Northeast Wilderness Trust announced that it has purchased a key inholding in the Adirondack Park’s Five Ponds Wilderness, establishing the Bear Pond Forest. With this acquisition, the 1,056-acre Bear Pond Forest is now safeguarded from development, and the Forest will gradually be integrated into the surrounding 107,230-acre Five Ponds Wilderness, which is connected to the 23,816-acre Pepperbox Wilderness.
Bear Pond Forest sits in the middle of the 130,000-acre Five Ponds/Pepperbox wilderness complex, within New York’s Adirondack Park, the largest protected area in the lower 48 states. Bear Pond Forest had been managed for decades for timber production and recreation. One of the three private hunting camps on the property will continue as a lessee for a period of ten years.
Under Northeast Wilderness Trust’s ownership, this forested landscape, with substantial frontage on three ponds and miles of streams, begins the process of re-wilding, today. Re-wilding happens naturally with forever wild protection, offering the land time and freedom to mature, store carbon naturally, and increase biodiversity.
Bear Pond Forest has long been a conservation priority. Various conservation organizations have approached the owners to conserve the land over the years. When the property was listed for sale in 2022 it prompted a new round of interest. Open Space Institute initiated conversations with the landowners and in late 2022 Northeast Wilderness Trust took the reins and raised the funds to purchase the property in less than three months.
The Five Ponds and Pepperbox Wilderness Areas, part of the Adirondack Forest Preserve, is a vast untrammeled landscape located in the towns of Fine and Clifton, St. Lawrence County; the town of Webb, Herkimer County; the town of Diana, Lewis County, and the town of Long Lake, Hamilton County.
Towering white pines adorning glacial eskers, expansive wetlands, meandering rivers, abundant wildlife, and a lack of notable mountains best defines this wild place in the western Adirondacks. It is famous among tree lovers as home to the largest contiguous tract of primary forest in the Northeast.
The Wilderness Trust is developing a management plan for the property. Access is expected to eventually include activities such as hiking, birding, paddling, hunting of abundant prey species, and other non-mechanized exploration.
For more information on Bear Pond Forest, click here.
Northeast Wilderness Trust is a regional land trust that protects more than 73,000 forever-wild acres in New England and New York.
Map showing Bear Pond Forest provided.
David Gibson says
This is great and welcome news. In 2000, Bear Pond Road was needlessly widened by NYS DEC, damaging wetlands and introducing more motorized pressure on this boundary to the Five Ponds Wilderness. This acquisition and protection plan is a long-needed bit of wildlands restoration over time. Thank you to the NEWT and OSI for their successful negotiation with the owners.