Split Rock Wildway

A natural passage for wildlife and people, from Lake Champlain to the Adirondacks.

Split Rock Wildway Image

The Split Rock Wildway is an ambitious effort to protect a wildlife movement corridor linking the Split Rock Wild Forest along the shores of Lake Champlain to other blocks of public land in the high peaks of New York’s Adirondack Mountains. The goal of the Wildway is habitat connectivity—making sure wild creatures have room to roam. As of summer 2016, the Northeast Wilderness Trust has protected eight parcels in the Split Rock Wildway, and is actively working with area landowners to conserve additional properties. Within the Wildway project area, roughly 6,000 acres are permanently conserved already; existing conservation lands include areas in public ownership as part of the Adirondack Forest Preserve, and tracts secured by the Northeast Wilderness Trust and other nonprofits. This is a promising start toward restoring and protecting the rich biological diversity and wildlife habitat of this area, while also supporting local communities.

Split Rock Map Image

+ Click on the image to enlarge.

The Trust is currently leading a multi-partner effort to develop and implement a strategic conservation action plan for the Wildway, including an expansion of the Wildway to Vermont. This expanded, transboundary effort aims to conserve a critical landscape linkage in the Northern Appalachian-Acadian ecoregion as a strategy for conserving biodiversity and adapting to climate change.

Learn More: Download Split Rock Profile (PDF)

NWT’s Split Rock Wildway Preserve is open to quiet recreation and limited hunting.  If you are interested in hunting on NWT’s Split Rock Wildway Preserve, please visit the Split Rock Wildway Hunting Permission website for rules and hunting permission.

Goff Preserve

Essex, New York
Fee Ownership; Completed Project

In May 2016, Northeast Wilderness Trust purchased the Goff Preserve in Essex, NY for permanent protection as a small but key piece in the heart of the Split Rock Wildway. These 27 acres are in the vicinity of other NWT-protected lands and advance the vision of a connected wildway from the High Peaks of the Adirondacks to Lake Champlain.

A place of complex terrain, diverse woodlands, and superb wildlife habitat, the Goff Preserve also protects part of a regionally significant landscape. The preserve is suitable habitat for the sharp-shinned hawk (a species of special concern in New York State), whose long tail and short, rounded wings enable it to dart through woodlands in pursuit of prey. Several large eastern hemlocks on the property are home to porcupine; the hemlock stands are also outstanding winter habitat for white-tailed …
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Brookfield Headwaters

Essex, New York
Fee Ownership; Completed Project

The 81-acre Brookfield Headwaters tract is one of dozens of relatively small parcels spread across several towns in the Split Rock Wildway. The property has an ecologically rich, older forest of beautiful hardwoods and pines, and a large interior wetland teeming with birds and wildlife. Acquisition of Brookfield Headwaters enables the Wilderness Trust to stop unauthorized motorized use along an old, abandoned road and to establish a pedestrian trail in its place. The parcel links conserved properties on three sides, including lands owned by the Wilderness Trust on the north (Rowe) and east (Boquet Flats and Northwest Boquet Mountain), and a parcel owned by the Eddy Foundation on the south.

The property was purchased in 2010 from Steve Patnode and his brothers. The former landowner was very …
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Rowe Property

Essex, New York
Fee Ownership; Completed Project

The Northeast Wilderness Trust purchased this 90-acre parcel in March 2008 with the help of local partner The Eddy Foundation. The property is part of the Split Rock Wildway and The Nature Conservancy’s Boquet Mountain Matrix Area, which is a priority conservation target in The Nature Conservancy’s St. Lawrence-Champlain Valley Ecoregional Plan. The property is located just west of the Northeast Wilderness Trust’s Boquet Flats and Northwest Boquet Mountain properties. This tract was an important addition to the Split Rock Wildway because of its largely intact northern hardwood forest, strategic proximity to other protected lands, and development threats.

