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Old 12-06-2021, 01:23 PM   #1
montcalm
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West Adirondack Land

https://www.landandfarm.com/property...rest-14300981/

I'm hoping a conservation group is secretly looking at this purchase, but they rarely raise an eyebrow for this part of the world.

Last edited by montcalm; 12-06-2021 at 01:40 PM..
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Old 12-07-2021, 12:14 AM   #2
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Wow, that is some nice property. I share your hope - Nature Conservancy, where are you on this?
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Old 12-07-2021, 08:00 AM   #3
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I've spent a lot of time in the open easement properties there over the years, sure would hate to see it go totally private. Ice Cave Mountain, the headwaters of the Black River, Horn Lake, etc. It is immediately adjacent to private extensive holdings of the Adirondack League Club property. i don't know if they are looking for new land to close to public access, hopfully not.
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Old 12-07-2021, 08:36 AM   #4
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I'm not sure if the new owners can limit public access... it may be deeded.

I don't know much about these easements, but I was reading on the NYS site and they do close public access when they are logging. Probably for liability reasons.

The 10k+ acres on the north part of North Lake is the most interesting to me. It's heavily degraded, as you can see from the sat images. Lots of clear cut logging, but also what looks like shelter wood cuts, etc... either way, being in the forest preserve for 30 years would alleviate it.

They claim it's productive, but I'm tending to think they probably got the easy money out and that's why it's for sale.

There's also two other tracts. One is north of Haderondah more or less smack in the middle of Independence river WF. Not that interesting to me, but there are public access trails that cross it. The other is just south of Haderondah along Rte 28. This is not particularly appealing to me, but again there is a public access trail which runs along the Rte 28.

A purchase by a conservation group might be able to best decide what should stay private and what is best to be turned over to the state in the future. But it's just a thought...

Last edited by montcalm; 12-07-2021 at 01:42 PM..
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Old 12-07-2021, 10:36 AM   #5
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Maps and additional info here:

https://www.dec.ny.gov/lands/75310.html

Acreage listed by the realtor and the DEC doesn't quite match up.

APA maps say the land north of Haderondah is 6k acres, and JB tract easement is 6k acres. The land north of North Lake is listed as almost 12k acres.

Bit conflicting but according to the sat maps there is a large section of heavily logged land to the west of the JB easement.

Last edited by montcalm; 12-07-2021 at 01:25 PM..
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Old 12-07-2021, 11:25 AM   #6
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Sections were occasionally closed to public access by DEC notification where active logging was taking place, most recently a month or so ago.
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Old 12-07-2021, 01:06 PM   #7
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iirc, an easement transcends ownership as it is now part of the property deed.
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Old 12-07-2021, 01:27 PM   #8
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I'm quite certain the easement itself cannot be removed. It does transcend ownership. I'm not sure if the rights of the easement can be altered though, as we know, not all easements provide the same access rights.

The answer is probably somewhere on the APA website. Perhaps I'll dig more later.
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Old 12-07-2021, 02:21 PM   #9
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I had forgotten about an encounter regarding easments I had a couple of years ago

BSA Cedarlands camp, near Long Lake, had extensive property with an easement agreement, allowing the public access (outside of the central core administrative property) during most of the year outside the period of summer resident scout season.

When it went up for sale, I heard that the easement rules were to remain in effect. I happened to be on site when a potential buyer and his real estate agent drove up in a big black SUV (with NJ plates as I recall) to visit. His idea was to develop it into a wilderness family camping resort, but when the easement was explained to him, he got real nervous about the potential of the public having access to "his" land. I even offered to guide for him. As far as I know he never returned to seal the deal.
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Old 12-07-2021, 02:39 PM   #10
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Interesting, but he may have been misinformed. Someone looking to make that sort of investment should consult with a lawyer who specializes in APA law.

My simplified, common sense thought about easements is this: The state lifts its tax burden from the property, and possibly any liens the property might have had, so whatever the concessions are of the easement, I'd assume the state wants to negotiate for something that they deem worth that tax income loss. That may be in the form of public access, but not all easements allow this, so for some, it may simply be protecting sensitive lands from development. If the owners are using the land for logging, I'd assume public access would have to be on the table because the state is not gaining anything in terms of protections... although it may have some say on how/what may be logged. Just from what I can tell from looking at sat pics, that doesn't seem to be the case.
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Old 12-07-2021, 02:46 PM   #11
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IANAL but my understanding is that easements fall under that pesky "Forever Wild" business. Even if NY State wanted to, the state legally can't give any easement up without an amendment to the NY State constitution. The state can purchase additional rights from the property owner through additional easements (or purchase the land outright) but can not sell or give any of those easement rights back to the property owner (or anyone else, for that matter) without a constitutional amendment.

