ADIRONDACKS — The Adirondack Land Trust has purchased 250 acres in Warren County that could allow for a new southern hiking route up Moxham Mountain in the town of Chester.
Moxham has lofty south-facing cliffs that tower over state Route 28N, halfway between North Creek and Minerva. But the only access hikers have had is from the north -- something that could change, once the land is added to the state-owned Forest Preserve.
The trust on Tuesday completed a deal to buy the south face of Moxham from the Brassel and Zack families, and the Brassel estate, for $160,000, with the goal that it will be sold to the state Department of Environmental Conservation and opened to the public.
“We are extraordinarily grateful to the Adirondack Land Trust for our years-long collaboration to preserve Moxham Mountain for all time,” said Mary Brassel Zack, who grew up in the Adirondacks and now lives Pennsylvania, and whose parents bought the land in the 1950s. “This exceptional Adirondack landmark will remain forever undeveloped and beautiful, and eventually accessible to those who want to enjoy its unique terrain.
"Moxham’s cliffs command attention and challenge hikers to reach the top, where they can enjoy views of Gore Mountain and the Hudson River to the south and the High Peaks to the north.”
The town of Chester and DEC endorsed the purchase for its potential to provide a new hiking trail on the south side of the mountain, making it accessible from Route 28N.
The trail up the north side of the 2,418-foot mountain, built by DEC and the Student Conservation Association, opened in 2012. That trailhead is on 14th Road in Minerva, beyond where the pavement ends, and presents a significantly longer hike to the Moxham summit.
Moxham, which is part of the Vanderwhacker Mountain Wild Forest, is viewed by DEC as an alternative to the more crowded hiking trails in the High Peaks. There is also interest among rock climbers in exploring the mountain's cliffs, the land trust said.
For now, there is no recreational access to the land, but the Adirondack Land Trust and DEC are working to transfer the property to the Adirondack Forest Preserve, at which time it will become public. The purchase was funded by donations to the Land Trust’s Wild Adirondacks Fund.
According to Adirondack Explorer magazine, in the late 1700s, a surveyor named Robert Moxham fell from the mountain’s cliffs and died, the event that most likely gave the mountain its name.
Christopher Jage, land protection manager for the Adirondack Chapter of The Nature Conservancy and former land protection manager for the Adirondack Land Trust, led the project under a cooperative agreement between the two organizations. The land trust is headed by Michael Carr, former executive director of the Nature Conservancy's Adirondack chapter.