By Mike Lynch
The recent addition of 250 acres to the forest preserve near Moxham Mountain will result in a new trailhead and parking lot for climbers and hikers, according to one local official.
Located in the central Adirondacks between Minerva and North River, Moxham Mountain is a 2,361-foot tall mountain with excellent views and is a popular destination among hikers. It also has established routes for rock climbers.
The current trail from the Fourteenth Road trailhead to the Moxham summit is 2.5 miles long and ascends a thousand feet. It provides views of the Hudson River Valley, Gore and the central Adirondacks. But the parking area is very limited, and vehicles spill down the road on busy days.
The new forest preserve lands mean the state could put a new trailhead and trail on the southern side of the mountain. The access to the property is off Morrissey Road, which is located off Route 28N. The land is in the town of Chester.
Chester Supervisor Craig Leggett said his board approved a resolution in support of the state land purchase because it was told by state Department of Environmental Conservation officials prior to the purchase that the department would build a new trailhead, trail, and parking area.
“That was how it presented to the town of Chester,” he said.
Leggett said the board supported the purchase because the land couldn’t be developed for housing or commercial enterprises to help the town’s tax base. So instead the town will benefit from additional visitors coming to the area and spending money in the community, he said.
The purchase is also a benefit because it “adds to the quality of life” for locals, he noted.
The state bought the land late this summer from the Adirondack Land Trust, which originally purchased it in 2019 for $160,000 from the Brassel and Zack families.
Mike Carr, executive director of ALT, said his organization bought the land at the request of the state. ALT received $135,000 for the land and another $23,000 for standard transitional costs.
“The reason it rang for us is … it could provide better year-round access,” Carr said.
A new trailhead from the south would be much shorter and allow for more parking spots.
Benefits for climbers
Will Roth, president of the Adirondacks Climbers Coalition, said climbers are excited about the purchase. He’s still getting familiar with the property, but believes there will be one or two new cliffs for climbers to explore, including at least one with established routes.
Roth said Moxham Mountain fills a niche for climbers in that part of the park, where there isn’t a lot of climbing. A new parking area to the south would mean climbers could walk less than 30 minutes to climbing routes.
That’s big news for climbers because they have traditionally had to park on private land, with permission, to access the mountain.
Mike Emelianoff, a climber who lives near Moxham, said climbers don’t use the current hiking trailhead to get to the Moxham cliffs. It’s too far.
And Emilianoff said Moxham offers the only real climbing in that area.
“You’d have to go to Indian Lake, which 25 miles, or up to the High Peaks, or down to Lake George,” he said.
But before DEC goes forward on adding infrastructure to this land, the property needs to be classified as wild forest, wilderness or another state land designation. The property is adjacent to the Vanderwhacker Wild Forest, so that would seem a natural fit with that unit.
Once the land is classified by state Adirondack Park Agency, the state will develop a management plan for the creation of recreation infrastructure.
Land ownership on and around Moxham Mountain is a mix of private and public.