Press-Republican

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August 27, 2013

Creating Wilderness boundaries

RAY BROOK — Classification of new state land will have significant impact on three central Adirondack towns.

The Adirondack Park Agency is in the process of reviewing land use on four parcels purchased by the state at the end of last year. They are former Finch, Pruyn & Co. timber lands and have been shared with area hunters for generations.

The Adirondack Park additions are largely within the boundaries of Indian Lake, Minerva and Newcomb.

UPPER HUDSON HUB

This first round of land purchases, along with others planned over the next four years, has drawn central Adirondack communities together to assess and identify economic opportunity. Five towns have established the Upper Hudson Recreational Hub, and they have asked the APA to balance environmental protections against economic review.

The towns remain largely focused on the promise Gov. Andrew Cuomo made when announcing the state-land additions last summer.

Cuomo said then that “opening these lands to public use and enjoyment for the first time in 150 years will provide extraordinary new outdoor recreational opportunities, increase the number of visitors to the North Country and generate additional tourism revenue.”

In a letter to APA, Minerva Supervisor Sue Montgomery-Corey said she hopes the land-use designation delivers Cuomo’s promise.

“Our hope is that classification will allow us to have a diverse base of recreation over four seasons. Our community discussions led us to believe that Wild Forest … is the most appropriate (designation),” she said.

Indian Lake officials said economic review is still missing from the ongoing discussion, calling the APA’s Draft Environmental Impact Statement “deficient from a legal perspective.”

In a 10-page legal analysis, Michael Hill, attorney for Indian Lake, said no classification could be made without an economic impact review.

“The (APA) and the governor have no social or economic considerations before them to ‘weigh and balance’ as required by the (state) regulations,” Hill said.

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