In March of this year, Governor Andrew Cuomo approved the classification of properties the state acquired from the Nature Conservancy (TNC) in 2015, including Boreas Ponds and Casey Brook, just on the other side of Boreas Mountain from Elk Lake. These lands were all previously owned by Finch, Pruyn, and Company, which also once owned Elk Lake and Clear Pond.
Several years ago, in the the process of putting a new conservation easement on Elk Lake lands to enhance the original 1963 easement (the first ever donated to New York State), a land exchange was arranged with TNC. The 1,500-acre Casey Brook tract owned by Elk Lake was traded for the similarly-sized Three Brothers tract that runs up the East side of Elk Lake Road.
One of the perceived advantages of this exchange came to fruition in the new classification. Casey Brook, which was classified as Wilderness, along with a portion of Boreas Ponds, became the linchpin connecting the Dix Mountain Wilderness with the High Peaks Wilderness. Now, the Department of Environmental Conservation has joined the two areas into a single 275,000-acre High Peaks Wilderness that is the third largest wilderness area east of the Mississippi River.
For more information on the High Peaks Wilderness and Boreas Ponds, refer to the Winter 2018 issue of the Adirondack Council's newsletter.