Governor Andrew Cuomo on Sunday announced that New York State had purchased 69,000 acres of land from the Nature Conservancy. It’s the largest acquisition of Adirondack lands in more than a century.
The land purchase preserves a significant portion of the Upper Hudson River watershed. More than 180 miles of rivers and streams, 175 lakes and ponds, and six mountains higher than 2-thousand feet are included in the property, and marks the first time the lands have been open for public use in 150 years.
Governor Cuomo says the $49.8 million purchase enhances the state's tourism and ecological legacy.
The land is being sold to the state in phases over a five-year period by the Nature Conservancy. The Conservancy bought 161,000-acres of timberland from Finch-Pruyn 2007. This 69-thousand acre tract is the last to be transferred to the state. Adirondack Nature Conservancy Executive Director Mike Carr.
Adirondack Council Spokesman John Sheehan believes this may be the most important purchase for the forest preserve since it was established in 1894.
Audubon NY Executive Director Al Caccese calls the acquisition a spectacular resource that protects the forest from fragmentation.
The Adirondack Park Local Government Review Board says the state’s purchase of the land is unprecedented “in its utter disregard for the Adirondack economy” and “overall fiscal irresponsibility”. Executive Director Fred Monroe says a DEC study found there are 3 jobs in the forest products industry, and 1.8 indirect jobs, for every acre of forest lands, but only 8-tenths of a job connected to tourism per acre. He expects more than 300 job losses due to this land acquisition.
The purchase is paid for from the state Environmental Protection Fund. The lands will be subject to the Adirondack Park Agency’s Unit Management planning process.