Northwest Boquet Mountain Image

Northwest Boquet Mountain

Essex, New York
Fee Ownership; Completed Project

In January 2007, the Northeast Wilderness Trust purchased the 108-acre Northwest Boquet Mountain property in Essex, New York. The parcel is centrally located in the Split Rock Wildway; its acquisition was a priority because the land was imminently threatened with subdivision and development. Moreover, the property is located on the flanks of Boquet Mountain, an area that conservationists proposed for addition to the publicly owned Adirondack Forest Preserve some two decades ago. Significant forest fragmentation and residential development in the area would likely foreclose future options for a substantial addition to the Forest Preserve in the future. Characterized by transitional hardwood forest, the conserved land offers habitat for a variety of species and is adjacent to Boquet Flats, which the Trust purchased in 2006. Its protection marked the Trust’s fifth conservation success …
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Boquet Flats Images

Boquet Flats

Essex, New York
Fee Ownership; Completed Project

In May 2006, the Northeast Wilderness Trust purchased Boquet Flats, a critical property located in the Split Rock Wildway in Essex, New York. The Boquet Flats property is 95 acres located on the northeast flanks of South Boquet Mountain. The land is primarily northern hardwood forest and provides habitat for a diversity of wildlife typical in the area, including deer, black bear, fisher, and many songbirds.

Floodplain Forest

Essex County, New York
Forever-Wild Easement; Completed Project

In March 2005, the Northeast Wilderness Trust purchased a forever-wild conservation easement on a 90-acre property encompassing a rare intact floodplain forest along the Boquet River. Because of their rich soils and general absence of stones, most of the Northeast’s floodplain forests were logged or converted to agricultural use in the 1700s and 1800s. Ecologist Marc Lapin, who conducted an ecological assessment on the land, found several notable species including wild rye, wild millet, and yellow oak. Marc also described the unusual presence of black maples, which are not typically found this far north or in “clayplain” natural communities.

Signs of mink, otter, bobcat, and deer abound in the Floodplain Forest. Beavers are active on the land, and their work is seen with felled and hourglass shaped trees. The …
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Beaver Falls Image

Beaver Falls

Essex County, New York
Forever-Wild Easement; Completed Project

In March 2004, the Northeast Wilderness Trust accepted a conservation easement on a 60-acre property know as Beaver Falls, part of the Split Rock Wildway. Beaver Falls contains upland forest, open and shrub wetland, and a former agricultural field. Beaver activity is present in the wetland and riparian areas. As a low-elevation conservation parcel situated in the well-conserved Split Rock Mountain landscape, Beaver Falls contributes to filling conservation gaps in the region.

Forest ecosystems of several different types occur on the property. The property hosts clayplain forest, hemlock forest, floodplain forest, wet mesic black ash-hemlock forest, rocky ledges, hardwood forest, sedge meadow, alluvial forest/shrubland, and open wetlands. According to ecologist Marc Lapin, “The juxtaposition of clayplain, rocky hill and wetland is very characteristic of the Champlain Valley; not only do all …
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Hemlock Rock Wildlife Image

Hemlock Rock Wildlife Sanctuary

Essex County, New York
Forever-Wild Easement; Completed Project

In December 2003, the Northeast Wilderness Trust accepted a conservation easement on a 55-acre property known as Hemlock Rock Wildlife Sanctuary, a forested parcel located in the Champlain Eco-zone. Hemlock Rock is located in close proximity to several other protected natural areas, including The Nature Conservancy’s Coon Mountain Preserve, and contains ponds, streams, wetlands, fens, and forested swamps. Its protection advances efforts to link forested land in the Champlain Valley and expand existing conservation areas.

The property is dominated by hemlock forest and contains rocky outcrops. In the past, the region was completely dominated by hemlock forests. While the Champlain Valley’s biological make-up has changed due to extensive human development, the Hemlock Rock Wildlife Sanctuary is a stunning example of a forest typical of the region’s presettlement landscape.

Hemlock Rock provides …
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