By Mike Lynch
The Open Space Institute has purchased 2,229 acres in the eastern Adirondacks and intends to eventually sell it to the state, the nonprofit announced Monday.
Located in the towns of Chesterfield and Lewis, the land contains hardwood and softwood forests, wetlands, seven medium-sized peaks, Burnt Pond, and connects more than 10,000 acres of nearby protected land. In a press release, OSI said the state is expected to purchase the property using Environmental Protection Funds and the land would be added to the adjacent Taylor Pond Wild Forest.
Purchased from Bar MH Timber LLC for more than $2 million, OSI said the acquisition provides land for wildlife habitat, public recreation, and provides significant climate benefits by capturing and storing large amounts of atmospheric carbon.
OSI plans to coordinate with state Department of Environmental Conservation on potential trail development and ongoing management of the property.
The Bar MH Timber property is located within the Split Rock Wildway, a wildlife corridor connecting the Champlain Valley with the Adirondack High Peaks. The acquisition links the Taylor Pond Wild Forest to the east and Eagle Mountain Wilderness Preserve to the west.
OSI has now protected, through direct acquisition and funding support, more than 7,700 acres in the area, including Bald Face Preserve, Poke-O-Moonshine Mountain, and Eagle Mountain. Together, these properties all connect to Taylor Pond Wild Forest and establish almost 10,000 acres of conserved contiguous forest in Essex County.
According to OSI’s data analysis, the property stores more than 220,000 metric tons of carbon, or more than 100 metric tons per acre, in soils and trees. In a 2017 report, the USDA Forest Service announced that, on average, forests in the United States store about 85 metric tons of carbon per acre.
OSI’s Bar MH Timber acquisition supports stands of Red Pine found on rocky summits. The Red Pine Rocky Summit, a habitat type that is listed by New York State as a significant ecological community, has historically been threatened by development.
In the Adirondacks, OSI has protected more than 55,000 acres of land, including the historic Tahawus property, the village of Adirondac, and the Split Rock Wildway wildlife corridor.