Long Pond Conservancy (LPC), working under the umbrella of Champlain Area Trails (CATS), has purchased a significant portion of the scenic western shore of Long Pond in Willsboro. “Having Long Pond’s western shore ‘Forever Wild’ is a huge win,” said LPC’s President Frank White. “Today, worldwide, there is a need for more wild places so that nature can flourish and function as it should.”
The 48-acre parcel on the western shore of Long Pond was originally part of a 212-acre tract owned by the 1812 Homestead Living History Museum. In 2013, the museum board decided to sell a portion of their land to establish an endowment for the museum. Those needs shifted when an arsonist burned down most of their principal buildings in 2016, including the original farmhouse that was built around 1812.
“This is really great for our communities,” says CATS Executive Director Chris Maron. “Two good things coming from this real estate transaction are the protection of the picturesque western shoreline of Long Pond and funding to help rebuild the 1812 Homestead buildings.”
Long Pond Conservancy was formed in 2013 to preserve the beauty and uniqueness of this Adirondack lake. Instead of becoming its own non-profit organization and because its mission aligned with CATS, they joined together to accomplish shared goals.
“My grandmother originally bought most of the western shoreline in 1960 to prevent its development,” LPC board member and Vice President Sharp Swan noted. “Over the years the land got whittled down. I thought that my grandmother’s intent to keep that shoreline free of houses should be honored, so, a few concerned preservationists of Long Pond got together and formed LPC.”
Seven years later, Long Pond Conservancy attained success by raising the $230,000 needed to buy the 48 acres with the help from residents near and around Long Pond, concerned conservationists, and families associated with the nearby Pok-O-MacCready Camps. CATS provided strong guidance, and financial support by obtaining grants from the Kelsey Trust and the Cloudsplitter Foundation.
“This is a unique property,” said legendary ADK conservationist Peter Paine. “These West Champlain Hills represent one of the most diverse natural communities in the whole of the Adirondack Park. That’s why this land was worth saving from development and preserving for the future.” LPC President White agreed adding, “Science tells us that natural systems are in an extremely vulnerable state and need protection.”
LPC board member Mona White, who has lived near Long Pond for thirty years, and whose family ties reach back to 1905, said, “It is wonderful news that 48 acres of the western shore of Long Pond are now protected from development. I want to thank all those who contributed and made this possible.”
Other LPC board members are Mary Ann Schneible and Caryl Bahner-Guhin. Trails on Long Pond’s western shore are expected to be completed by the summer of 2021.