November 6, 2013

In My Opinion: Towns back Wild Forest designation

The five towns of Minerva, Newcomb, North Hudson, Indian Lake and Long Lake are working together to take advantage of the recent and future state acquisition of the former Finch Pruyn and other Nature Conservancy lands.

Known as the Upper Hudson Recreation Hub, we are the towns most affected by this purchase. It is we who have the hope that, through the vision of Gov. Mario Cuomo and Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joe Martens, we will see the increase in tourism revenue that they have alluded to.

This could result in new businesses opening up and seasonal businesses being able to remain open year round. It could revitalize our failing economies.

These lands have the potential of providing a vast array of new recreational opportunities on lands heretofore inaccessible by the general public. These new recreational opportunities could provide the stimulus for increased tourism in our five towns.

At the crux of this vision and hope is the classification of these lands, now being considered by the APA, at present for the Essex Chain of Lakes and Indian River Tracts and in the future, the Boreas Ponds Tract.

Together these tracts, depending on the classification, would provide the base for trails connecting our five towns via the extensive network of maintained roads formerly used as logging and access roads.

This would connect our towns and offer opportunities for snowmobiling, mountain biking, horseback riding, hunting, fishing, hiking, camping, canoeing and skiing that were never before possible.

The classification of these tracts is primarily between Wilderness, the most restrictive, and Wild Forest, a less restrictive classification that would allow for reasonable motorized access and mountain biking, which a Wilderness classification would not.

Following the classification process by the Adirondack Park Agency, DEC will develop a Unit Management Plan, hopefully soliciting the inputs of the five towns.

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