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August 26, 2013

APA looks to classify new state lands

(Continued)

But classification has to make room for easements in place.

Camp properties in Essex Chain Lakes are currently held in fee-lease by hunting clubs.  

The Polaris and Gooley Clubs maintain use of 1-acre parcels around their existing camps through 2018 in an agreement made when the Nature Conservancy bought the land nearly six years ago.

At least one environmental group believes APA might do better to wait to classify the lands.

“One option that the APA should consider is not to classify these lands until two things happen,” Protect the Adirondacks Executive Director Peter Bauer said in a recent interview.

“First, until all of the entire 69,000 acres has been purchased (from the Nature Conservancy); and second, until all the reserved rights through 2018 are extinguished. 

“It’s going to be hard to implement any classification while people are still driving around. There is not a lot of precedent for such a deal.”

EXISTING RIGHTS

Other land-use agreements allow for sustained municipal use of state lands.

Minerva and Newcomb, for instance, have reserved rights to gravel pits in the Essex Chain Lakes tract.

Both towns also have reserved floatplane access rights on First and Pine Lakes.

Minerva and Indian Lake have easements to a road and gravel pits on the Indian River Tract.

Northern Frontier Camp owns OK Slip Pond inside the OK Slip Falls tract with a private right-of-way on a gravel road to its property.

All of these preexisting conditions could impact the legal decision-making.

MANAGEMENT PLAN

The formal DEC management plan for recreational use would come after APA designation.

“APA’s role is to classify the land based on State Land Master Plan criteria,” McKeever said.

“The second aspect in planning is the Unit Management planning process, and that gets to specific locations of parking lots, boat launches; what types of uses can occur on trails; and where motorized access would be allowed.”

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