Grasse River
Wilderness Preserve

Grasse River
Wilderness Preserve

The Grasse River Wilderness Preserve will rewild former timberlands, giving land back to wildlife at a critical gateway between the Adirondack Park and Canada.

In 2000, a female moose fondly referred to as Alice by the scientists tracking her movements via radio collar made a journey. Beginning from her home in the Adirondack Park, she walked northwest until arriving at the Canadian border, where she swam the width of the St. Lawrence River, crossed a four-lane highway, and then continued her trek until she reached the Algonquin Park in Ontario.

Her 350-mile adventure is proof that the small neck of relatively intact habitat connecting the vast protected forests of New York and Canada is an indispensable lynchpin for animals on the move. And while Alice the Moose’s feat may seem remarkable, animals, plants and fungi rely on this connected habitat on an everyday basis. That’s why the Algonquin to Adirondacks corridor has been formally recognized as a conservation priority, and why Northeast Wilderness Trust is interested in protecting more land in this region.

Alice ambled over the ‘Blue Line’ of the Adirondack Park not far from a 1,407-acre forested property managed for timber production. Northeast Wilderness Trust now has the opportunity to rewild this exact forest for moose, muskrat, mussels, and more by purchasing and conserving it. We need your help to save this land. Learn more at the bottom of this page.

Creating Grasse River Wilderness Preserve

This land has incredible value for wildlife thanks in large part to the immense amount of water there. The Preserve would protect a mile and a half of Grasse River frontage, over 250 acres of wetlands, more than 7 miles of streams, and 20 freshwater ponds. Wilderness preservation will ensure excellent water quality for this part of the Grasse River, which is home to one of just three known healthy populations of New York’s imperiled eastern pearlshell mussel. (This rare mussel has also been found on NEWT’s Eagle Mountain Wilderness Preserve in the eastern Adirondacks.)

The water features add diversity to this northern hardwood forest, and many are influenced by beaver activity. During the land’s management, beavers were trapped or controlled as part of the forestry activities. In a rewilding scenario, these hardworking ecosystem engineers would be free to create even more wetland homes for cattails, minnows, ebony jewelwing damselflies, chestnut-sided warblers, and more.

The Grasse River property lies at the transition between two distinct eco-regions: the Western Adirondack Foothills, characterized by mid- to low-elevation hills tapering off of the granite massif that forms the Adirondack Mountains, and the low-lying Western Adirondack Transition Zone of gently rolling plains. These transitional areas, or ecotones, are rich in biodiversity and are poised to play an outsized role in speciation and adaptation as human-caused climate change advances.

The proposed Grasse River Wilderness Preserve abuts two protected state forests—Downerville State Forest to the north and Degrasse State Forest to the south. The Grasse River property also directly abuts forever-wild land just over the Blue Line: the 1,300-acre Lampson Falls section of the Grass River Wild Forest. With just over 4% of the New York landscape protected from logging and free from motorized and mechanized vehicles, the chance to preserve a property adjacent to existing wildlands is a rare and valuable prospect indeed. Lampson Falls is a popular site for camping and walking. The proposed Grasse River Wilderness Preserve would secure a wild buffer for the special character of that land, while complementing the more developed recreation area of Lampson Falls with land that is open to the public to on-foot exploration without infrastructure or drastic human-made changes to the land.

Will you help rewild this critical wildlife corridor?

Northeast Wilderness Trust has until July 1st, 2022 to raise $1.4 million. Your gift makes a difference. Please join us in protecting Grasse River Wilderness Preserve with a donation today.

You can use the secure online giving portal below to make a gift by credit card or bank transfer. Prefer snail mail? Checks to Northeast Wilderness Trust with “Grasse River” written in the memo line may be sent to 17 State Street, Suite 302, Montpelier, VT 05602. To make a gift of stock, please call us at 802.224.1000 ext. 106.

Thank you!

Aerial photography courtesy of Fountains Land, Inc.  |  Forest and wetland photography by Bob Linck