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March 12, 2014

State to buy 8,451 former Finch, Pruyn acres

RAY BROOK — The state is set to buy 14 smaller parcels of former Finch, Pruyn & Co. timberland property.

The total 8,451 acres will cost $5.7 million for addition to the Adirondack Park in continuance of a five-year agreement struck with the Nature Conservancy in 2012.

As Phase 3, the parcels encompass smaller pieces of the 69,000 total acreage that the conservancy held aside for the state. Already, Essex Chain Lakes lands, as Phase 1, and property at OK Slip Falls, in Phase 2, have been bought and classified for use.

The newest purchase plan was unveiled Tuesday by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who at the same time announced $875,000 in grant and tourism funding for Adirondack recreation and economic development.

Some of the money will be available to local municipalities, specifically allocating $500,000 to the Adirondack Park Upper Hudson Recreation Hub.

SMART-GROWTH PLANS

Those grants are being funded by the Nature Conservancy and will be awarded through a request-for-proposals process to be released this week via the State Contract Reporter and on the State Department of Environmental Conservation, Nature Conservancy and Natural Heritage Trust websites, the Governor’s Office said in a news release.

Another $300,000 in Environmental Protection Fund money will be available through the Adirondack Smart Growth grant program.

Those funds are designed to target projects that “build on existing smart growth plans, including capital projects and community development initiatives” meant to foster sustainable development, environmental protection and community growth, the release said.

And $75,000 will support paddling events, building on Cuomo’s 2013 Adirondack Whitewater Challenge in Indian Lake last summer. The Nature Conservancy also provided seed money for this portion of the grant funding, which will be coordinated through the Adirondack Regional Tourism Council.

DIVERSE RECREATION

County lawmakers applauded the purchase, paired with economic-development funding.

Bill Farber, chairman of the Hamilton County Board of Supervisors, said Cuomo’s vision supports diverse recreational access to state land.

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