Thursday, July 21, 2022

Family, Adirondack Land Trust conserve 107 acres in Keene

land trust KEENE, NY — A family and the Adirondack Land Trust have conserved 107 acres and a third of a mile of shoreline on the East Branch of the Ausable River upstream of the Keene town beach.

Chris and Audrey Hyson donated the land to the Adirondack Land Trust, which will pass the gift to New York State as an addition to the Adirondack Forest Preserve.

The tract includes floodplain and the forested lower south face of Baxter Mountain, a prominent part of the vista from Route 73 and Marcy Field between the hamlets of Keene Valley and Keene. The tract is contiguous with New York State Forest Preserve on two sides.

For generations, the Hyson family has donated land for public benefit in the High Peaks town of Keene. Chris Hyson’s great-grandparents, George and Katharine Notman, came to Keene Valley in the late 1800s. They loved the valley and acquired substantial acreage. Over the years, many of the Notman holdings have been dispersed to the community—the site of Keene Central School is the former Notman farm.

Chris’s parents, Winifred and Charles Hyson, honored their family’s wishes to maintain some of their land as Forever Wild when they donated 78 acres to the Adirondack Land Trust in 1996, including Round Top Mountain, which was later transferred to the Forest Preserve. Chris and his wife, Audrey, are continuing the tradition with this new gift of land, across the river from Notman Park and picnic area.

The Hysons had used the land for recreation and forestry. The Adirondack Land Trust will continue to keep the forest intact and pay property taxes until the land can be transferred to New York State, which also pays taxes and will open the land for hunting, fishing and other outdoor activities.

The mission of the Adirondack Land Trust is to forever conserve the forests, farmlands, waters and wild places that advance the quality of life of our communities and the ecological integrity of the Adirondacks. The land trust has protected 26,816 acres since its founding in 1984.

To learn more, visit or contact [email protected], (518) 576-2400.

Chris and Audrey Hyson on Baxter overlooking Roundtop Mountain, which they added to Forest Preserve through ALT. Photograph by Lisa J. Godfrey

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Mary Thill lives in Saranac Lake and has worked alternately in journalism and Adirondack conservation for three decades.

7 Responses

  1. louis curth says:

    So nice to read this article written by my friend Mary Thill about the efforts of Chris and Audrey Hyson to protect family land via the Adk. Land Trust. I take comfort in such uplifting stories and I hope others do as well..

    I’ve known Mary since she used to cover our ranger emergency incidents as a “stringer” for the Press-Republican, and that was more years ago than either of us would care to admit. Ditto for Chris Hyson who was part of the cadre of volunteer medics who assisted the forest rangers in our innovative “backcountry rescue” program back in the 1980s.

    The feeling of “community” that these Explorer/Almanack essays engender is really something special for all of us readers, whether full time, part time or wish we could be there Adirondackers. We can be assured of interesting stories offered by good writers, and can even add our own two cents in the comment section (without the vitriol and false information that makes so much of our social media a no go zone for me.

    In my humble opinion, moderated forums like the Adk. Explorer/Almanack are exactly what America needs many more of to get us back to talking to each other and restoring our faith in the goodness of regular people. The bedrock of a functioning democracy has to begin with people communicating without rancor, and seeking ways we can work together to help each other through difficult times – something our elected leaders seem to need to be reminded of every few years…

  2. David Gibson says:

    Wonderful news and history, special people on the giving and receiving ends of this land and river protection project, and pretty special comments, also.

  3. Todd Eastman says:

    Thanks to Audrey and Chris for conserving this land over the years and passing it on to the ALT for future inclusion to the Park.

  4. Daniel Nicponski says:

    Wonderful news! Many thanks to this family – both previous generations and current – for your stewardship and interest in preservation. This is a wonderful gift and I, as a personal forest preserve user and member of the NYS public, thank you immensely for your bounteous gift!

  5. Jeanne says:

    Thank you Chris & Audry! What a spectacular gift from the family!

  6. R.L. Stolz says:

    Thank you Chris & Audrey for your generosity!

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