New York State has purchased an additional 8,451 acres of former timber company land in the Adirondacks.
The parcels in Fulton, Warren, Essex, and Hamilton Counties are the latest obtained through a phased-in acquisition of 69,000 acres over five years of former Finch Pruyn land from the Adirondack Nature Conservancy. Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Tuesday the state will pay $5.7 million to acquire 8,451 acres using money from the Environmental Protection Fund. Adirondack Nature Conservancy Spokesperson Connie Prickett explains that the latest sites involve 14 parcels, of which they have closed on five. “There’s some really interesting properties don in Saratoga County for instance. There’s one parcel called the Daniel’s Road Tract that is just north of the city of Saratoga Springs. It had been leased for the last decade by a mountain biking group. So there’s a network of trails there. So that parcel is a really exciting addition to New York State’s public lands. Then there are some more remote parcels. A large cliff that’s in Indian Lake that rock climbers are interested in. There’s a large wetland down in Edinburg also in Saratoga County inside the Park. Lots and lots of moose sightings down there. A big variety of properties.”
Adirondack Council Executive Director Willie Janeway notes that the lands are among the finest of the former Finch lands. “They are an eclectic mixture of waters and forests and will provide for a variety of recreational, local economic and environmental protection across the middle and southern part of the Adirondacks. And we especially applaud the announcement of funding for Adirondack Smart Growth grants to help communities grow in a way that is contained within the hamlet and compatible with protection of this incredible state resource, the Adirondacks.”
In conjunction with the land purchase, the governor announced $875,000 in grants to enhance recreation and develop smart growth projects in the Adirondacks. A half-million dollar Upper Hudson Recreation Hub program is funded by the Nature Conservancy. Again, Connie Prickett. “We have always talked about the untapped recreation potential here and the way that these lands can contribute to our tourism and recreation economy. This $500,000 will provide some seed money to help get some projects started that will help strengthen that link between new recreation opportunities and the economy. There are 27 towns where these lands fall and all of those towns are eligible to apply. But the core and most of the identity of this project is in that Upper Hudson area.”
A $300,000 grant from the state Environmental Protection Fund will help the Adirondack Smart Growth program, and the remaining $75,000 will support paddling events.
Hamilton County Board of Supervisors Chair Bill Farber says this is the first time grants have been offered in conjunction with land purchases. “We’ve really seen an evolution of the type of economy that is going to exist within the Park. If the Adirondack Park is really going to transition into having some success as a tourism economy, some of these communities really need assistance. So actually having actual financial resources partnered with this acquisition will be critically important for communities in terms of figuring out how to connect up the Forest Preserve and actually getting businesses in place, getting infrastructure in place, those things that capitalize on the asset.”
This third phase of Finch Pruyn land acquisition completes about half of the total 69,000 acre Adirondack land purchase.