Nature Conservancy

Grant Name:  Nature Conservancy Heart of the Adirondacks Campaign

Project Size: $33,000,000

Grant Amount: $1,000,000 (2010-13)

Strategic Value:  Protecting 168,000 acres

The Finch-Pruyne paper company, like many of its peers, decided to sell its timber properties in the Adirondacks.  These lands included vast stretches of the wild Hudson River, waterfalls, ponds, and lakes in the central Adirondacks, and key tracts between designated Wilderness lands.  The Adirondack Nature Conservancy entered into a purchase agreement with Finch-Pruyne to acquire these lands for $108,000,000, a huge gamble that local approvals could be obtained to reclassify the lands and that the State of New York would be a willing buyer for key parcels.  To fund the multi-year carrying cost while the lands were parceled, valued, and sold to the state or to conservation buyers required a private fund raise of $33 million.  This was the single largest opportunity for environmental protection that the Foundation had encountered (and probably will) so we committed $1 million over four years to help with the ultimately successful campaign.

Grant Analysis: A huge success

The Adirondack Nature Conservancy under the direction of Mike Carr succeeded in getting 27 towns to approve the transactions.  In 2014 ANC sold 93,000 acres under conservation easements to a sustainable harvesting Timber Investment Company.  By 2016 ANC had sold the remaining acreage to the State, the last parcel being the beautiful Boreas Pond complex that sits in the absolute heart of the high peaks.