Protection of 104,000 Adirondack acres finalized

The deal also secures public access to hiking trails on Lyon Mountain, the northeastern-most of the Adirondack's 46 high peaks.

Ecologically, the Sable Highlands includes 220 miles of permanent and seasonal streams, 2,600 acres of wetlands, and 20 lakes and ponds in the St. Lawrence and Lake Champlain drainages. The area acts as a watershed for the Saranac, Salmon, and Chazy rivers.

The state appropriated an additional $10 million to purchase the easement, bringing the total state expenditures for the conservation project to roughly $20 million.

The transactions represent budgeted expenses from New York State's Environmental Protection Fund. With money provided primarily from a real estate transfer tax, that fund pays for environmental initiatives ranging from landfill closures to water quality improvement projects, as well as open space protections to zoos and interpretive facilities.

Additionally, private philanthropy played an important role in the success of this project, adding leverage to the state's investments. Over the past four years, generous individuals contributed some $4 million to The Nature Conservancy's Sable Highlands Campaign, helping to offset the overall costs to conserve such a huge swath of land.

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