RAY BROOK — A complex land-use plan for new state forest earned unanimous Adirondack Park Agency approval.
Commissioners voted 11-0 on Friday to OK a very detailed set of resolutions that classify former Finch, Pruyn & Co. timberlands in the heart of the Adirondack Park.
Classification allows for a broad reach of public access, including lakes preserved for paddle sports; roads open for mountain bikes and cross-country skiers; and a Wild Forest trail for snowmobiles connecting Essex and Hamilton counties.
Before the vote, commissioners reflected on the process; Dick Booth called the Essex Chain Lakes land-use plan a “fairly remarkable decision.
“Remarkable,” he said, in that it includes “a good deal of compromise. … Flash forward a hundred years and I would suggest to you (that) we are taking actions today for resources people will enjoy for a very long time.”
“The major point is the compromise part of this,” Commissioner Bill Thomas. “We made a compromise here that I believe protects the land and provides recreational opportunities for the communities.”
Commissioner Bill Valentino said there might be some criticism because not all those concerned got everything they wanted, recalling a flood of public comment letters.
“I can promise you, if I could reread every one of those letters, none of them would (anticipate) the decision we reached today.”
Commissioner Sherman Craig said the Essex Chain classification was not a typical process.
“I think the final solution is not exactly what I would have wanted. But when people are on the land, they will have absolutely no idea what color we used on our maps.”
North Hudson, Indian Lake, Newcomb, Minerva and Long Lake have formed a hub to market outdoor adventure on the new pieces of Adirondack Park. Hamilton County Board of Supervisors Chairman Bill Farber said the Nature Conservancy has offered up to $500,000 for the towns to use in creating a recreational-use strategy.