Friday, February 3, 2012

Newcomb Completes Purchase of Conservancy Lands

The Town of Newcomb has completed its purchase of 348 acres for a total of $256,591.00 from The Nature Conservancy. The town officials hope the purchase will boost economic development and public access, particularly along the Route 28N travel corridor, and other community objectives outlined in its Comprehensive Plan, which was updated in 2009.

“There are all kinds of options for these lands,” said Newcomb Supervisor George Cannon. “Now that the transactions with The Nature Conservancy are complete, we look forward to exploring those options. The log yard parcel is probably the most important acquisition; it is an excellent site for a potential business.” Cannon has been a vocal opponent of state land purchases in the past.

The lands sold to Newcomb were originally part of The Nature Conservancy’s 2007 purchase of 161,000 acres of former Finch-Pruyn lands touching 27 towns in six counties in the Adirondacks [Almanack coverage here].

One of the goals of the Newcomb purchase plan is to increase access to the previously privately owned Finch-Pruyn lands . A working forest component of the deal was solidified in December of 2010 when New York State purchased a conservation easement on 89,000 acres—20,270 of which are in Newcomb. That transaction is expected to advance the Newcomb’s recreation objective to develop snowmobile trails to surrounding communities. The new state lands, when they are acquired, are expected to include opportunities for hunting, hiking, fishing and other activities.

“Working with Newcomb on these land sales—and the larger conservation project—demonstrates how community and conservation goals can go hand in hand,” said Michael Carr, Executive Director of The Nature Conservancy’s Adirondack Chapter.

Descriptions of the properties are as follows:

Farmhouse Parcel – a 4-acre property along State Route 28N that includes a two-story residential house that had been used in the past as a field office for foresters and logging contractors. The town, in cooperation with Newcomb Central School, is considering converting the house into a dormitory for foreign exchange students or substitute teachers.

Log Yard Parcel – a 20-acre triangular-shaped tract near the intersection of the Tahawus Road and State Route 28N that has been used for temporary storage of logging equipment and logs. The property, zoned by the Adirondack Park Agency for industrial use, has potential to attract and support a small-scale private enterprise.

Golf Course Parcel – a 324-acre tract bordering the town’s public golf course and a winding stretch of the Hudson River. This parcel may be suitable for expanding the High Peaks Golf Course from nine holes to 18, as well as developing cross country ski trails. Under the terms of a conservation easement now held by the Adirondack Land Trust, approximately three miles of Hudson River shoreline, as well as an ecologically significant wetland complex, will remain undeveloped. Those natural features will continue to provide flood and storm-water runoff controls, which are recognized in the town’s comprehensive plan as valuable, cost-effective services.

Photo: Newcomb and the Hudson River from above, by Carl Heilman (Courtesy the Nature Conservancy).

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