NYS Governor David Paterson approved State land classifications recommended by the Adirondack Park Agency for State lands inside the Adirondack Park yesterday. According to a press release issued by the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) “the classification approvals promote traditional recreational activities imperative to the economic well being of Adirondack communities while protecting essential natural resources, critical wildlife habitat, and significant historic resources.” The Governor’s action also sets in motion the development and implementation of unit management plans by the DEC.
Yesterday’s announcement represents the culmination of three major state land planning efforts completed in 2010 by the Adirondack Park Agency (APA) and the DEC:
* Reclassification recommendations in the Moose River Plains Wild Forest, including creation of a new Little Moose Mountain Wilderness Area and establishment of a new Intensive Use Camping Area;
* Classification of the historic fire towers on Hurricane and St. Regis Mountains to a Historic Classification and reclassification of the former Hurricane Mt. Primitive Area to wilderness; and
* Approval of Annual State Land Classification recommendations by the Agency for newly acquired lands being added to the Forest Preserve. The Governor’s approval involves lands in ten counties including: Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Fulton, Hamilton, Herkimer, Lewis, Oneida, St. Lawrence, and Warren with major new additions to the Chazy Highlands Wild Forest and High Peaks Wilderness areas.
In the Moose River Plains action, Governor Paterson authorized the creation of a new 12,269-acre Little Moose Mountain Wilderness Area to the north of the West Canada Lake Wilderness; reclassification of 2,925 acres from Wild Forest to Intensive Use to create a new Moose River Plains Intensive Use Camping Area along the Limekiln Lake-Cedar River Road and Rock Dam Road; reclassification of an estimated 2,398 acres from Wild Forest to Wilderness for addition to the West Canada Lake Wilderness; reclassification of 163 acres from Moose River Plains Wild Forest to Blue Ridge Wilderness; and reclassification of 59 acres from West Canada Lake Wilderness to Moose River Plains Wild Forest.
The Governor’s action empowers the DEC to implement the final unit management plans for the Moose River Plains Wild Forest and the Moose River Plains Intensive Use Camping Area. These plans are expected to enhance traditional camping activity, improve snowmobile and mountain bike opportunities, create a Historic Area management plan for the Great Camp Sagamore historic resources and implement river area management plans in accordance with the NYS Wild, Scenic and Recreational Rivers System Act.
The Historic Fire Tower action approved by Governor Paterson involved the reclassification of 13,742 acres of State lands resulting in the creation of the Hurricane Mountain Wilderness Area and the Hurricane Mountain Fire Tower Historic Area in Essex County as well as the St. Regis Mountain Fire Tower Historic Area in Franklin County.
Additionally, the Governor endorsed recommendations proposed in the 2010 Annual Classification action which included 91 State land classifications totaling approximately 31,056 acres and four State land reclassifications totaling an estimated 468 acres. This action established the Chazy Highlands Wild Forest Unit by classifying 17,190 acres of State land as Wild Forest in the Towns of Dannemora and Saranac, Clinton County – including the Lyon Mountain Tract. The other major classification is the Tahawas/Henderson Lake Parcel in the Town of Newcomb, Essex County. This area was classified as Wilderness and was added to the High Peaks Wilderness Area.
The Adirondack Park was established by legislative action in 1892 and was granted permanent protection in 1895 with an amendment to the New York State constitution, known as the “Forever Wild” clause. The Park, which encompasses approximately 6 million acres, contains 10,000 lakes, more than 30,000 miles of rivers and streams, and is home to 103 towns and villages and 135,000 permanent residents. Each year, millions of tourists visit the Adirondack Park to take advantage of the year-round outdoor activities.