Press-Republican

Guest Column

August 12, 2012

Nature Conservancy, New York strike a deal

It’s been a little more than five years since The Nature Conservancy purchased 161,000 acres in the Adirondacks from Finch, Pruyn & Company of Glens Falls.

Now the state of New York has confirmed their promise to purchase 69,000 acres to eventually be added to the Adirondack Forest Preserve.

Most of the other 94,000 acres have been sold to timber companies with the state purchasing conservation easements. According to a press release issued by the The Nature Conservancy, the state will pay incrementally $47,396,413, for one chunk at a time from the Environmental Protection Fund.

Up first is the Essex Chain and OK Slip tracts in Newcomb and Indian Lake. “The Essex Chain of Lakes will be in the first wave and that smaller tract that has the Hudson and Indian River confluence,” said Connie Prickett, who is the director of communications for the Adirondack Chapter of The Nature Conservancy. “That will be sometime in 2012. As for the other stuff: it will depend from year to year.”

The deal comes just in time for The Nature Conservancy to move into the next stages of their 10-year phase-out plan initiated in 2008. Many of these lands are currently under recreational leases with hunting clubs who, beginning at that time, had exclusive hunting and fishing rights through 2013 and rights to their accommodations through 2018.

Some of these rights have been extended because purchase by the state had not happened. It should be noted that neither the public nor members of The Nature Conservancy will be able to access these lands until they are both purchased by the state and the leaseholders no longer hold exclusive recreational rights. This is the case with the Gooley Club on the Essex Chain of Lakes.

“For the Essex chain of lakes, when the state purchases that property this year the leaseholders on that tract will have one year of exclusive use left that will bring it to the end of September in 2013,” Prickett said. “The public will have use Oct. 1 next year but they will not be able to access the cabins. For other tracts, some things have been changed slightly because of time. We were in a position to extend some additional years.”

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