Friday, February 7, 2014

Governor Cuomo Approves Finch Land Classification

Essex Chain APA-map-with-labelsNew York Governor Andrew Cuomo has approved the State Land Classifications for 42,000 acres recently added to the State Forest Preserve in the Adirondack Park.

The classification of the properties, formerly owned by Finch Pruyn & Company, was endorsed by the Adirondack Park Agency on December 13, 2013 as the preferred alternative.

The plan will allow recreation access to the newly acquired lands for people of all abilities for a wide variety of uses including hiking, paddling, cross country skiing, hunting, fishing, mountain biking, horse riding and snowmobiling.

“I am thrilled to approve this land classification plan that will allow the State to both preserve the Adirondacks’ magnificent natural resources and provide public recreational and tourism opportunities that will help grow the region’s economy,” Governor Cuomo said in a statement issued to the press. “The addition of thousands of acres of land to the State Forest Preserve is a major step in both protecting and preserving the Adirondack Park for future generations. At the same time, this plan enhances the State’s efforts to attract more visitors to the Adirondacks and grow the region’s tourism industry and communities. Today’s announcement marks a momentous occasion for New York’s history and landscape.”

The approved classification provides for a mixed use of Wilderness, Primitive and Wild Forest classifications. Here is part of the press release from the Governor’s office:

“The Wilderness and Primitive Areas will protect the nearly pristine water bodies, intact fisheries, wetlands and endangered plants. The Essex Chain Primitive Area will establish a new remote paddling experience that is within reasonable access to the general public. The Primitive classifications will allow for float plane access for sportsmen and sportswomen from First and Pine Lakes. Also, a Wild Forest buffer between Hudson River Gorge and Essex Chain Primitive Areas will provide much needed community connectivity through a multi-use, four season trail, including mountain biking and snowmobile uses, linking Indian Lake, Newcomb and Minerva. This community connector trail supports the goal of public access and recreation, which supports tourism development and opportunities through the Park.

“The approval of the land classification marks an important accomplishment stemming from a deal between Governor Cuomo and The Nature Conservancy in the summer of 2012 by which the 69,000-acre property will be sold to the state pursuant to a phased five-year contract. Once complete, the acquisition of the form Finch lands will be the largest addition to the State Forest Preserve in 118 years.

“In total, the Finch lands contain 180 miles of rivers and streams, 175 lakes and ponds, 465 miles of undeveloped shoreline (rivers, streams, lakes, ponds), six mountains taller than 2,000 feet and countless smaller hills. There are a variety of mountains, cliffs, wilderness lakes, ponds, bogs, fens, swamps, alluvial forests, and flat-water and white-water rivers. Terrestrial habitat exists for mammals such as moose, bobcat, and black bear, and aquatic habitat exists for brook trout, landlocked salmon, and smallmouth and largemouth bass.”

Contributors to the Adirondack Almanack have been writing about the purchase and classifications of these lands since it was first announced.

All the Almanack’s coverage can be found here.


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Community news stories come from press releases and other notices from organizations, businesses, state agencies and other groups. Submit your contributions to Almanack Editor Melissa Hart at

One Response

  1. David says:

    I applaud ADK, the Adirondack Council and local government officials for working together on this compromise. I paddled on the Essex Chain back on Oct 1 when it opened. Creating a large motor less paddling area is priceless. I’m looking forward to more paddling in that area and also mountain biking on those back roads

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