Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the state acquisition of the Berry Pond Preserve in Warren County, which was attained to protect water quality in Lake George and its tributaries. New York State purchased the 1,436-acre property from the Lake George Land Conservancy with $1.7 million from the Environmental Protection Fund. View a map here.
“By purchasing this land, the State is stepping up to protect the health and vitality of Lake George and the surrounding communities,” Governor Cuomo said. “The Berry Pond Preserve is an integral part of both the local ecosystem and the region’s economy, and we will ensure that it remains pollutant-free and accessible for families and visitors alike to enjoy for years to come.”
The Berry Pond Preserve lies within the Warren County towns of Lake George, Lake Luzerne and Warrensburg, and includes the headwaters of West Brook, a major tributary to the southern basin of Lake George. Because water quality in this part of Lake George is closely tied to the health of West Brook, purchasing the tract will help to protect these waters. The property will be added to the State Forest Preserve and the state will pay full local property and school taxes on the newly acquired land.
The Lake George Land Conservancy purchased the preserve in January 2008 as an integral part of the West Brook Conservation Initiative, which is designed to dramatically reduce sediments and pollutants that currently run freely into West Brook and, subsequently, into Lake George near the "Million Dollar" Beach. It is a coordinated effort by Warren County, the Village of Lake George, New York State, the Lake George Land Conservancy, the Fund for Lake George and the Lake George Association.
Senator Betty Little said, “Tens of thousands of visitors will soon descend on Lake George to marvel at its amazing beauty during the very busy summer season. Protecting this incredible asset is good for the environment and for the economy. This acquisition will help ensure a watershed critically important to the health of the lake is protected for generations to come.”
Assemblyman Dan Stec said, “Protecting the waters of Lake George continues to be a priority for New York State. Providing additional recreational activities will be an economic benefit to the entire region.”
Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joe Martens said. “Governor Cuomo is committed to helping communities across the state access their natural resources to provide exciting recreation opportunities for residents and visitors, which will also benefit the regional economy. The acquisition of the Berry Pond Preserve helps further this goal and protects an important tributary in the Lake George Watershed.”
Connecting nearly 10,000 acres of protected land, the Berry Pond tract links Prospect Mountain, lands owned by The Nature Conservancy, the Department of Environmental Conservation sustainable forestry easement lands and other open space land owned by the village and town of Lake George. Situated adjacent to the existing Lake George Recreation Center, the Berry Pond tract provides significantly expanded outdoor recreational resources for residents and visitors, including trails used by the South Warren Snowmobile Club.
Lake George Land Conservancy Executive Director Jamie Brown said, “We are thrilled that New York State has purchased Berry Pond and added the land to the Adirondack Forest Preserve. We thank Governor Cuomo for supporting the permanent protection of these acres that is essential to keeping a major Lake George tributary, and therefore the lake itself, clean for residents and guests to enjoy. The recreational potential is also huge, and we are grateful to the State for identifying the Berry Pond tract as an important environmental as well as economic asset through recreational tourism.”
Kevin Geraghty, Chairman of the Warren County Board of Supervisors, said, “Protecting the waters of Lake George is important to the economy of Warren County as well as the environment. This is another step in the right direction to protect the ‘Queen of American Lakes.’”
Robert Blais, Mayor of the Village of Lake George, said, “The purchase will allow the Lake George Land Conservancy to continue their valuable work in protecting our watershed, creating additional recreational opportunities and preserving our great physical resources.”
Town of Lake George Supervisor Dennis Dickinson said, “Having lived in this area all my life, I know we need to protect water quality and our environment. This property is an asset that will preserve water quality in the Lake George basin now and in the future. We appreciate this support, which will benefit our community and all New Yorkers.”
Town of Lake Luzerne Supervisor Gene Merlino said, “I am pleased that Governor Cuomo continues to work with town and counties in the North Country to support our needs. The acquisition of Berry Pond will be a plus for our region.”
The tract is included in the state’s Open Space Conservation Plan as a priority conservation project.
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