Thursday, June 13, 2019

51,000 Acres, Rights Acquired in Raquette Boreal Forest Area

Three Rivers ForestThe Conservation Fund, a national nonprofit, has announced it has acquired ownership and rights on roughly 51,300 total acres in the Northwestern Adirondack Park.

The Three Rivers Forest properties include exceptional northern hardwood timberland near the headwaters of three major rivers flowing north to the St. Lawrence River – the Raquette, Oswegatchie and Grasse. The lands were purchased from investor-owners who had previously purchased former paper company lands, including former tracts of the Champion and International paper companies.

Adirondack Council Executive Director Wille Janeway said this area includes some sensitive forests adjoining the Raquette Boreal Primitive Area and is critical to protecting endangered spruce grouse. The Council has called for protection of these lands since the 1980s (you can see those recommendations in their 2020 VISION report [pdf]).

“This bold action and leadership by the Conservation Fund (and Tom Duffus) also allows for continued forest management and private leasing while protecting the lands from subdivision and development, so management can potentially adjust to better protect these sensitive waters, wildlife and forests of the Adirondack Raquette Boreal area,” Janeway said in an e-mail to Adirondack Almanack.

To make the acquisitions, the Conservation Fund used its Working Forest Fund program. Conservation easements such as these typically serve as ecological buffers to ‘Forever Wild’ Forest Preserve lands in the Adirondacks, and often provide more extensive motorized use along with logging operations.  Under The Conservation Fund’s temporary ownership of 33,000 acres it hopes to resell with easements, and rights to protect another 18,000 acres, the Three Rivers Forest is expected to be managed as a sustainable working forest, allowing hunting, snowmobiling, fishing, and more.

A press release sent by The Conservation Fund on Thursday says: “over the last decade they have placed more than 690,000 acres under conservation management through its Working Forest Fund program, with the goal of purchasing and permanently protecting five million acres of working forests. In New York, The Conservation Fund helped conserve over 440,000 acres of land including the former Champion Paper Company lands and the former International Paper Company lands as such companies were divesting of lands and creating uncertainty on the future of working forests.” At The Conservation Fund has worked in all 50 states since 1985 to protect more than eight million acres of land, including nearly 460,000 acres of important natural resources, wildlife habitat and recreational lands in New York State, according to the press release.

Adirondack Atlas has a map showing the large landowners in this area in 1959 here.  Additional layers at the Adirondack Atlas show the area’s current land use classifications and the public land classifications in 1973.

Map above was provided by the The Conservation Fund.

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8 Responses

  1. John Sheehan says:

    Way to go Tom Duffus and team! This is an important area for protection of rare Boreal forests, plants and wildlife and will help New York to complete the Raquette Boreal Wilderness Area. For now, it’s great to have the Conservation Fund managing these lands, since they are careful stewards, until the state is prepared to add them to the “forever wild” Forest Preserve.

    • Chris says:

      We do not need more “forever wild” lands in this state. That excludes most of the taxpayers from enjoying these PUBLIC lands. If the state does acquire this land the usage should remain the same. Open to hunting fishing and yes keep the established roads open for motorized use as they currently are. These areas are beautiful and should be accessible to all.

      • Suji says:

        Read: “Under The Conservation Fund’s temporary ownership of 33,000 acres it hopes to resell with easements, and rights to protect another 18,000 acres, the Three Rivers Forest is expected to be managed as a sustainable working forest, allowing hunting, snowmobiling, fishing, and more.”

    • Boreas says:


      I reread the article several times but saw nothing that states NYS will ultimately end up owning these lands. Is there an agreement in place for NYS to eventually buy the lands? I would hope the state’s buying spree is slowing down. This conservation group would likely be better stewards to sensitive lands than NYS.

      • Cliff says:

        As a resident of this area, this is how N.Y. State gets their foot in the door.
        Hunting Club after hunting club is being closed out, and INVADERS are being “allowed” into these areas to TRASH, then the State “steps in” and buys it, imposes “new rules”. gates are locked, and disabled and elderly are forced to WALK, if they want to go into these areas. People from out of our area, have NO respect for the property we “lessees” have kept clean for years. All the “state” wants is CONTROL.

  2. Paul Montpetit says:

    That’s the end of Trail riding……

  3. John says:

    ….Until the state takes it over and produces more poverty…..

  4. Davis Moquin says:

    Thank goodness some folks are thinking about the long term and the fragility and rarity of particular habitats. When mass extinction, global climate change and ubiquitous plastic waste isn’t enough for many to sway opinion, we are truly in trouble. Science may not be in vogue for too many today by t we best not ignore the warnings. I want my politicians and regulators to respect and protect the natural world. That’s the price for my vote and support. Please continue to fight the good fight.