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Land trust protects Vanderwhacker inholding

Adirondack Land Trust staff stand in an inholding in the Vanderwhacker Mountain Wild Forest. (Provided photo — Kathy Woughter, Adirondack Land Trust)

MINERVA — The Adirondack Land Trust has purchased 60 acres surrounded by the Vanderwhacker Mountain Wild Forest, closing a gap in the New York state-owned Forest Preserve.

An inholding is privately owned land inside the boundary of publicly conserved land such as a state-designated Adirondack “wilderness” or “wild forest” area. Inholdings result from private ownership of lands predating public protection of surrounding lands. The Vanderwhacker inholding included a motorized private right-of-way on the Lost Pond Mountain Trail to reach the property. That right-of-way will now be erased, but the trail remains open to the public for snowmobiling.

“In addition to our focus on large intact wildlands, we work to protect small but key tracts that protect New York’s collective investment in the Forest Preserve and improve the connectivity of the wider landscape,” said Bill Paternotte, board chair of the Adirondack Land Trust.

“I bought the camp 20 years ago and had great experiences and adventures, and learned a lot about survival in a remote and pristine place,” said previous owner Daniel Golden. “When I decided to leave it, I considered selling the land to a private buyer but decided to make sure that it was preserved as part of the greater Adirondack Park.”

The 91,854-acre Vanderwhacker Mountain Wild Forest comprises several tracts in the towns of Minerva, Newcomb, North Hudson and Schroon in Essex County; the towns of Chester and Johnsburg in Warren County; and the town of Indian Lake in Hamilton County. The newly protected tract is contained within a 60,000-acre parcel that includes the namesake mountain as well as many lakes, ponds, rivers and streams.

The Adirondack Land Trust will work with the state Department of Environmental Conservation to transfer the land to the Forest Preserve for “forever wild” protection under the state constitution.

Founded in 1984, the Adirondack Land Trust works to protect farms and forests, undeveloped shoreline, scenic vistas, and lands and waters contributing to community quality of life as well as the wildness and rural character of the Adirondacks. The land trust has protected 26,710 acres to date.

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