Thursday, May 23, 2013

APA Schedules Hearings On New State Lands

Essex ChainThe Adirondack Park Agency plans to hold eight hearings around the state to explain options for managing 21,200 acres of former Finch, Pruyn lands and up 24,200 acres of adjacent Forest Preserve. The agency also will gather input from the public on the management and use of the lands.

The APA board is expected to adopt one of the options—possibly with alterations—at its August or September meeting.

The state recently bought the 21,200 acres from the Nature Conservancy, which acquired some 161,000 acres from Finch, Pruyn & Company in 2007. The state intends to buy a total of 65,000 acres of former Finch lands over the next few years.

The APA has set forth seven options for classifying the lands so far acquired. All of them call for creation of a Hudson Gorge Wilderness Area. They differ mainly in the classification of the Essex Chain Lakes and in the degree of motorized access to the Essex Chain and the Hudson.

Adirondack Almanack is running a series of articles explaining the options. You can read the first installment here.

As reported earlier, the first hearing will be at 6 p.m. Wednesday, June 12, at the APA offices in Ray Brook. Following is the schedule for the other hearings:

  • June 17. Minerva Central School in Olmstedville, 1 p.m.
  • June 17. Newcomb Central School in Newcomb, 7 p.m.
  • June 19. Location to be determined in New York City, 7 p.m.
  • June 25. Indian Lake Central School in Indian Lake, 6 p.m.
  • July 1. The Harley School, Rochester, 7 p.m.
  • July 2. Department of Environmental Conservation headquarters, Albany, 1 p.m.
  • July 2. Warren County Offices, Lake George, 7 p.m.

Written comments should be submitted by July 19 to APA Deputy Director James Connolly at P.O. Box 99, Ray Brook, NY 12977 or apa_slmp@gw.dec.state.ny.us

Click here to read a summary of the APA options or the link below to read the APA’s discussion of options (pdf).

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Photo of Essex Chain Lakes by Carl Heilman II.

Phil Brown

Phil Brown

Since 1999, Phil Brown has been Editor of the nonprofit Adirondack Explorer, the regional bimonthly with a focus on outdoor recreation and environmental issues, the same topics he writes about here at Adirondack Almanack.

Phil is also an energetic outdoorsman whose job and personal interests often find him hiking, canoeing, rock climbing, trail running, and backcountry skiing.

He is the author of Adirondack Paddling: 60 Great Flatwater Adventures, which he co-published with the Adirondack Mountain Club, and the editor of Bob Marshall in the Adirondacks, an anthology of Marshall’s writings.

Visit Lost Pond Press for more information.


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7 Responses

  1. SLMPdefender says:

    If the hearings are intended to seek public comment from the people of the ENTIRE state of NY, then why do we see hearings in the three surrounding communities, Ray Brook (obviously), and only three in the other 4/5ths of the State? Why not Buffalo, Elmira, Syracuse, Watertown, Plattsburgh, or Poughkeepsie. The people in those areas bought this land too! This is a sales job.

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  2. Phil Brown says:

    Paul, that is not how the process works. It would not make sense to expend time and money classifying land you don’t own.

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    • Paul says:

      I disagree. Almost every buyer looks at how land they are considering to purchase is zoned for use. The same applies here. The “zoning” should come before the purchase just like it does for almost every private transaction. Sure zoning can change over time but the only way to know what you are getting yourself into is to have some “zoning” to start with. I understand that this is not how these state land transactions work but if this wasn’t the case there would not be all this trouble.

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      • Paul says:

        Also, the state is already spending money on land that it is considering to purchase. That is the whole point of the “open space” project. They have folks (working with the TNC) in Albany analyzing many parcels that they would like to purchase. Making a classification decision as part of the buy is just something that would let everyone know what the plan is going to be once the money is spent. Also, the towns will know what they have approved.

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  3. Don says:

    Phil, Realizing that is not how the process works does it make sense to purchase land you don’t know what you can do with it and then do that after the purchase. I think most people would want to know before hand not after. The other side of my point I guess could be that regarding these classifications at least the purchaser ie NYS knows what the options are just not the specific one. I certainly would want specifics before purchase. Also regarding the Finch lands it appears that a cross section of stakeholders were involved which is definitely a good thing. Thanks

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