A quartet of botanists stands at the edge of an open field at the corner of New York State Route 73 and Adirondack Loj Road outside Lake Placid. They pass around green stalks topped with yellow blooms, using handheld magnifying lenses to study leaf veins and flower plumes. “Solidago canadensis?” one asks. “I think Solidago ruigosa,” says another, pointing to the fine stem hairs that indicate wrinkleleaf goldenrod. They nod in agreement and move three feet to crouch and study a plant with purple flowers. “We don’t go very fast,” says Ray Curran, a retired botanist who helped to coordinate the outing.

In the next few hours, they move from the field to surrounding forests, glimpsing the Ausable River through tall pines. They identify 97 plant species, including Canadian bunchberry, Timothy grass, and New York fern on the 187-acre parcel added to the Adirondack Land Trust’s preserves portfolio in August 2023.

A view that grounds and unites
Looking across the preserve’s open field toward the High Peaks Wilderness is a grounding experience. A roll call of summit names—Algonquin, Wright, Colden—transforms nature’s grandeur into something familiar and unifying. Get to know the view in the sketch below.

What’s in a name?
Learning about names associated with this land informs how we care for it today and plays a factor in how we plan for future public access. As you read about what we’ve been learning and reflect on your own connection to the iconic vista at this site, perhaps an idea will come to mind for giving this preserve a name. If so, we invite you to participate in a community brainstorming effort to find a name that captures the essence of the land.

Birds and critters
Adirondack Land Trust Stewardship Manager Derek Rogers is rarely seen without binoculars and a camera. So far, he has identified 63 bird species here including golden-crowned kinglet, cedar waxwing, northern harrier. Motion-sensor trail cameras have captured video of Eastern coyote, white-tailed deer, and other critters. On a routine stewardship visit, Derek was quick to snap a photo of a fisher hunkered down at the forest edge. Identifying wildlife by their names shifts the land from being a generic parcel to a life-sustaining place.

Past uses
When Ron and Beth Edgley leased the fi eld from 1983 to 2012 to grow organic seed potatoes, it was called Windy Mountain Farm. In the mid-1800s, a southwestern corner of the parcel was owned by John Briggs, of Albany, as part of Gerrit Smith’s efforts to enfranchise Black men. Through research we will learn more about stories rooted in historic uses of the land.

Next steps
As a friendly reminder, the preserve is not open for public access at this time. The view is always open for all to enjoy from the roadside pull-off.

Photos: scenic vista, by John DiGiacomo; Canadian bunchberry, by Connie Prickett; ruby-crowned kinglet, by Larry Master; scenic vista illustration, by Thatcher Hogan

Community Invited to Brainstorm a Preserve Name