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August 26, 2013

APA looks to classify new state lands

RAY BROOK — Four parcels of newly acquired state land are moving through the steps of Adirondack Park Agency land-use classification.

They are sections of the total 65,000 acres being conveyed by the Nature Conservancy to the state as part of the historic Finch, Pruyn & Co. transaction in 2007.

New York allocated $12.4 million late last year for the four parcels situated in the towns of Newcomb, Minerva and Indian Lake.

The parcels vary in size: Essex Chain Lakes is 18,888 acres; Indian River Tract is 945 acres; OK Slip Falls is 3,015 acres; and the smaller Open Space Conservancy section is 160 acres, according to APA documents.

Determining how these lands are classified also triggers potential reclassification of adjoining state park property, pushing the total land mass under APA review to upwards of 47,000 acres.

MASTER PLAN

Adirondack Park land classification has to, by state law, adhere to tenets of the State Land Master Plan.

In a draft Environmental Impact Statement released earlier this summer, APA said: “The protection and preservation of the natural resources of the state lands within the park must be paramount. Human use and enjoyment of those lands should be permitted and encouraged, so long as the resources in their physical and biological context, as well as their social or psychological aspects, are not degraded.”

A series of public hearings ended in July.

APA spokesman Keith McKeever said they received 3,749 letters/emails.  

“The actual number received was higher, but we removed duplicate comments. We received many, many duplicate comments from the same people.”

EIGHT OPTIONS

APA’s Draft Environmental Impact Statement puts eight options, with subcategories, on the planning table, including a final “do nothing” alternative.

The various options wrangle with boundaries that would press — to greater and lesser degrees — a preservation-oriented Wilderness boundary against the more accessible Wild Forest designation; or a Canoe Area with Wilderness corridors; or Wild Forest mixed with Wilderness and State Administrative regions.

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