“We don’t need to start selling the Forest Preserve in order to justify its economic benefits. The park generates millions of dollars in tourism revenue and pays $65 million in property taxes.
“If this exchange goes through, then there are lots of resort operators that would like to get a few hundred acres of Forest Preserve for making a profit. You’ve got a lot of people out there starting to play ‘Let’s Make a Deal’ with the Forest Preserve. One of the reasons we’ve been working hard for a ‘no’ vote is that we don’t think the Forest Preserve should be sold, bit by bit.”
NYCO spokesman John Brodt said Proposition 5 has no bearing on future development decisions in the Adirondack Park.
“Land swaps such as this must be approved on a case-by-case basis by the State Legislature and a majority of New York state voters,” he said in an email response to the Press-Republican.
“The drafters of the State Constitution foresaw that there might be circumstances in which the State Constitution should be amended, and they set up an arduous process that requires the legislature and voters to make these decisions.
“Approval of Proposition 5 would not give the state of New York authority to remove any land from the Forest Preserve other than the 200 acres involved in this particular proposal.”
Part of what is unique about the land swap is NYCO’s particular role in the local economy, local lawmakers say.
Assemblywoman Janet Duprey (R-Peru) believes Proposition 5 supports a mining operation with deep Adirondack roots, sustaining the local economy.
“It took two years to get the amendment passed, but the process started long before then,” she said.
“NYCO was in place before the APA Act was written. They’re providing over 100 good-paying jobs, and the employees are the volunteer firefighters, the softball coaches and the taxpayers: 100 jobs means a lot in Essex County. It truly does.”