State buys Huckleberry Mountain in Johnsburg

Hikers take in the view from Huckleberry Mountain in winter. (Provided photo — Jerry Monkman, courtesy of Open Space Institute)

JOHNSBURG — New York state has acquired 1,263 acres of land in the Warren County town of Johnsburg in the southeast Adirondacks, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Friday.

The parcel includes Huckleberry Mountain, a peak that tops 2,400 feet. Cliffs on its south and southwest sides face the taller Crane Mountain, which is already part of the state Forest Preserve.

The state Department of Environmental Conservation purchased this property from the Open Space Institute for $770,000 from the state’s Environmental Protection Fund.

The newly protected land adjoins Wilcox Lake Wild Forest, which includes Crane Mountain, a popular, publicly accessible mountain peak that also provides access to cliffs for climbers. The Huckleberry Mountain parcel contains a wide range of wildlife habitats, including Crystal Brook, a cold-water stream with brook trout, cliff faces that are a preferred nesting place for the endangered peregrine falcon, and a wetland complex that is home to an active heron rookery.

The Huckleberry Mountain property was a priority acquisition under the state’s Open Space Conservation Plan and the Wilcox Lake Wild Forest Management Plan. DEC will manage this parcel and is developing a unit management plan to determine the best use for the trails and recreational access for Huckleberry Mountain.

(Map provided by New York state)

The Environmental Protection Fund has grown from its original appropriation of $31 million in fiscal year 1994-1995 to $300 million this past year and in the fiscal year to come. Appropriations include $40 million for solid waste programs, $90 million for parks and recreation, $151 million for open space programs and $19 million for the climate change mitigation and adaptation program. It provides funding for land acquisition, farmland protection, invasive species prevention and eradication, enhanced recreational access, water quality improvement and environmental justice.

“Through the Environmental Protection Fund, New York state continues to invest in land acquisitions that conserve open space and preserve the natural beauty of this great state for future generations to visit and enjoy,” Cuomo said in a press release. “Preservation of the spectacular Huckleberry Mountain lands will benefit the region for generations to come, providing new opportunities for visitors to explore the outdoors.”

“Protecting this pristine parcel will connect more hikers and outdoor enthusiasts to the outdoors and ensure future generations of visitors have the chance to experience the scenic wonder of this mountain area, while also preserving sensitive habitats for wildlife,” DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said.

OSI President and CEO Kim Elliman added, “When OSI first acquired this property in 2017, we knew that the land’s permanent protection would be a resounding win for outdoor recreationists, and we are glad that the property will be open for public enjoyment, forever.”


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