LAKE PLACID — The largest state land purchase in more than a century took place Sunday under a pen held by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
The governor addressed a gathering of about 30 local and state officials at the Conference Center in Lake Placid and sealed a final transaction with The Nature Conservancy to buy 69,000 acres of former Finch, Pruyn and Company forest land.
The state will buy the land for $47,396,413 over the next five years.
The land purchase represents 5 percent of the Upper Hudson watershed, but does not include Follensby Park now owned by the Conservancy.
“I’m here for one reason,” the governor allowed. “To sit at that table and sign the check.”
Cuomo called the land transfer “a stellar accomplishment for all of us ... because this is going to make the (Adirondack) park even better – if that’s possible.”
He said the sense of harmony that exists in the natural world provides a lesson of balance.
“We need to conserve, we need to preserve.” he said. “We also have occupations that we have to perform. We also need jobs.”
Adding these 69,000 acres to state forest lands will expand public access to some of the finest hunting, fishing, paddling and hiking areas in the world — an opportunity that the governor suggests will “fuel tourism and fuel the legacy — this enhances the legacy that we leave for our children.”
The purchase encompasses 10 tracts in all, to include Boreas Ponds, Essex Chain
of Lakes, the McIntyre Tract (at the southern border of the High Peaks region) and the OK Slip Tract in the heart of Adirondack wilderness.
Local government officials have fought against the intended purchase since its inception, arguing that lost forestry jobs and dispersion of hundreds of private hunting clubs will actually cost the Adirondack region hundreds of jobs.
In June, the Local Government Review Board petitioned Cuomo to put the core 65,000 acres of this deal in Department of Environmen