RAY BROOK, N.Y. – The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) today announced the acquisition of 595 acres of forest in the town of Jay, Essex County, known as the Four Peaks Tract, from the Adirondack Land Trust. The acquisition adjoins the Beaver Brook Tract, part of the Wilmington Wild Forest.

“DEC is excited for the recreation potential of this parcel and the opportunity to connect communities within the Adirondack Park,” Regional Director, Joe Zalewski said. “Acquiring lands identified in the New York State Open Space Plan can be both an environmental protection and economic win for our communities and supports New York State’s ‘30X30’ initiative to conserve 30 percent of its lands and waters by 2030.”

“We are honored to work with our state partners on this strategic addition to Forest Preserve. The land is ecologically and dimensionally intriguing—from low meadows to high knobs. From a community benefits perspective, it’s all here: new opportunities for outdoor recreation that in turn contribute to health and wellness and spur economic activity,” said Adirondack Land Trust Executive Director Mike Carr.

The Four Peaks tract was identified in the New York State Open Space Conservation Plan and includes the potential to expand recreational opportunities from the Beaver Brook trail network (known locally as Hardy Road), which features 8.5 miles of single-track bike trails. Currently, the Beaver Brook Tract can only be publicly accessed in Wilmington. The new acquisition is almost entirely in the town of Jay and allows for access to the Beaver Brook Tract from Jay, creating potential for an additional trailhead and connector trails. Map showing Four Peaks property, Forest Preserve lands and Three Sisters Preserve

Future recreational development on the tract will require the Adirondack Park Agency to classify these lands prior to undergoing DEC’s unit management planning process.

APA Executive Director Barb Rice said, “The Adirondack Park Agency looks forward to working with our colleagues at DEC and with the communities of Wilmington and Jay on the next steps in the state land planning process. We are grateful for former Wilmington Supervisor Randy Preston’s vision to connect the forest preserve lands to the heart of the town. This beautiful addition will link Wilmington to Jay and will be a short distance to the East Branch Trails in the Town of Keene. These front country multiple use community trails systems provide tremendous quality of life opportunities to residents and help bolster local businesses”

The Adirondack Land Trust purchased the land in May 2018. DEC acquired the $575,000 property through the Environmental Protection Fund (EPF). Among the many environmental victories in the enacted 2024-25 State Budget, Governor Kathy Hochul and legislative leaders maintained the historically high level of $400 million in EPF funding. The EPF supports climate change mitigation and adaptation efforts, improves agricultural resources to promote sustainable agriculture, protects water sources, advances conservation efforts, and provides recreational opportunities for New Yorkers. The EPF also supports New York’s 30×30 initiative, which commits to conserving 30 percent of lands and waters by 2030.

For more information on Wilmington Wild Forest, visit DEC’s website.

Image: View from Rattlesnake Knob on the Four Peaks tract looking toward the Sentinel Wilderness. The name “Four Peaks” stems from three surrounding peaks, Ebenezer, Basset, and Wainwright on private land and posted for no trespassing, plus Rattlesnake Knob, which is on the newly acquired state land.