OSI Purchases Huckleberry Mountain Parcel, Promises to Improve Climber Access

The Open Space Institute (OSI) has purchased a 1,285 acre parcel on Huckleberry Mountain that connects the state land (with the climbing cliffs) with Johnsburg Road. The property will be held by the OSI until it can be turned over to New York State, hopefully within the next three years. This is exciting news for climbers, as the connection between the state land and Johnsburg Road promises a shorter, more convenient approach to the cliffs of Huckleberry Mountain.

Huckleberry Mountain was once a popular day hiking destination with its attractive open summit and the historic Paint Mine Ruins. It was also a popular climbing destination with 55 routes up to 5.12, with a heavy emphasis on moderate routes. The Huckleberry/Crane massif is surrounded by private land. The historic, 20-minute approach to Huckleberry Mountain from Paintbed Road crosses two parcels of private land before entering state land. The approach used by climbers was the same as that for the Paint Mine Ruins, and has long been described in various hiking and climbing guidebooks to the region. In 2009, the owners posted their property and threatened to prosecute trespassers. Presently, the only legal option for climbers is to park at the Crane Mountain trailhead at the end of Sky Hi road, hike up Crane Mountain, bushwhack down the other side into the valley between Crane and Huckleberry, then go up valley to the cliffs, which takes about 2.5 hours if you don’t get lost. The inconvenience of this approach has, in practical terms, closed climbing at Huckleberry.

The present, legal approach to Huckleberry is described in Adirondack Rock, excerpt here:

The ACC is working with OSI to map out an alternative approach to the historic paint mines and the climbing cliffs. While still not roadside, the new approach will be far better than going over the summit of Crane. Due to funding, the OSI does not allow public recreation on their properties, so this purchase does not mean there will be immediate relief for climbing access. However, the OSI is looking into alternatives that will allow access in this instance, before the property is turned over to the state. The ACC will continue to work with the OSI on this.

Phil Brown of the Adirondack Explorer has an article here:

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