Saturday, November 28, 2020

OSI Protects Warren County Property in Southern Adirondack Foothills

Newly protected property, located west of the West Mountain Ski Area, aids in clean water protection and efforts to fight climate change

The Open Space Institute (OSI) has announced the permanent protection of land in the Town of Lake Luzerne- building on over thirty years of land protection in and around the Adirondack Park Preserve. The town is composed of hard and softwood forests and wetlands, within the Hudson River watershed. This acquisition will be providing protections for clean water, as well as contributing to the fight against climate change via the capture of carbon.

This newly protected “West Mountain” property consists of 1,260 acres west of the West Mountain Ski Area. It lays between the southeastern boundary of the Adirondack Park and the Moreau Lake State Park, adjacent to Ralph Road State Forest. Along with reducing carbon and the protection of clean water, conservation of this area will also aim to support regional connectivity, wildlife habitat, and recreation. The land is protected against future development, and this acquisition was a critical step towards establishing the regional connectivity of the forested lands within.

“In fast growing regions like Warren County, it is becoming rarer to find a property of this size that exemplifies the many of the benefits of protected land— supporting clean water, wildlife habitat, recreation , and the storage of carbon to help fight climate change,” said Kim Elliman, president and CEO of OSI.

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos said, “OSI plays a critical role in conservation efforts in the Adirondack foothills and across the state. In addition to protecting water quality and helping to capture greenhouse gas emissions, the acquisition of the West Mountain property strengthens ongoing efforts to connect visitors with the countless recreational opportunities at the Ralph Road State Forest and elsewhere in the Lake Luzerne area.”

The West Mountain Property is a heavily forested land, and captures significant amounts of carbon, according to OSI’s 2020 carbon analysis of the land. The property stores around 116,000 metric tons of carbon, which is well above average. This makes protecting this land crucial to providing a natural climate solution in the fight against climate change. The land is positioned as such to support a diverse array of plants and wildlife even as the climate changes.

Beyond the ecological benefits of protection, this land is known to provide the best and one of the only remaining habitat links between Vermont’s Green Mountains, and the Adirondacks. The property is expected to be added to Ralph Road State Forest using Environmental Protection Funding (EPF). Once the transfer is complete, OSI will have helped the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) more than triple the size of Ralph Road State Forest.

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