Moriah Wilderness Preserve

Moriah Wilderness Preserve

Northeast Wilderness Trust celebrated the creation of Moriah Wilderness Preserve in June 2023

Setting the stage for ecological transitions

These 1,775 acres in New York’s Champlain Valley support wildlife movement between Lake Champlain and the Adirondack Mountains. This land sits directly on the transition between two geologic stories: the ancient rocks of the Adirondack Dome to the west, and the glacial sediments deposited by Glacial Lake Vermont in the Champlain Valley to the east. Often referred to as the West Champlain Hills, this region is well-documented to be the most biologically diverse part of the Adirondack Park.

The subterranean transition, combined with varied topography that ranges from the shoreline of Crowfoot Pond to the summit of Moriah’s Armstrong Mountain, results in an ecologically resilient landscape that will support diverse flora, fauna, and fungi responding to climate change.

What’s more, the Moriah Wilderness Preserve geographically ties together Hammond Pond Wild Forest and the Eddy Foundation’s Parch Pond conservation lands with privately conserved timberlands.

Forests young and old

The forests that occupy Moriah Wilderness Preserve today are determined by those geologic histories, and also by more recent human choices. The northern half of the land has been extensively logged, so much of the forest is at an early successional stage, sporting young poplar, white pine, sugar maple, beech, and yellow birch. The southern half hosts some more mature forest with larger trees, undisturbed wetlands, and streams with a healthy amount of woody debris.

The summits of Armstrong Mountain and its surrounding hills host open glades of moss and reindeer lichen dotted with pines and oaks. Throughout, stands of hemlock appear. As a forever-wild landscape, the young forests of Moriah Wilderness Preserve will have the freedom to rewild, adapt, and evolve on their own terms. The commitment we make today will result in an old-growth forest of tomorrow.

“Balancing use and obligation to the forest is always a challenge. But reserving land in its natural state is an essential part of progress. Otherwise, our connection with nature is blurred or lost. We need the products that the forest provides to keep us stable and strong. We also need the serenity of nature that can only be found in an undisturbed forest. The opportunity to experience that setting restores our spirit and our soul.”

Chris Gearwear, Forester

“Balancing use and obligation to the forest is always a challenge. But reserving land in its natural state is an essential part of progress. Otherwise, our connection with nature is blurred or lost. We need the products that the forest provides to keep us stable and strong. We also need the serenity of nature that can only be found in an undisturbed forest. The opportunity to experience that setting restores our spirit and our soul.”

Chris Gearwear, Forester

Water and wildlife

In addition to frontage on Crowfoot Pond, the land’s water features include a vernal pool, two large beaver wetlands, a forested swamp, and several small brooks, streams, and seepage wetlands. The land supports a wide diversity of songbirds, such as the Black-and-white Warbler, and is home to many of our wild neighbors such as bear, coyote, and porcupine. Forever-wild conservation ensures these beings will always have a home at Moriah Wilderness Preserve.

Winter photography by Jerry Monkman/Ecophotography, Autumn photography by Bob Linck, Summer photography by Stephen Matter