So when the land gets sold, the easement remains as is- and the new owner must also abide by the easement restrictions.

In the case of what NY State gains when logging is allowed but public access is not permitted- further development of the property is typically prohibited, plus the state usually gets oversight of the specifics of the silvicultural plan as well as the harvesting practices to ensure that it is done sustainably.
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Old 12-07-2021, 02:50 PM   #12
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So if there was public access granted, it cannot be removed without a constitutional amendment. Good to know...

Public access aside, it still seems like a good watershed to protect with an actual forest preserve designation that would prohibit future timber harvest.

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Old 12-07-2021, 02:55 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DSettahr View Post
further development of the property is typically prohibited,
I know there's been issues with this on some easement lands with existing buildings, where owners (or leasees in the case of hunting camps) have run afoul of the easement agreement by trying to add additions or even large porches to some of the buildings.
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Old 12-07-2021, 02:58 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by montcalm View Post
So if there was public access granted, it cannot be removed with a constitutional amendment. Good to know...
I think you meant "without a constitutional amendment," but yeah.

A great example is the AMR. There's no "take backs" on that one, no matter how much money they might conceivably offer to the state.
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Old 12-07-2021, 03:01 PM   #15
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WHoops - yeah, without.

re: a constitutional amendment, those often go in favor of private party it seems, although they need to offer up some concession. At least the ones I have seen in recent years.

My back of my mind thought was that if you put enough money (lawyers and advertising) into something you can get around pretty much anything.
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Old 12-07-2021, 03:05 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DSettahr View Post
In the case of what NY State gains when logging is allowed but public access is not permitted- further development of the property is typically prohibited, plus the state usually gets oversight of the specifics of the silvicultural plan as well as the harvesting practices to ensure that it is done sustainably.
I thought that *might* have been the case, but I wasn't sure.

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Old 12-07-2021, 03:14 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Wldrns View Post
It is immediately adjacent to private extensive holdings of the Adirondack League Club property. i don't know if they are looking for new land to close to public access, hopfully not.
I think we can ease our worries there unless a vote comes.
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Old 12-07-2021, 03:32 PM   #18
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It's possible that a clause could've been written into the easement stating that if the property gets sold, the easement is voided. But I doubt the state would've agreed to it, and even if the state did agree to it, I'd question whether it would hold up to legal scrutiny. It's also possible that the public access is not part of the easement but rather a "good faith" allowance by the property owner that is independent of the easement deal, in which case any future owner would not necessarily have to provide the same- but I suspect that this is also not likely.

No two easements are alike, and the legalese involved gets incredibly complex. Modern easement agreements in the ADKs tend to run into the hundreds of pages of language specifying who gets exactly what rights, between the property owner and the state. (Contrast that with the first easement, the AMR, the agreement for which is 5 pages long IIRC.)

To be able to comment on the specifics of this case with 100% certainty would require a law degree plus access to the language of the easement in question. (It probably can be FOIL'ed if anyone is really that interested.)

But in general terms: as I understand it, if public access is part of the existing easement than yes, the new property owner must also allow that same level of public access.
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Old 12-07-2021, 03:38 PM   #19
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Sounds good DS. I knew you were waiting to pounce on this one

I was thinking of a few instances of lessees of easements and what they have told me. I was also thinking that they didn't allow public access with leases, but I'm looking at maps now and there is (this the Big Moose Tract owned by Lyme).
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Old 12-08-2021, 05:53 PM   #20
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I spend a decent amount of time on the JP Lewis aka North Lake tract and it is a cool area and would be devastating if the public access was cut off.
I'm pretty sure it used to be owned by the ADK League Club so I doubt they'd buy it back.
I had a feeling this day would come, the place does seem mostly logged-out except for the ridges and tough to access areas.
Having read a lot about the history of the area and local figures I always get a spooky eerie feeling back in there like their ghosts are out there with me.
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