By Mike Lynch
Lake George Land Conservancy recently added lands that will allow them help protect wetlands and waterways near one of the Adirondack Park’s well-known lakes.
It bought 154 acres in the Town of Putnam, in the northeastern region of Lake George, and 150 acres adjoining Prospect Mountain in the south basin. The southern property includes the headwaters of a main branch of West Brook, one of Lake George’s largest tributaries. More than 1 mile of stream corridor has been protected.
Sucker Brook purchase
Most of the lands bought in Putnam are within the Lake George watershed and include 26 acres of wetlands connected to Sucker Brook.
In addition to protecting water, this purchase will help wildlife such as black bears, bobcats, and fishers. This region is a major wildlife corridor, according to studies done by the Nature Conservancy, which has also determined the lands are resilient to climate change.
Animals use the property when they travel between Vermont and the Adirondack Park. Its diverse landscape includes grasslands that offer bird habitat, and sphagnum bogs that offer unique habitat for wetland species.
The protection of Sucker Brook and its large wetland complex is a key component to the LGLC’s larger Sucker Brook Conservation Initiative, which focuses on 4,600 acres in the region.
The newly bought land is just east of what is has been known as the Last Great Shoreline Preserve and northeast of Gull Bay Preserve. However, LGLC plans to combine those two properties with its newly acquired land and call it Sucker Brook Preserve.
Gull Bay and the Last Great Shoreline both have parking areas and hiking trails for access to its property. LGLC says the trails and parking will remain the same, but will be updated with new signage and trail markers. The change is planned for this summer.
The land was purchased from the Rota and Rota-Poulin family, who had stewarded the property for multiple generations. LGLC said the lands could have been developed to create 10 homes and septic systems.
“At a time when land within the watershed is under growing development pressure,” said LGLC Executive Director Jamie Brown in a statement. “We are grateful that the Rota family chose to keep their land in its natural state forever and ensure that future generations will benefit from the water filtering effects of its wetlands and forests, its wildlife habitat, and its ability to protect the lake from rapidly changing weather patterns.”
Prospect Mountain purchase
The 150 acres LGLC bought near Prospect Mountain lies in the towns of Warrensburg and Lake George. It is visible from the Adirondack Northway and contains steep forested slopes.
The property borders state land on Prospect Mountain, village of Lake George property, and the LGLC’s former Berry Pond Preserve that is now state land.
The purchase protects headwaters for West Brook, a major tributary to Lake George. The waterway has been the focus of conservation groups looking to protect water quality in Lake George.
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In the early 2000’s the LGLC, Lake George Association, the FUND for Lake George, the Village of Lake George and Warren County, worked together to protect 12 acres of developed land surrounding West Brook and restore it to its original wetland state, creating an environmental park near Lake George. The restored wetlands now filter millions of gallons of water each year and removing excess nutrients and pollutants before they reach the lake.
LGLC purchased the 150 acres near Prospect Mountain from the McPhillips family, who have worked with the LGLC in the past to protect other sensitive lands in the watershed. They agreed to sell the land at a discount.
“The value to the watershed of the 150-acres is immeasurable, as the LGLC now protects the headwaters of West Brook, one of Lake George’s major tributaries, from all forms of threats,” Brown said in a statement.