Bear Pond Forest

Bear Pond Forest

Northeast Wilderness Trust is urgently working to purchase and conserve 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.

Bear Pond faces a critical juncture that will permanently affect the wild character and ecological values of this landscape. Will the land be sold for development, resulting in houses and permanent motorized access penetrating one of the wildest places in the Northeast? Or will it become a quiet haven for wildlife, where nature reigns?

Northeast Wilderness Trust has a very short window to raise the necessary funds to secure a wild future for Bear Pond Forest. Will you help?

Bear Pond Forest sits at the center 130,000 acres of protected wilderness. Managed for decades for timber production and hunting, the property is now for sale and being marketed for high-end residential development. Such construction would lock in private roads and motorized recreation, and would prevent future public access. This place could not be integrated with the surrounding landscape’s wilderness management and character, nor could it rewild from recent logging.

The Bear Pond parcel is one of the most important Wilderness inholdings in the eastern United States, and certainly in the Northeast. Now is the moment where we get to decide: Will permanent nonconforming uses be locked into the heart of the Five Ponds Wilderness or will we seize the opportunity to rewild this precious landscape?

John Davis, author of Big, Wild, and Connected: Scouting an Eastern Wildway from Florida to Quebec

Five Ponds Wilderness

The Five Ponds Wilderness, 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.

A Vital Link for Wildlife

The Five Ponds Wilderness Area and surrounding public lands are perched at the southern end of the binational Algonquin-to-Adirondacks wildlife corridor (A2A). The A2A habitat linkage, while not yet formally protected in its entirety, is a focus for conservation because climate resilience requires habitat connectivity for wildlife movement. In 1998, an intrepid, radio-collared moose named Alice confirmed the value of the A2A linkage by wandering from her home in Adirondack Park to Ontario’s Algonquin Park.

Beyond wandering moose, the western Adirondacks would be the likeliest area for missing wolves and cougars to return home via natural dispersal. With some of the lowest human population density in the East, this would be among the most welcoming places for large carnivores to repopulate parts of their former territory. Thus, conserving the Bear Pond Forest as wilderness is a welcoming act to incrementally support our wolf and cougar relatives reinhabiting their native range.

Big Trees and Wild Waters

The Bear Pond property, like most of the Adirondacks, has a decades-long history of logging. Protecting the land as forever-wild will change its trajectory—giving the forest a chance to grow older and gain in complexity and diversity. The parcel ranks highly 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, protecting this forest from further logging will help maintain water quality in the regional watershed.

An Urgent Need

Northeast Wilderness Trust needs to raise $3.2 million by mid-December, 2022, to save the heart of one of America’s wildest places. This sum includes purchasing the land, transaction costs, and a stewardship fund contribution to cover management obligations. Will you help conserve Bear Pond?