IN PROGRESS: Eagle Mountain Wilderness Preserve

Habitat for bears, moose, and Peregrine Falcons

Eagle Mountain Wilderness Preserve is home to numerous pristine ponds, which offer important habitat to a variety of amphibians, insects, and other animals. Photo: Brendan Wiltse

This area has seen considerable logging over the decades but its wild character is strong and vital—and in the decades to come, if we can protect it now, it will be a jewel of the eastern Adirondacks, a place of beauty, integrity, and wildness for future generations of people to enjoy. ”   —Tom Butler, Conservationist

 

We need your help to protect this spectacular property. The Eagle Mountain Wilderness Preserve is an exceptional wilderness opportunity in the Adirondacks.

 

Location    Northeastern region of NY’s Adirondack Park
Size              2,434 acres
Cost              $1.813 million
Habitat       northern hardwood and conifer forests, cliff & talus, ponds, wetlands
Creatures  Peregrine Falcons, black bear, moose, songbirds, and brook trout
Threat         development, logging
Values         mature forest, wildlife habitat, core habitat for surrounding forest block

Acquiring this property will:

  • Protect over 3.5 miles of brooks
  • Permanently secure this regionally significant and iconic landscape
  • Protect 155 acres of wetlands that contribute to the preserve’s biodiversity and provide extensive habitat values
  • Protect several vernal pools that dot the property, which offer important
    habitat to a variety of amphibians, insects, and other animals
  • Secure a critical wildlife corridor between two blocks of publicly protected land within the Adirondack Park, which furthers the goals of the Adirondack Park Agency to protect critical wildlife habitat

Donate now to help protect the Eagle Mountain Wilderness Preserve!

 

You can alternatively send a check payable to Northeast Wilderness Trust.
Write Eagle Mountain in the memo line.

 

Gaze out from the summit of Eagle Mountain after a strenuous bushwhack, and the scale is difficult to comprehend.  Follow the arc of a peregrine falcon into the distance, and the vastness of this low-elevation, biologically rich landscape is unveiled, the canopy unfurling at your feet, stretching unbroken towards the High Peaks of the Adirondacks to the west.

A Peregrine Falcon resting in a nesting area near one of the many talus cliffs on the property. Once conserved, this property will provide forever-wild habitat for this NY State endangered species. Photo: Brendan Wiltse

The Eagle Mountain Wilderness Preserve, northwest of Essex, New York, encompasses 2,434 acres of glacial-carved topography and unique water features in the foothills of the Northeastern Adirondacks, in a landscape that is underrepresented in protected areas in the Adirondack Park and across the Northeast. This densely forested property consists primarily of northern hardwood and conifer forests, with patches of cliff & talus, pristine undeveloped ponds, miles of clear running brooks, vernal pools, and wetlands. Peregrine Falcons (a New York State endangered species) have been consistently nesting on the property for at least five years.

Since 2003, the transition lands between Lake Champlain and the Adirondack High Peaks have been a focal area for Northeast Wilderness Trust. In the Split Rock Wildway to the south, the Wilderness Trust has completed nine transactions to protect an important “sea-to-sky” wildlife corridor. Eagle Mountain Wilderness Preserve represents an opportunity to expand on this concept and ensure connectivity in a critical corridor to the north.  Surrounding protected areas include New York State’s Jay Mountain Wilderness and Taylor Pond Wild Forest (home to the local landmark, Poke-O-Moonshine Mountain), as well as other privately conserved lands.

The acquisition of Eagle Mountain will protect just over 1.25 miles of Durgan Brook and its tributary (Trout Pond Brook) and 2.45 miles of Doyle Brook. Both of these named brooks are cold, clear, and support native Brook Trout habitat. Miles of unnamed brooks also connect the other ponds. There are over 155 acres of wetlands across the property that contribute to the preserve’s biodiversity and provide extensive habitat values. Seepage wetlands thaw first in the spring and provide some of the earliest browse for energy strapped wildlife (such as bears, moose, and deer—all present on the property) at the end of a long winter.  The exceptional water quality of this stream system is demonstrated by the presence of the Eastern Pearlshell, a rare freshwater mussel found in only a few locations in New York State and at risk throughout its historic habitat due to water pollution and dams.

Sunset glow over the Eagle Mountain Wilderness Preserve.

In addition to the fish and wildlife that depend on clean water in the Lake Champlain Basin, approximately 145,000 people rely on the lake for drinking water. With warming temperatures and agricultural runoff threatening the lake’s water quality, protecting headwater streams is an insurance policy for a healthier future.

The Eagle Mountain property ranks as ‘Above Average Resilient’ on The Nature Conservancy’s Resilient and Connected Landscapes dataset. The core area surrounding the ponds and the elevated region surrounding Eagle Mountain itself ranks as ‘Far Above Average.’ Resilient sites like Eagle Mountain are defined as having “sufficient variability and microclimate options to enable species and ecosystems to persist in the face of climate change and which will maintain this ability over time.” Eagle Mountain’s unique, low-elevation habitat will only prove more valuable with the onslaught of climate change, assisting wildlife as they stair-step across this large landscape.

From the many peaks there are spectacular views of the ponds and wetlands on the property. Photo: Brendan Wiltse

A place for quiet recreation. Building on years of partnership in the Split Rock Wildway, Northeast Wilderness Trust will team up with Westport, NY-based Champlain Area Trails (CATS) to develop foot paths on the property that minimize impacts to plants and wildlife while showcasing the beauty of the area. Seasonal closures will be implemented to protect nesting peregrine falcons and will be monitored by the Wilderness Trust.

Adirondack Land Trust, a longtime conservation leader in the region, will hold a forever-wild easement on the property.

Eagle Mountain’s dramatic cliffs and peaks not only provide solitude for humans but also resiliency for wildlife in the face of climate change. It also represents a landscape-scale conservation opportunity in a region underrepresented in the conservation context as compared to the interior of the Adirondacks.

The total budget to protect this important preserve is $1.813 million. Projects like this are made possible by people like you. With a donation today you can help us to conserve this special place.

 

Click for a detailed Eagle Mountain project profile.

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