By BRANDON LOOMIS
Three land preservation groups announced transactions protecting nearly 2,500 acres in the Adirondacks this month, with most of that acreage coming in a single conservation easement around waters containing a native strain of brook trout.
Other purchases on the Adirondack Park’s east side will protect historic Fort Ticonderoga and a scenic mountain near Lake George.
The big transaction was at the Little Charley Pond tract, west of Little Tupper Lake. The Adirondack Land Trust purchased the 2,122-acre tract with three ponds for $2 million in 2007, executive director Mike Carr said. Now a buyer wishing to remain anonymous has purchased the trust’s property for $1.9 million and granted a conservation easement ensuring that no more than one new camp will be built there.
Back in 2007 the fear was that inappropriate logging or sprawling camp development would fragment an important forest tract near the William C. Whitney Wilderness. It supported deer and moose, Carr said, and “the black bears had torn the siding off the cabin.” (The new conservation easement allows logging under Forest Stewardship Council guidelines.)
But after buying the land, the land trust noticed the pond’s unique brookies and had the New York State Museum confirm that they were endemic not just to the area but to Little Charley Pond itself. That makes them one of about 10 remaining strains known to have evolved in specific Adirondack waters over 15,000 years.
The trust sought a buyer who would protect the pond from introduction of other trout or predators such as bass, as happened to the native fishery in Little Tupper. The easement will exclude public access.
There’s a rock barrier keeping non-native fish from reaching Little Charley Pond, and the trust will continue managing the native fish.
“This is the [trout’s] last stand,” Carr said.
At Fort Ticonderoga, a key 18th century military post that attracts 75,000 visitors a year, the Open Space Institute provided $46,000 for the Fort Ticonderoga Association’s purchase of 47 acres on the east face of Mount Defiance. The mountain’s summit provides visitors a vantage point for viewing the fort captured by the British in 1777, and “the epic military landscape as visitors discover how the mountain shaped America’s history,” according to the association.
The Lake George Land Conservancy bought 317 acres on French Mountain in the towns of Lake George and Queensbury, for $525,000, the conservancy announced. Zoning on the property would have allowed for up to 15 homes visible from the Northway, Million Dollar Beach and Lake Shore Drive resorts. The land contains more than 2,000 feet of seasonal streams flowing down steep slopes into East Brook and the lake’s south basin. It will be open to recreationists looking for a view of the lake once the towns create a multi-use trail system on former logging skidder trails.