Adirondack Land Trust transfers 17 acres to the state for $525k
By Zachary Matson
The state in November took ownership of 17 acres on the east shore of Thirteenth Lake in Johnsburg, adding the lake’s last stretch of unprotected shoreline to the Adirondack Forest Preserve.
The Adirondack Land Trust purchased the parcel and its 105 feet of shoreline in December 2020 and finalized the sale to the state for $525,000 on Nov. 9.
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The Garnet Hill Property Owners Association, which shares the only remaining private shoreline, backed the planned transfer to the state and helped raise nearly $200,000 for the land trust purchase.
Thirteenth Lake is almost entirely surrounded by the 114,000-acre Siamese Ponds Wilderness, and only electric trolling motors are allowed at the popular paddling, camping, and cross-country skiing destination. Brook trout, loons and other wildlife populate its waters.
While there are no homes built directly on the lakeshore, the 635 acres of the owners association includes about 100 properties on a hilly area near the northeastern section of the lake, including Garnet Hill Lodge. The association shares the last slice of privately-owned shoreline but has protected it with deed restrictions. The association owns a private beach and dock to launch kayaks and canoes.
Now, the state owns the rest of the 329-acre lake’s 4.5 miles of shoreline.
“When we mapped it, we realized this is the only piece of shore in what is otherwise entirely surrounded by wilderness.”— Mike Carr, executive director of the land trust
Carr said the trust started to hear from people in the area that the property was going up for sale. Staff visited the property’s owners William and Elise Widlund, who bought it in 2005, and found receptive partners, Carr said.
The trust bought the parcel for $550,000 after garnering a non-binding letter of intent that the state would ultimately purchase the land. The trust is currently holding five other parcels totaling 770 acres and an estimated value of over $1 million expected to eventually transfer to the state.
DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos in a statement thanked the trust “for their continued partnership and ongoing efforts to protect natural resources in the Adirondacks” and promised to work with “all partners in effectively managing this new acquisition.” The Adirondack Park Agency will review the parcel before determining a classification, according to DEC.
While small in total acreage, the purchase completes protection of the shore of one of the park’s most accessible wilderness lakes. A gravel path leads from a parking lot past a handful of popular campsites to a canoe and kayak launch. A trail along the western shore leads to Peaked Mountain, Hour Pond and deeper into the park’s third largest wilderness area. Carr said he expected the land would eventually be added to the wilderness area.
“One of the truly remarkable things with Thirteenth Lake is it’s a wilderness experience you can access with a wheelchair,” Carr said.
The Town of Johnsburg also supported the project with a unanimous resolution supporting a transfer to the state in 2020.
“Protection of year-round outdoor recreation is vital—not only to the local economy, but to benefit the health and well-being of residents as well,” Johnsburg Supervisor Andrea Hogan said in a statement this week.
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