Tuesday, March 11, 2014

State Announces Purchase of More Former Finch Lands

Map_NYSFY2013-14transfersAllGovernor Andrew Cuomo has announced the latest phase of New York State’s acquisition of 69,000 acres, part of 161,000 acres of former Finch Pruyn lands (and others) purchased by the Nature Conservancy in 2007, as well as $875,000 in available grants for projects to develop tourism and recreation facilities within the Adirondack Park.

The State will pay $5.7 million to acquire the tracts from The Nature Conservancy (TNC), using the State’s Environmental Protection Fund (EPF) which is funded by real estate transfer taxes. Already, the state has completed two acquisitions from TNC totaling 30,037 acres. An additional 89,000 acres of the original TNC-Finch 161,00-acre purchase was set aside for logging and other motorized uses in 2010.

With this purchase New York State will add to the Forest Preserve 8,451 acres spread over 14 parcels in Fulton, Warren, Essex and Hamilton counties, along with a few parcels in Saratoga County that are outside the blue line. The Saratoga County properties include the Daniels Road tract (519 acres), the Penn York tract (241 acres) and the Town Line tract (176 acres). In addition, the Town of Edinburg will be able to move forward with the acquisition of 1,248 acres on Fox Hill Road. Another 154 acres known as Town Corners will consolidate wetlands in Greenfield.

“Expanding the State Forest Preserve will provide new year-round recreational opportunities to New Yorkers and tourists alike and continue to grow the North Country’s economy,” Governor Cuomo said in a statement to the press announcing the purchase. “Protecting these lands and providing grants for site improvements helps ensure that the Forest Preserve remains an unparalleled natural, recreational, and economic asset available to all visitors.”

The properties inside the Adirondack Park which will enter the Forest Preserve include:

· Benson Road (a.k.a. Tomantown), which borders the Shaker Mountain Wild Forest, features habitat for black bear and bald eagles, regionally-rare plants like Canadian burnet, spruce northern hardwood forests, and connects snowmobile trails in the Towns of Mayfield and Bleeker. (Fulton County, 3,820 acres)

· Black Spruce Mountain, which is adjacent to the Lake George Wild Forest, features Black Spruce Mountain and a section of Podunk Brook. (Warren County, 191 acres)

· Township 33 (Sugarloaf Mt.), which features a section of the popular 120-mile Northville-Placid trail, as well as an exposed cliff. (Hamilton County, 451 acres)

· Good Luck Tract, which features northern hardwood and spruce-fir forests, will provide access to Stonystep and Big Bad Luck ponds. (Hamilton County, 418 acres)

· Buell Valley, which features Buell Brook and was once the site of the Finch Pruyn’s river drive pusher dam. (Hamilton County, 10 acres)

· Cedar Ridge features two small ponds and is adjacent to the Blue Ridge Wilderness, which hosts a major section of the Northville-Placid Trail. (Hamilton County, 548 acres)

· Blue Ridge Road, which can potentially provide enhanced recreational access to the Dix Mountain Wilderness. (Essex County, 77 acres)

· Hudson River Hyslop, near the state-run Harris Lake Campground, can potentially have improved access to Duck Hole. (Essex County, 301 acres)

· North River, which features floodplain and upland forests and more than one mile of Hudson River shorelines. This tract is located opposite the take-out area along State Route 28 used by commercial rafting companies for whitewater rafting through protected forests on the Indian and Hudson Rivers. (Essex and Warren Counties, 155 acres)

finchmaplgNew York’s Natural Heritage Trust (NHT), in conjunction with TNC and DEC, is offering grants to local municipalities to support the implementation of projects that will enhance public access to the acquired land. In addition, EPF grants will be available to advance smart growth principles of economic development and environmental protection. Specifically, these grants for community development in the Adirondack Park consist of:

· $500,000 for Adirondack Park Upper Hudson Recreation Hub Grants program projects, including: seasonal shuttle service for hikers, bikers and paddlers; trailhead parking and waterway access on municipal lands; local infrastructure that supports such recreation uses as mountain biking, horse trail riding, snowmobiling and hiking; connector trails; hut-to-hut accommodations; guide services; and visitor orientation signs, apps and brochures. These grants are being funded by TNC and will be awarded through a Request for Proposals (RFP) available here.

