The Adirondack Land Trust has conserved the last unprotected shoreline on Thirteenth Lake, a headwater of the Upper Hudson River and the largest water body surrounded by the Siamese Ponds Wilderness.

On Monday, December 28, 2020, the land trust completed purchase of 17 acres, securing the wild character of Thirteenth Lake’s 4.5-mile shoreline. The tract is bordered on one side by New York State Forest Preserve and the other by the Garnet Hill Property Owners Association, which protects its lakeshore property with restrictive use covenants.

The Adirondack Land Trust will work with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to add the tract to the 114,010-acre Siamese Ponds Wilderness, at which time it will become public and protected by the Forever Wild clause of the state constitution.

The purchase fulfills the conservation goals of the previous landowners, Elise and Woody Widlund, and was made possible by donations to the land trust’s Wild Adirondacks Fund, including more than 40 individual contributions from Johnsburg residents and homeowners.

“The town board enthusiastically and unanimously supported the Adirondack Land Trust acquisition of this beautiful parcel on Thirteenth Lake,” 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. In 2020 we have been grateful for the rural and scenic character of our region, and to the organizations that partner with us in preservation.”

“So many people who live and retreat near Thirteenth Lake are passionate about preserving wilderness,” said Beth Maher, a resident of North River. “That made mobilizing support for this effort relatively easy.”

Adirondack Land Trust Board Chair Bill Paternotte said, “We are proud to partner with New York State, the town of Johnsburg, and members of the community to safeguard the wild character of Thirteenth Lake. The people of New York State had the foresight to conserve most of this shoreline more than a century ago. This project is an example of how a small but strategic land purchase can have wider impact and protect New York’s collective investment.”

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.

Founded in 1984, the Adirondack Land Trust works to protect farms and forests, undeveloped shoreline, scenic vistas, and lands and waters contributing to community quality of life as well as the wildness and rural character of the Adirondacks. The land trust has protected 26,650 acres to date.

Photograph: Thirteenth Lake © Susie Runyon/Adirondack Land Trust