New York state has acquired 1,263 acres of land in the Warren County town of Johnsburg in the southern Adirondacks.
The parcel includes Huckleberry Mountain, an elongated peak that tops 2,400 feet, with spectacular cliffs on the ridge’s south and southwest face.
“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,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said. “Preservation of the spectacular Huckleberry Mountain lands will benefit the region for generations to come, providing new opportunities for visitors to explore the outdoors.”
The state Department of Environmental Conservation purchased this property from the Open Space Institute for $770,000 using resources from the State’s Environmental Protection Fund. Permanent conservation of this land will enhance recreational access in the region and offers opportunities to connect New Yorkers with nature, protect crucial watersheds, and improve important wildlife habitat in this part of the Adirondack Park.
Officials said the newly protected land adjoins Wilcox Lake Wild Forest, which includes Crane Mountain, a popular, publicly accessible mountain peak that also provides access to exceptional cliffs for climbers. The Huckleberry Mountain parcel contains a wide range of wildlife habitats, including the cold-water stream Crystal Brook.
Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos said the Huckleberry Mountain parcel “is a renowned area in the Adirondack Park and DEC is proud to preserve and protect this irreplaceable piece of New York’s natural landscape. 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.
“We commend the Open Space Institute for their partnership on this important acquisition.”
Open Space Institute President and CEO Kim Elliman said the organization “is proud to transfer ownership of the incredible and stunning Huckleberry Mountain property to New York State as an addition to Wilcox Lake Wild Forest. 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.”
The Huckleberry Mountain property was a priority acquisition under the New York State 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.
The Environmental Protection Fund has grown from its original appropriation of $31 million in fiscal year 1994-1995 to $300 million. The Fiscal Year 2022 Enacted Budget sustains the EPF at $300 million, the highest level of funding in the program’s history.
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.
Officials said this investment will provide funding for critical environmental programs such as land acquisition, farmland protection, invasive species prevention and eradication, enhanced recreational access, water quality improvement, and an aggressive environmental justice agenda.