The Open Space Institute (OSI) has announced the permanent protection of more than 3,300 acres in the Herkimer County towns of Salisbury and Norway. The tract is comprised of hardwood and softwood forests and significant wetlands within the Mohawk River watershed.
OSI purchased the Spruce Creek property for $3 million from Datum 9 Forestry LLC.
The newly protected 3,387-acre “Spruce Creek” property is named for a creek that flows through the land and is a tributary to East Canada Creek, and ultimately, the Mohawk River. The property includes several miles of Spruce Creek and almost 900 acres of wetlands. Spruce Creek and its surrounding wetlands are within the watershed that provides drinking water for the City of Little Falls.
The acquisition is located just outside the southwestern boundary of the Adirondack Forest Preserve and connects to more than 150,000 acres of the Ferris Lake Wild Forest.
The property is rated as above average for both resilience and landscape connectivity, meaning the land can support a diverse array of plants and animals even as the climate changes and that the land is connected to other green spaces that allow for the movement of plant and animal species.
About 25 percent of the newly protected land is categorized as wetlands, which are important to providing habitat for diverse animal and plant species and filtering rainwater before it drains into the Mohawk River.
OSI’s Spruce Creek acquisition hosts a diverse array of animal species including, white-tailed deer, black bear, bobcats, river otters, beaver, mink, varying hare, red fox, grey fox, fisher, pine martins, and ruffled grouse.
Adjacent to the Adirondack Park, the property is also suited for outdoor recreation. OSI intends to transfer the property to the New York Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) using funding from the Environmental Protection Fund (EPF). Ten acres of the property will be added to the Ferris Lake Wild Forest and the remaining land, lying outside the Adirondack Park’s blue line, is expected to become a new State Forest.
Until that occurs, OSI is planning to make the Spruce Creek property open and available to the public for passive recreation, including hiking, fishing, kayaking, canoeing, wildlife viewing, and nature photography.