Tuesday, April 23, 2013

State Buys OK Slip Falls, Hudson Riverfront

Blue LedgeGovernor Andrew Cuomo announced today that the state has purchased two jewels of the former Finch, Pruyn lands—OK Slip Falls and Blue Ledges—as well as a takeout on the Hudson River that will open up a twelve-mile canoe trip from Newcomb.

In all, the state bought 9,300 acres from the Nature Conservancy for $6.3 million. The land is split among six parcels, four in the Adirondack Park, two lying just outside it.

One parcel coveted by paddlers is a 940-acre tract at the confluence of the Hudson and Indian rivers. With this acquisition, the public will be able to put in Harris Lake at the town beach in Newcomb and then paddle south on the Hudson, taking out at the confluence.

The state Department of Environmental Conservation expects that paddlers will have access to the newly acquired river corridor in late May or early June.

Neil Woodworth, executive director of the Adirondack Mountain Club, said this stretch of the Hudson contains mild rapids, but experienced paddlers who can execute “simple whitewater maneuvers” should be able to handle them.

“It’s going to be a kinder, gentler experience than the Hudson Gorge,” Woodworth said.

The Hudson enters the gorge beyond the confluence, a journey recommended only for expert whitewater paddlers.

The 2,800-acre OK Slip Falls tract, also purchased by the state, includes 2.1 miles of riverfront in the Hudson Gorge. Whitewater paddlers and rafters will be able to stop in the gorge and hike to OK Slip Falls, one of the biggest cascades in the Park. This parcel also includes the Blue Ledges, a marble cliff where rare mosses grow. The tract is expected to be open to the public this spring.

Also purchased were:

  • Casey Brook Tract, a 1,587-acre parcel that will provide a link between the High Peaks Wilderness and Dix Mountain Wilderness once the state acquires Boreas Ponds. It will be open to the public this spring.
  • The Hudson River Ice Meadows, a 727-acre parcel in Warren County where spring ice jams create a microhabitat for rare plants. It will be open to the public in October.
  • The Saddles, a 2,540-acre parcel with dramatic cliffs on Lake Champlain’s South Bay. The area is home to timber rattlesnakes and peregrine falcons. It’s located outside the Park in Washington County. It will be open to the public this spring.
  • Spruce Point, a 726-acre parcel with a variety of forest types, lying outside the Park in Washington County. It will be open to the public in October.

“These are very biologically important parcels,” said John Sheehan, spokesman for the Adirondack Council. “They are rich in habitat for wildlife and rare plants.”

This is the second phase in the state’s acquisition of sixty-nine thousand acres from the Nature Conservancy (all but four thousand acres were formerly owned by Finch, Pruyn). In December, the state purchased the 18,318-acre Essex Chain of Lakes tract. Most of that tract, including the Essex Chain, will remain off limits until at least fall, when a sportsmen’s club’s lease expires.

The Nature Conservancy bought all of Finch, Pruyn’s 161,000 acres in 2007. Last year, the state signed an agreement to acquire 65,000 acres of the Finch land over the next five years. In addition, the state has purchased conservation easements on another 90,000 acres to protect them from development.

Photo by Carl Heilman II: Blue Ledges.

 

 

 

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Phil Brown is the former Editor of 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.




14 Responses

  1. Alex says:

    So is OK Slip Falls now legally accessible?

  2. Phil Brown says:

    Alex, I am trying to clarify that. However, I wouldn’t assume that it is OK to go there now.

  3. Phil Brown says:

    I updated the post with info about when each parcel will be open to the public. OK Slip should be open this spring.

  4. Deb Evans says:

    how’s this going to work w/ PUBLIC access this year if
    these lands are “are very biologically important parcels,” said John Sheehan, spokesman for the Adirondack Council. “They are rich in habitat for wildlife and rare plants.””???

    • Alan Senbaugh says:

      Are you saying the public should not be allowed?

      • Paul says:

        Alan, don’t worry the public will get in there and stomp those rare pants like they have been doing in the High Peaks for years!

        • george says:

          Paul, do you refrain from visiting public lands so they won’t get trampeled?

          Do you only hike on private land?

          Or are you just opposed in principle to public ownership of forest lands?

          Maybe we should restrict use of the public Adks to a few thousand hikers each year, by lottery. Then we will have lots of rare plants but no one will see them.

          • Paul says:

            “Paul, do you refrain from visiting public lands so they won’t get trampled?”

            No, that wasn’t my point. They will be visited and they will be trampled.

            “Do you only hike on private land?”

            I spend time on both.

            Or are you just opposed in principle to public ownership of forest lands?

            I am not. There are millions of acres of public land in the Adirondack Park I support the principle. I also support the principle of private stewardship of land. And in many cases it receives better protection following that principle.

            “Maybe we should restrict use of the public Adks to a few thousand hikers each year, by lottery. Then we will have lots of rare plants but no one will see them.”

            Actually under your idea it sounds like thousands of people will see them? This works quite well in other states. At some point there will be a limit to what the land can sustain and you will have to do something. I am sure you don’t want to just see it all wrecked.

  5. Peter Klein says:

    Deb,
    Don’t let words confuse you.
    Everything is biologically important, including you.
    But to the question of access, a trail is in the works.

  6. Paul says:

    Phil, How much money has been allocated by the state to manage these new public lands and the surrounding easements (including property tax payments)? It must be quite expensive beyond just the purchase price. Just curious what our total investment is here.

    • Alan Senbaugh says:

      You know the answer to that…Zero! The DEC is understaffed as it is.

      • Paul says:

        Gotta at least pay the taxes. Don’t tell me they are going to try and pull that one again?

        But seriously I would like to know what they would like to spend if they could. If they don’t manage it properly their promise to the towns of economic impact will be minimal at best.

      • Paul says:

        Even with the easement purchases that the state has made in the past the agreements did include management work that would be done and a budget for that. I think it would be some kind of administrative malpractice if they did not carefully analyze all the necessary holding costs for a purchase where they are using precious tax payer funds don’t you think? It doesn’t matter what side of the issue you are on that is a no-brainer.

  7. Alex says:

    Phil – thanks for the response. If you find out the exact date for the OK Slip Falls tract, please share!