The state has finalized the purchase of the 20,758-acre Boreas Ponds tract of ponds, rivers and forest directly south of the High Peaks Wilderness, the Nature Conservancy announced today.
The land, which has been owned by the conservancy since 2007, will be added to the Adirondack Forest Preserve and protected as “forever wild” lands under the state constitution. The new addition to the public park could create a southern gateway into the popular High Peaks regions; extensive views of Mount Marcy, New York’s tallest mountain, and other High Peaks exist from the tract’s chain of ponds.
The sale was first reported today by the Adirondack Almanack, which said a deed filed in the Essex County clerk’s office listed the sale price at $14.5 million. State officials had not announced the sale as of Thursday afternoon and would not comment on public access, according to the Almanack report.
The purchase is the capstone of an effort to expand the state park by 65,000 acres announced by Gov. Andrew Cuomo in 2012. The recent addition of Essex Chain Lakes was part of that plan.
The Boreas Ponds tract includes 50 miles of rivers and streams and provides habitat to moose, common loon and other bird species, according to the conservancy.
With the purchase complete, state officials will now take up the process of determining the land classifications that parts of Boreas Ponds will fall under. Environmental groups are pulling for a wilderness designation, which would prohibit the use of motorized vehicles and extend the contiguous borders of the 192,000-acre High Peaks Wilderness zone. But nearby town officials argue the less restrictive wild forest designation would create more tourism and economic opportunities.