The Open Space Institute (OSI) has announced the permanent protection of forested land in the Towns of Chesterfield and Lewis in Essex County.
Comprised of hardwood and softwood forests, a variety of wetlands, and containing seven medium-sized peaks, the new acquisition furthers regional connectivity of protected lands and, through its protection and capture of carbon, aids in efforts to fight climate change.
Purchased from Bar MH Timber (NY) LLC for more than $2 million, the acquisition also provides land for wildlife habitat and public recreation.
The newly protected 2,229-acre “Bar MH Timber” property is located within the Split Rock Wildway, a wildlife corridor connecting the Champlain Valley with the Adirondack High Peaks. The acquisition links two previously unconnected parcels of protected land: Taylor Pond Wild Forest to the east and Eagle Mountain Wilderness Preserve to the west. The property is expected to be transferred to NYS DEC as an addition to Taylor Pond Wild Forest using funding from the Environmental Protection Fund (EPF).
The Bar MH Timber Tract is ringed by seven medium stature mountains, making it a good location for walking and hiking. OSI plans to coordinate with NYS DEC on potential trail development and ongoing management of the property, which is expected to not include motorized uses.
Containing a diversity of habitat types, the newly protected property helps provide food and habitat for plant and animal species whose territories are shifting in response to our changing climate. In addition to hosting a wide variety of plant and animal species, the property also includes the entirety of Burnt Pond.
Including this latest Bar MH Timber acquisition, OSI has now permanently protected, through direct acquisition and funding support, more than 7,700 acres in the area, including Bald Face Preserve, Poke-O-Moonshine Mountain, and Eagle Mountain. Together, these properties all connect to the protected lands of Taylor Pond Wild Forest and establish almost 10,000 acres of conserved contiguous forest in Essex County.
Since the Bar MH Timber Tract is almost entirely forested it is expected to provide significant climate benefits by capturing and storing large amounts of atmospheric carbon. Nationally, forests and other land sequester more than 15 percent of US carbon dioxide emissions each year.
According to OSI’s data analysis, the property stores more than 220,000 metric tons of carbon, or more than 100 metric tons per acre, in soils and trees. In a 2017 report, the USDA Forest Service announced that, on average, forests in the United States store about 85 metric tons of carbon per acre.
In 2019, forests in the United States stored about 59 billion metric tons of carbon in trees, roots, soils, and forest products — the equivalent of more than 33 years of U.S. economy-wide emissions.
More information can be found on the OSI website.
Photo of Bar MH Timber property courtesy Open Space Institute.