Nature Conservancy sells 130 acres to boys camp

INDIAN LAKE – The Nature Conservancy’s Adirondack Chapter has agreed to sell 130 acres of land in the central Adirondacks that it acquired from Finch, Pruyn and Co. to a private boys camp.

The Northern Frontier Camp already owns 38 acres at the center of the Conservancy’s 3,000-acre OK Slip Falls-Blue Ledge tract, including OK Slip Pond in the town of Indian Lake. It recently purchased the 130 adjoining acres from the Conservancy for $452,000, according to a press release. Camp leaders said the acquisition enhances their outdoor recreation curriculum and prohibits development on the property.

“Our purchase of this property for addition to our existing ownership at OK Slip Pond will ensure Northern Frontier’s ability to continue its ministry safely and privately,” Northern Frontier Camp Director Ralph Essery said in a release.

The camp offers summer programs for boys 8 to 16 and father-son programs. It has been in operation since 1946.

As part of this transaction, the camp granted a right of first offer to the Conservancy, which can be exercised in the future only if the camp decides to sell the property. One hundred acres of the camp’s newly acquired property, including all of OK Slip Pond, are protected by a conservation easement held by the Conservancy. The easement does not allow for public access. Northern Frontier will continue to be able to access its land via a private right of way over the Conservancy’s property.

The rest of the OK Slip Falls tract is scheduled to be transferred to the state as part of the five-year, $50 million acquisition of 69,000 acres of former Finch lands announced last year. State officials have said the OK Slip Falls tract, which includes one of the state’s highest waterfalls, is one of three that could be classified this year. The lands have been off limits to the public since before the Civil War.

“The Nature Conservancy’s eventual sale of the balance of the surrounding land to New York state will afford those members of the public who have long desired to see the lovely OK Slip Falls and Blue Ledge the opportunity to do so,” Essery said.

Mike Carr, executive director of the Conservancy’s Adirondack Chapter, said the OK Slip Falls tract was the only one of the former Finch lands with a private inholding at its center.

“The land sale to the camp in advance of transferring the rest of the property to public ownership makes sense for Northern Frontier from a business perspective and for the public from a recreational use perspective,” he said in the release. “Boundaries and uses will be more clearly delineated for everyone.”