The newly protected 1,260-acre “West Mountain” property is located west of the West Mountain Ski Area, between the southeastern boundary of the Adirondack Park and Moreau Lake State Park and adjacent to Ralph Road State Forest.
In addition to the clean water and climate change benefits, conservation of the forested parcel will also support regional connectivity, wildlife habitat, and recreation.
The West Mountain property is heavily forested and stores and captures significant amounts of carbon according to OSI’s 2020 carbon analysis of the property. Currently, the property stores approximately 116,000 metric tons of carbon, or more than 90 metric tons per acre, which is considered well above average.
The property contains a portion of a local stream known as Bennie Brook. In addition to a great blue heron rookery that can be found on the property, the land also provides habitat for deer, turkey, bear, and bobcat. About six percent of the newly protected land is categorized as DEC-regulated wetlands, which are important to providing habitat for diverse animal and plant species and filtering rainwater before it drains into the Hudson River.
According to climate resilience modeling completed by The Nature Conservancy (TNC), nearly the entirety of the West Mountain property is categorized as “above average” or better for climate resilience, meaning the land is uniquely positioned support a diverse array of plants and animals even as the climate changes.
Beyond the many ecological benefits, protection of the land is considered critical as part of one of the only remaining habitat linkages between Vermont’s Green Mountains and the Adirondacks.
The West Mountain property is one of five properties, together totaling more than 3,300 acres, that OSI has protected to support the creation of a connected, green corridor in the Palmertown Range.
The property is expected to be added to Ralph Road State Forest using Environmental Protection Funding (EPF). Once the transfer is complete, OSI will have helped the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) more than triple the size of Ralph Road State Forest.
Photo of OSI’s West Mountain Property in Saratoga County courtesy Bob Stone, Open Space Institute.