Press Releases

Council Applauds Unique Follensby Agreement

Tuesday, February 13, 2024

TUPPER LAKE, NY – The Adirondack Council today congratulated The Nature Conservancy (TNC) and the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) for developing a unique easement agreement to protect one of the most pristine and historic parcels in the Adirondack Park – Follensby Pond.

The Nature Conservancy has owned Follensby Pond – a tract near Tupper Lake that adjoins the High Peaks Wilderness Complex -- since 2008. The easement agreement protects more than 14,000 acres of valuable habitat, and plans include public education, ongoing research, and promoting non-motorized public recreation, all of which are all in line with core Council values. Additionally, protecting these acres promotes New York’s climate leadership and adds valuable ecological habitat to the state’s 30x30 conservation goal.

"Follensby Pond is one of the crown jewels of the Adirondack Park and will continue to be with this new agreement," said Raul J. Aguirre, Executive Director of the Adirondack Council. "With increasing pressures on native wildlife coming from climate change, air and water quality impacts, and invasive species, protecting one of the last pristine lake trout fisheries of the Adirondacks will pay dividends for generations. Congratulations to The Nature Conservancy for being great stewards of Follensby Pond and for finding a management balance that will provide recreation, critical education, and scientific research while acknowledging important Indigenous cultural values. This is a win for Follensby, the people of New York State, and for all those who have sought protection for this iconic landscape over the years."

Protecting Follensby Pond’s native trout fishery is vital to the overall well-being of the Adirondack Park, particularly in light of recent research by Cornell that says our lakes are becoming too acidic for native trout populations to survive. Under the agreement between TNC and DEC, the public will be allowed access to parts of the tract while the pond itself and surrounding land will have managed access as a research preserve. Notable partners in this endeavor include The Wild Center, TNC, DEC, and the Adirondack Watershed Institute.

“Incorporating an educational component into this agreement is a wonderful move,” Aguirre said. “Allowing Adirondack partners and scientists to continue to study this area will provide valuable long-term data needed by decision-makers around the state and country. As we have seen in other waterbodies in the Adirondacks, the ecological integrity of this unique fishery could be jeopardized by a bucket of bait fish, so increasing public knowledge around these issues is integral to the continued protection of the Adirondacks.

“Next to loons and moose, trout may be the species most closely associated with the Adirondack Park, so it’s great to ensure the fish are protected while the public gains access and opportunities for learning about this special place.”

Follensby Pond became famous when painter William James Stillman held his “Philosopher’s Camp” here with a litany of other famous thinkers in 1858, including Ralph Waldo Emerson. The parcel has played a role in conservation ever since, with the pond serving as the site of bald eagle reintroduction in the early 1980s after DDT had decimated the native population, and continues to serve as an essentially unchanged trout fishery.

The dual-easement arrangement will allow people to finally recreate in this historic area, while continuing to protect the waters, woods, and wildlife that call Follensby home.

The Adirondack Council is a privately funded, not-for-profit organization dedicated to ensuring the ecological integrity and wild character of the 9,300-square-mile Adirondack Park – the world’s largest intact temperate deciduous forest ecosystem and home to about 130,000 New York residents in 130 rural communities.

Established in 1975, the Adirondack Council is the largest environmental organization whose sole focus is the Adirondacks. The Council carries out its mission through research, education, advocacy, and legal action. The Adirondack Council envisions a Park with clean water and clean air, core wilderness areas, farms and working forests, and vibrant, diverse, welcoming, safe communities.

Photo credit: Follensby Pond by Carl Heilman II

For more information: Justin Levine, Adirondack Council, 518-605-1591

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