· $300,000 from the EPF for the Adirondack Smart Growth grant program will support key projects to build on existing smart growth plans, including capital projects and community development initiatives that that foster sustainable development, environmental protection and community livability.

· $75,000 to support paddling events. TNC is providing the initial funding for these events to support the ecological and recreational values of the Adirondacks’ freshwater resources and new opportunities associated with the former Finch lands. These events will be coordinated through the Adirondack Regional Tourism Council.

The Adirondack Smart Growth grant program will only be available through the new, statewide Grants Getaway, a web-based grants management system that can be used to browse all state agency grants available and anticipated grant opportunities. All applicants will need to register to use the gateway, and not-for-profit applicants are required to “pre-qualify” through the gateway for all grants opportunities. For additional information or to register for the program, visit the New York State Grants Reform website at www.grantsreform.ny.gov.

Maps: Above, the tracts pending transfer of ownership to NYS (red) and those tracts transferred to NYS in December 2013 (green); below, lands purchased or slated for purchase from The Nature Conservancy by New York State.

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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 editor@adirondackalmanack.com.

10 Responses

  1. Charlie Baudinet says:

    “In addition, the Town of Edinburg will be able to move forward with the acquisition of 1,248 acres on Fox Hill Road.”

    What does this mean? The land is being acquired by the county (or town) and will not be Forest Preserve? Or, the acquisition and the snowmobile easement from the Nature Conservancy allows them to link snowmobile trails?

  2. Paul says:

    $674 dollars per acre for forest land that seems pretty expensive.

    The Brandon Park property is listed at about 950 per acres (28,000 acres for 27 million). It is encumbered by an easement but it does have:

    “seven miles of pristine river, eleven brook-trout ponds, and a 2,200-foot mountain.”

    Not to mention that building and the fish hatchery.

    Plus it is all contiguous.


  3. Alan Senbaugh says:

    Is the higher price because TNC carried it so long when the state broke it’s hand shake agreement for an earlier purchase when the economy tanked?

  4. Charlie S says:

    Paul says: $674 dollars per acre for forest land that seems pretty expensive.

    Think of what we spend on war Paul.Or for one 15-second commercial during the stupor bowl.It may be a lot but it’s a drop in the bucket compared.It’s only money which is going to a good cause….more Adirondack woods being saved from the ever-spreading corrupt corporate machine.At least for now being saved.

  5. Peter Bauer says:

    $674 per acre doesn’t seem out of line. This is land closer and more accessible to regional population centers, like Saratoga and Albany, than other Adirondack lands in the interior. Moreover, Molpus Woodlands Group just spent $440 an acre for lands largely encumbered by conservation easements with limited private recreational rights to lease. Here, NYS gets full fee title with 100% of the development, recreational, and forestry rights. The state can only pay what the land is assessed for and they usually require multiple appraisals. Given that the cool-headed business folks at Molpus just paid $440 an acre for easement lands, and there were others seeking to buy those lands too at near that price, $674 does not seem out of line.

    • Paul says:

      Perhaps this is a fair price. I am sure the folks at Molpus appreciate the compliment!

      It is true that we have to pay for title rights that we are never going to use.

  6. In response to the first comment posted by Charlie Baudinet: New York State will be acquiring the 1,248-acre parcel on Fox Hill Road (also known as Thousand-Acre-Swamp). The Conservancy has granted a right-of-way to the town of Edinburg that will provide an opportunity to link into an existing snowmobile network. Our understanding is that the town is also eager to move forward with plans for an accessible boardwalk for wildlife viewing. (This is reportedly a hot-spot for moose.)

  7. PROTECT cheers the state’s purchase of 8,451 acres for the Forest Preserve | Protect the Adirondacks! says:

    […] See reports in the Adirondack Daily Enterprise and on the Adirondack Almanack. […]

  8. […] NYS Announces Purchase of More Finch Lands […]