Thursday, April 23, the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced that they had accomplished a critical land purchase for the southern Adirondack High Peaks.  The Nature Conservancy conveyed the 6,200 acre MacIntyre East Tract to DEC for 4.24 million.   This parcel is an important acquisition for public access to a wilderness paddle in the Opalescent River and to Allen Mountain in the southern Adirondack High Peaks.  This is the latest, and second to last purchase by the State of the 69,000 acres of former Finch Pruyn lands.  The final purchase will be the much acclaimed Boreas Ponds Tract which is likely to be brought into state ownership next year.

The announcement of the MacIntyre East  purchase was made during what Governor Cuomo proclaimed as “Earth Week… a weeklong celebration of New York’s commitment and accomplishments to protecting our environment, conserving open space, increasing access to the state’s vast and magnificent natural resources, implementing clean energy initiatives and preparing for the effects of climate change.”   This purchase was funded by the Environmental Protection Fund (EPF). Many ADK members supported our efforts to increase the size of the EPF and therefore the amount of money available for buying valuable properties like this one.

The MacIntyre East Tract will also provide opportunities to paddle “more than five miles of the wild Hudson River, seven miles of the Opalescent River, Sanford Lake, and Upper Twin and LeClair brooks.”  DEC also will be exploring developing a new trail to Allen Mountain and other High Peaks.  The new purchase will provide new opportunities for camping and backpacking in all of these areas.

The next steps for the property will involve intensive resource studies by the Adirondack Park Agency (APA) and DEC to determine how the land should be classified and managed. The public will have opportunity to comment throughout the process. You can read more about Adirondack Park on the APA website and review existing classification regime and definitions in the Adirondack State Land Master Plan (APSLMP).  You can also review DEC management guidance and plan development process on the DEC website.

Photo Credit: New York State Department of Environmental Conservation

Neil Woodworth is the Adirondack Mountain Club’s Executive Director.  He is a graduate of Albany Law School and practiced litigation law for 10 years. He still serves and ADK’s lawyer and lobbyist.  Neil also enjoys many outdoor activities.