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FIELD NOTES: EXTENDING THE WILD

Critical Lake George Watershed Added to Forest Preserve
By Dave Gibson

  Third Lake Joe Martens, DEC Commissioner, announces the acquisition from top of Prospect Mountain. Mt. Marcy and the High Peaks in the background. Photo © Dave Gibson


Nancy Williams of Lake George Land Conservancy describes significance of Cat and Thomas Mountain acquisition for the Forest Preserve.
Photo © Dave Gibson


Joe Martens joined by staff of the Lake George Land Conservancy and other officials.
Photo © Dave Gibson


Top of Prospect Mountain where the announcement was made. Photo © Dave Gibson


The Narrows in Lake George as seen from Prospect Mountain. Photo © Dave Gibson


Click on image for a larger, printable view.



Over 2,000 acres of mountains, lakes and streams critical to the health of Lake George have just been added to the Adirondack Forest Preserve. The land is not only a recreational mecca for hikers, but also a clean drinking water supply for the Town of Bolton, Lake George. With the permanent protection of Cat and Thomas Mountain and adjoining lands, 46% of the Lake George watershed is now encompassed within the “forever wild” Adirondack Forest Preserve.

 The April 24, 2013 announcement was made by NYS DEC Commissioner Joe Martens and Nancy Williams, Executive Director of the Lake George Land Conservancy on top of Prospect Mountain.  Adirondack Wild: Friends of the Forest Preserve was invited to the announcement, and Dave Gibson attended the ceremony.

The land protected includes the Cat and Thomas Mountain tracts in Bolton above the west shore of Lake George. According to the Lake George Land Conservancy, which has owned the tracts since 2003, “rising almost 2,000 feet above sea level and located in the fastest growing town on Lake George, the Cat and Thomas Mountains Preserve directly protects the watershed of Edgecomb Pond, Bolton’s drinking water source, and the headwaters of Finkle Brook. This magnificent stretch of land is one of the largest, intact, ecologically significant landscapes remaining on Lake George and features over seven miles of trails and unsurpassed mountain vistas. The residents of Lake George have enjoyed the property recreationally for years.

NYS DEC wrote in its news release: “The purchases include the Cat and Thomas Mountains parcel, a 1,900-acre property in the town of Bolton (Warren County), previously acquired by the Lake George Land Conservancy (LGLC), which was sold to the State for $1.5 million. The State also purchased the 565-acre East River Road Tract of the former Finch lands in the Town of Bolton from The Nature Conservancy for $381,000. This parcel is adjacent to the Cat and Thomas Mountains parcel. The parcels will be added to the State Forest Preserve. The State will pay full local property and school taxes on the newly acquired land.
"By increasing open space funding by $2.5 million in this year's budget, Governor Cuomo has placed a priority on preserving and conserving New York's natural resources," said Commissioner Martens. "These land acquisitions ensure that a key drinking water supply in Lake George's watershed remains undeveloped permanently. This investment of $1.8 million to protect the 'Queen of New York Lakes' is part of a comprehensive effort by the State to maintain the Lake's outstanding water quality, slow the spread of invasive species and promote outdoor recreation and tourism. With this acquisition, the State now fully manages 46 percent of the land area of the watershed, most of it in beautiful forests that encourages outdoor recreation and protect the lake."

A portion of the Cat and Thomas property also includes approximately 65 percent of the watershed encompassing the Town of Bolton's drinking water supply at Edgecomb Pond. Finkle Brook, which is the primary source for Edgecomb Pond, runs entirely on either Cat or Thomas Mountains or on the water district's property.

Nancy Williams, Executive Director of LGLC, said, "We are thrilled that DEC is purchasing Cat and Thomas Mountains, these jewels of Bolton Landing, and that the land will now be protected forever as part of the Adirondack Forest Preserve. We have always felt a special responsibility to protect these mountains. They provide not only an important destination for tourists but many residents regularly enjoy the hike along our trails."


Updated 04/24/13
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Archived Extending Field Notes
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2013

12/16/13 Classification Deal Will Require Rule Changes read more >
07/15/13 The Indian River Tract: Lost and Found read more >
06/20/13 Fighting For A Wild Upper Hudson, 1968-2013 read more >
04/24/13 Critical Lake George Watershed Added to Forest Preserve read more >
01/30/13 Essex Chain of Lakes and the State Land Master Plan read more >

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The mission of Adirondack Wild: Friends of the Forest Preserve is to advance New York’s ‘Forever Wild’ legacy and Forest Preserve policies in the Adirondack and Catskill Parks, and promote public and private land stewardship that is consistent with wild land values through education, advocacy and research.

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