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Bear Pond Forest Is Saved!

Northeast Wilderness Trust has acquired the 1,056-acre Bear Pond Forest—the key remaining privately owned property within the Five Ponds Wilderness Area in New York’s Adirondack Park, the largest protected area in the Lower 48.

Managed for decades for timber production and recreation, the property was for sale and marketed for high-end residential development. Such construction would have locked in private roads and motorized recreation, and would have prevented future public access. Thanks to Northeast Wilderness Trust’s partners, funders, and supporters, the community rallied around this special place, allowing the Wilderness Trust to purchase the land in record time.

Bear Pond Forest sits at the center of 130,000 acres of protected wilderness: the Five Ponds and Pepperbox wilderness complex. This is a vast untrammeled land with towering white pines adorning glacial eskers, expansive wetlands, meandering rivers, and abundant wildlife, is famous among tree lovers as home to the largest tract of old-growth, primary forest in the Northeast.

Bear Pond Forest, like most of the Adirondacks, has a decades-long history of logging. Protecting the land as forever-wild is a momentous change in its trajectory. Now, the forest may grow old, gaining complexity and diversity along the way. This parcel ranks high for climate resilience, habitat connectivity, and overall biodiversity.

The waters that flow through the Bear Pond Forest make their way to the Oswegatchie and Black Rivers, continuing on to join the St. Lawrence River and Lake Ontario. With more than 100 acres of wetlands, two miles of streams, and significant water frontage on three ponds, Bear Pond Forest’s protection from further logging will help maintain water quality in the regional watershed.