Iconic view protected for future generations
By Mike Lynch
The Adirondack Land Trust has preserved one of the most magnificent views of the High Peaks this week, buying 187 acres off Adirondack Loj Road and Route 73 just outside of Lake Placid.
The property offers a vista of Mount Marcy, Algonquin Peak, Mount Colden and other popular mountains. The Olympic ski jumps and Whiteface Mountain are visible from it.
The tract borders forest preserve and private land, and features forest and grassland habitats. It comes with a white cottage on Route 73 toward the Adirondack Loj Road intersection, but doesn’t include the other structures along the highway.
The land is classified as resource management, the strictest land-use designation in the park that is meant to protect open space. The average lot size for this designation is generally about 43 acres, according to the Adirondack Park Agency. The APA would allow up to four homes on this particular property, according to the land trust. Forestry and agriculture are considered compatible uses, in addition to residential development.
Hikers and others frequently stop on Adirondack Loj Road shortly after turning off Route 73 to admire the view and take photographs from the property. Route 73, which connects the Northway to Lake Placid, is the main road into the Olympic Village.
The trust plans to continue to allow people to use the traditional pull-off on Adirondack Loj Road for the view, but the property will be closed to the public for the near future while the organization works on a recreation and conservation plan.
“This is great news,” said Julia Goren, deputy executive director of the Adirondack Mountain Club, whose Heart Lake property is at the end of the road. “I think it’s a very big deal, because it really is an iconic viewshed that they’re making sure is preserved.”
ADK’s Heart Lake property attracts 100,000 visitors a year, and they pass by the acquired property, Goren said.
She anticipates generations of people will benefit from the “protection of that landscape” and looks forward to the possibility of partnering with the land trust in the future, though no formal discussions have taken place yet along those lines.
“That vista is a photo magnet. It is difficult to drive by without stopping. I frequently go there looking for photos —all times of day, night, sunrise, sunset, to see the changing weather and changing scenery in that one stunning view,” said photographer Nancie Battaglia.
The Adirondack Land Trust bought the property for $2.365 million from the McBurney family, who cared for the property for more than 60 years. The Adirondack Land Trust will retain ownership to create a recreation and conservation area.
“We were honored that the family reached out to us,” said Adirondack Land Trust Executive Director Mike Carr. “The property has a nice combination of open fields and views and then woods down to the West Branch of the AuSable.”
The nonprofit is looking to develop the land with accessible features to accommodate people in wheelchairs, strollers, walking aids and those who prefer a walk in the woods to an alpine scramble. The trails being considered would be wider than average hiking trails and have low-grades and compact surfaces.
This site represents one of 38 scenic vistas identified by the Adirondack Park Agency as integral to the park’s essence and character.
“It’s going to take us some time to get the planning gone, and implementation,” Carr said. “But, you know, at least we know that the view won’t ever change now.”