Lake Luzerne acquisition creates corridor linking Moreau Lake park to Ralph Road State Forest
By Mike Lynch
The Open Space Institute has purchased a 60-acre property in Warren County that connects protected land between Moreau Lake State Park and the Adirondack Park.
The rectangular shaped property ties into Moreau on its southern end while connecting to a 1,260-acre property in Lake Luzerne that OSI purchased in November 2020. That property is next to the 544-acre Ralph Road State Forest, which borders the southeastern part of the Adirondack Park.
Kim Elliman, OSI’s president, said permanently protecting the property is part of a yearslong effort to link Saratoga County to the Adirondack Park that will “strengthen connections to the land and connections between communities.”
OSI’s two recently purchased properties are expected to be added to Ralph Road State Forest, according to OSI and the state Department of Environmental Conservation.
“Protecting and making recreational and habitat connections between Saratoga County and the Adirondack Park benefits wildlife, the environment, and the regional economy,” said DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos.
This purchase creates a “green corridor” between Vermont’s Green Mountains and the Adirondack Park that can be used by migrating plant and animal species, according to OSI, which said the property is important for climate-related migration.
In addition, the nonprofit says the property may expand visitor access and recreational use of the Ralph Road and Moreau public lands because it has several roads and could host a new trail and parking area.
Lake Luzerne Supervisor Gene Merlino praised the purchase. “This way it stays preserved and people can use it instead of developers getting it,” he said.
Ralph Road State Forest is the only state forest located in Warren County outside of the Adirondack Park. It has no designated or marked trails, although locals use former logging roads for hiking and snowshoeing.
Warren County spokesman Don Lehman said the county had no comment on this specific purchase because they were still learning about it. However, he said the efforts to preserve land in the area and increase recreational opportunities at Moreau and Ralph Road public lands are appreciated.
“Ralph Road State Forest in the town of Lake Luzerne is an underutilized piece of state land that has numerous trails, streams and a beaver pond that offer good fishing, hiking, hunting and birdwatching opportunities,” he said.
The property was purchased from Margie French, who owned the land for more than 40 years. Located at the north end of the Palmertown Range, it is part of OSI’s work to connect the southern Palmertown near Saratoga Springs to the Adirondack foothills.