There is both praise and disappointment in the Adirondacks over the passage of New York ballot proposals four and five on election day. While the approval of Prop 4 is widely praised, the NYCO land swap remains controversial.
Voters on Tuesday approved both proposals dealing with Adirondack land swaps. Both needed statewide approval because they affected the “forever wild” clause of the state constitution. Prop 5 was the most controversial. It allows NYCO Minerals in Lewis to expand its wollastonite mine onto 200 acres of forest preserve land in exchange for 1,500 acres of forest land. When mining operations are completed, the 200 acres will be reclaimed and returned to the forest preserve. Voters approved the plan, even though the idea split environmental groups. Adirondack Mountain Club Executive Director Neil Woodworth was among those in support.
Adirondack Wild Friends of the Forest partner Dan Plumley says the NYCO land swap, known as Lot 8, sets a dangerous precedent for the Adirondacks.
Plumley notes that passage of Prop 5 merely begins a process and they will leave all options open to protect the wild resources of Lot 8.
Also passing Tuesday was the Township 40 proposal, which will allow New York State and 216 landowners in the Hamilton County hamlet of Raquette Lake to clear disputed property titles. The state will release claim to the properties in return for undeveloped Adirondack lands. The Adirondack Mountain Club’s Neil Woodworth says this is an opportunity to resolve a long standing issue while benefitting the forest preserve.
Hamilton County Board of Supervisors Chair Bill Farber says both Prop 4 and 5 were extremely important to the Adirondacks because they sustain jobs and enhance wilderness areas.
Prop 4 to clear disputed titles passed 72.6 percent to 27.4 percent. The NYCO land swap passed 53 to 47 percent.