On November 9, 2022, New York State acquired from the Adirondack Land Trust 17 undeveloped acres with shoreline on Thirteenth Lake. Now public and protected by the Forever Wild clause of the state constitution, this tract secures the wild character of the lake’s 4.5-mile shoreline. This new addition to the Forest Preserve is bordered by the Garnet Hill Property Owners Association, which protects its lakeshore property with restrictive use covenants.
The state’s land purchase conserves what was the last unprotected shoreline on Thirteenth Lake. In addition to being a headwater of the Upper Hudson River, this 329-acre lake is by far the largest water body surrounded by the 114,010-acre Siamese Ponds Wilderness.
When the land trust purchased the property in 2020, the Johnsburg Town Board unanimously approved the intended transfer to New York State. This enhances broader conservation actions dating back to more than a century ago to protect most of the shoreline on Thirteenth Lake.
Adirondack Land Trust Board Chair Bill Paternotte said, “We are proud to partner with New York State, the town of Johnsburg, and local community members on this project. It is a testament to how a small but strategic land purchase can have wider impact and protect New York’s collective investment.”
Johnsburg Town Supervisor Andrea Hogan said, “Protection of year-round outdoor recreation is vital—not only to the local economy, but to benefit the health and well-being of residents as well. We are grateful for the rural and scenic character of our region, and to the organizations that partner with us in preservation.”
Siamese Ponds Wilderness extends 24 miles north and south, 18 miles east and west, and was created between 1877 and 1910, according to DEC. Thirteenth Lake has 13 primitive campsites, and a public beach and canoe launch that are accessible to people who use wheelchairs.
Photograph of skiers on Thirteenth Lake by Nancie Battaglia.