In 1869, the poet Alfred Billings Street was stunned by the view from Spruce Hill. “Turning my head accidentally, a most grand prospect, even in this enchanted region of grand prospects, broke upon me. There surged the Keene Mountains, rolling gigantic billows in softest, sweetest azure upon the valley, like those of an ocean that might whelm the world,” he wrote.
Today those who pass the intersection of Routes 9N and 73 know what Street was talking about. A sagging red barn that was at the forefront of the scene succumbed in 2016, but a piece of the picture will remain forever intact, thanks to the generosity Howie and Darcy Fuguet.
The Fuguets, whose families have owned land in Keene since the early 1900s, donated 4.6 acres at the back of the meadow to the Adirondack Land Trust for eventual transfer to New York State’s Adirondack Forest Preserve. The transaction helps protect the vista as well as 1,000 feet on the East Branch of the Ausable River above Hulls Falls. “It’s a very pretty curve in the river there. It seemed to be the right thing to do,” Howie said.
The Fuguets’ generosity means the land will be Forever Wild. They live nearby and are keeping wild another 12 acres they own across the river, protected under a deed restriction that prevents building. The land is posted with a sign that welcomes walkers, “so that others may enjoy this site and the view of the meadows and the shoreline,” Howie said.
This gift of land allows the Adirondack Land Trust to carry out a relatively small transaction for outsize conservation impact at low cost. We will incur approximately $14,000 in costs before we are able to transfer the land to Forest Preserve. This is the kind of work that support from private individuals makes possible. If you would like to help us cover the costs of this project and to do more like it, please consider making a gift here or by contacting Nancy Van Wie, director of philanthropy, (518) 817-9244, .