands and have stake in keeping them healthy.”
“Well-managed commercial timberlands are an important part of the Adirondack Park’s economy and its ecology,” Janeway said. “Forests that are managed for timber provide plant and wildlife habitat that may not be as common on the forever wild lands of the Forest Preserve, and vice versa. Public lands and waters bring millions of visitors to the Park each year. Both public and private lands contribute to the Park’s wild beauty and its biological diversity.”
Molpus’s January purchase included parcels on Middle Branch of the Oswegatchie River in Lewis County, extensive shoreline on the Carry Falls Reservoir, headwaters of the South Branch of the Grasse River, and extensive boreal lands east of Carry Falls in St. Lawrence and Franklin counties.
The Adirondack Park is the largest park in the contiguous United States. It contains the largest intact, temperate deciduous forest ecosystem in the world. Most of the Park’s private lands are devoted to commercial forestry. More than 2.5 million acres (almost half) are state-owned public Forest Preserve lands protected by the NYS Constitution’s Forever Wild Clause, which bans logging or development.
Photos: Above, a log yard in Tupper Lake; and below, Adirondack forest communities (courtesy the Adirondack Ecological Center).