A local family and the Adirondack Land Trust have conserved 107 acres and a third of a mile of shoreline on the East Branch of the Ausable River upstream of the Keene town beach.
Chris and Audrey Hyson donated the land to the Adirondack Land Trust, which will pass the gift to New York State as an addition to the Adirondack Forest Preserve.
The woodland includes floodplain and the lower south face of Baxter Mountain, a prominent part of the vista from Route 73 and Marcy Field between the hamlets of Keene Valley and Keene. The tract is contiguous with New York State Forest Preserve on two sides.
For generations, the Hyson family has donated land for public benefit in the High Peaks town of Keene. Chris Hyson’s great-grandparents, George and Katharine Notman, came to Keene Valley in the late 1800s. They loved the valley and acquired substantial acreage. Over the years, many of the Notman holdings have been dispersed to the community—the site of Keene Central School is the former Notman farm. Chris’s parents, Winifred and Charles Hyson, honored their family’s wishes to maintain some of their land as Forever Wild when they donated 78 acres to the Adirondack Land Trust in 1996, including Round Top Mountain, which was later transferred to the Forest Preserve. Chris and his wife, Audrey, are continuing the tradition with this new gift of land, across the river from Notman Park and picnic area.
The Hysons had used the land for recreation and forestry. The Adirondack Land Trust will continue to keep the forest intact and pay property taxes until the land can be transferred to New York State, which also pays taxes and will open the land for hunting, fishing and potentially other recreation.
Photograph by Lisa J. Godfrey