The Adirondack Land Trust has announced the purchase of Four Peaks, a 600-acre tract in the towns of Jay and Wilmington adjacent to Wilmington Wild Forest’s Beaver Brook Tract (the Hardy Road trails), which is popular for mountain biking.
In Wilmington, mountain biking is powering a revival of small businesses catering to cyclists. In 2017, Wilmington was named one of “America’s 20 Best Mountain Bike Towns” by National Geographic. The community hosts a variety of trail systems built primarily by Barkeater Trails Alliance (BETA) in partnership with the Adirondack Mountain Club and Student Conservation Association. BETA is a volunteer-driven organization that maintains over 100 miles of ski and bike trails across six Adirondack towns.
New York State has identified the Four Peaks tract in its Open Space Conservation Plan for the potential to expand multi-use recreational opportunities from the Beaver Brook trail network, which features 8.5 miles of single-track bike trail. The Land Trust is expected to conduct an ecological inventory to provide that future trails can be sited with consideration of conservation values.
The Land Trust is planning to consult with BETA, the towns of Jay and Wilmington, and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation to plan trails that connect the Wilmington network to Jay. In the meantime, the land remains closed to the public.
Lake Placid Land Conservancy last year acquired land that enabled construction of a new 1.5-mile mountain bike trail connecting Wilmington’s community center to Hardy Road.
The Adirondack Land Trust worked with the estate of the late Martin Schwalbaum to honor his wish to conserve Four Peaks, which he had managed as a low-impact cabin resort. The purchase price was $509,000; the Adirondack Land Trust expects to incur $700,000 in cumulative costs before anticipated transfer to New York State as Forest Preserve.
Founded in 1984, the Adirondack Land Trust works to protect farms and forests, undeveloped shoreline, scenic vistas and other lands contributing to the quality of life of our communities as well as the wildness and rural character of the Adirondacks. The land trust has protected 23,637 acres to date.
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Photo of the view from Rattlesnake Knob at Four Peaks, recently purchased by the Adirondack Land Trust, courtesy Nancy Lane.