The Adirondack Land Trust and a private landowner have partnered to protect an intact forest and a unique strain of brook trout on 2,122 acres in the town of Long Lake.

The Little Charley Pond tract contains Snell, Bear and Little Charley ponds and five miles of undeveloped shoreline. A new owner, Charley Pond Preserve, has donated to the Adirondack Land Trust a perpetual conservation easement that keeps the forest whole and safeguards a rare fish community.

“Private owners play an important role in protecting the character and integrity of the Adirondack Park’s forests and waters,” said Adirondack Land Trust executive director Mike Carr. “The Little Charley tract is an example of how private initiative can provide conservation leadership.”

The Adirondack Land Trust purchased Little Charley in 2007. After scientists identified an unexploited and genetically unique population of brook trout in Little Charley Pond, the land trust sought a conservation-minded private buyer who could protect the fish community. Under public ownership, the population would be vulnerable to introduction of competing species and fishing pressure. The New York State Museum calls Little Charley brook trout a “native fish of critical conservation priority.” After a century of stocking of domestic strain brook trout and introduction of non-native game fish, wild strain brook trout have become rare throughout their range. In the Adirondack Park, approximately ten populations of native brook trout are known to remain with the genetic characteristics that evolved in their specific lakes over 15,000 years.

The conservation easement does not allow public access. The easement also restricts subdivision, allows one additional camp, and allows forest management under Forest Stewardship Council guidelines. The tract is contained within a 453,000-acre area of mostly roadless public and private forests where stability of ownership and land use has resulted in one of the largest intact blocks of forest remaining in the Eastern United States.

“The Adirondack Land Trust’s original purchase of Little Charley pond over ten years ago and its sale subject to strict conservation easements today provide a great example of leveraging our human and capital resources in the name of land protection. We are extremely pleased to bring this effort to a successful conclusion for all concerned,” said Adirondack Land Trust chair Bill Paternotte.

Founded in 1984, the Adirondack Land Trust works to protect farms and forests, undeveloped shoreline, scenic vistas and other lands contributing to the quality of life of our communities as well as the wildness and rural character of the Adirondacks. The land trust has protected 23,637 acres to date.