Intends to sell land to the state for forest preserve
By Mike Lynch
The $300,000 purchase, which is in the town of Keene, includes segments of hiking trails that lead to Snow, Rooster Comb, the Wolfjaws and other mountains within the High Peaks Wilderness.
The length of the trails adds up to about 1 mile and includes two intersections. They can be accessed from AMR property and through a trail that starts on Route 73 and leads hikers through private land to the ALT property.
“It is a key part of the trail system,” said Megan Stevenson, land protection manager for ALT. “The fact that the community’s been hiking these trails for decades, they’re such iconic trails. It’s great to be a part of protecting them for the community.”
ALT intends to sell the land, plus an adjoining 25 acres called the Deer Brook property, to the state for inclusion in the Adirondack Forest Preserve. In the meantime, it will continue to allow the public to access the trails. The land trust previously acquired the 25 acres as part of a recent merger with the Lake Placid Land Conservancy.
The state Department of Environmental Conservation confirmed it is working with the land trust to acquire the property for the forest preserve.
The purchase also contains 1,844 feet of floodplain on the East Branch of the Ausable River.
The parcel had been owned by the same family since 1894 when John Holmes Maghee of Morristown, New Jersey, and Keene Valley, purchased it from George and Didamina Beede. The land trust purchased it on May 11 from a fourth-generation family descendant, Craig Bejnar.
The property’s steep terrain includes sheer cliffs, glacial outcroppings, large hemlock trees and numerous unnamed streams.
Stevenson said the property’s existing trails, river frontage, proximity to the High Peaks and “landlocked” location that made it undesirable for development make it a great fit for the forest preserve.
“It was kind of a no-brainer,” Stevenson said.
(Editor’s note: This story was updated on June 8 to include a statement from the state Department of Environmental Conservation that it intends to purchase the land for the forest preserve.)