Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Will The Finch, Pruyn Deal Help Local Towns?

May June 2014After the state agreed to buy 65,000 acres of former Finch, Pruyn land from the Nature Conservancy, Governor Andrew Cuomo said the deal would be an economic boon to local towns.

The premise is that the new state lands will attract more tourists. In the May/June issue of the Adirondack Explorer newsmagazine, Brian Mann takes a hard look at this notion.

Mann talked to regional politicians, local business owners, environmentalists, and economic researchers, among others. The consensus is that the Finch, Pruyn acquisition does present an opportunity, but economic growth won’t happen on its own. Like any tourist destination, the Finch, Pruyn lands must be marketed and well maintained.

If the lands are not properly marketed, it’s possible that they will simply “cannibalize” other parts of the Adirondack Park. In other words, all we’d be doing is shuffling the same tourist dollars around.

We’ll post Brian’s full story soon on Adirondack Almanack.

The latest issue of the Explorer also contains an in-depth look at phase three of the Finch, Pruyn acquisition: the state’s purchase of eleven parcels scattered around the Park and three located just outside it. The article also reports the state expects to complete phase four by the end of this year: the purchase of the two McIntyre Tracts, encompassing 12,000 acres, on the edge of the High Peaks Wilderness.

The acquisition of the McIntyre Tracts will be good news for hikers, of course, but it’s also good news for paddlers. The eastern tract contains long stretches of the Hudson River and Opalescent River, a tributary of Hudson flowing out of the High Peaks. When researching my guidebook Adirondack Paddling, I paddled both rivers and included the trip in the book. However, there weren’t many options then for legal access and egress. With this acquisition, paddlers will be able to enter and exit the Hudson at numerous places, and when they go up the Opalescent they will be able to stop on the sandy banks for a swim or picnic.

Speaking of the High Peaks … the Explorer’s cover story is about a road-bike trip around the High Peaks Wilderness. Ethan Rouen and his wife, Kim Martineau (who took the cover photo), started at Chapel Pond and did a three-day circuit. They stayed in Newcomb the first night and Tupper Lake the second, stopping along the way for miscellaneous adventures.

Among the other goodies in the Explorer:

  • My tale of riding the rollicking whitewater of the Hudson Gorge in an inflatable kayak (known as a ducky). We also plan to post this story on the Almanack with video.
  •  Guidebook writer Lisa Densmore’s colorful account of a hike up Goodnow Mountain. The view from the restored fire tower is extraordinary.
  •  David Sommerstein’s report on the increase in the number of oil-tanker trains rumbling through the Champlain Valley and the hazards posed by them.
  •  An article that asks why—forty years after the creation of the Adirondack Park Agency—so few towns have adopted APA-approved land-use plans.
  •  A profile of Erik Schlimmer, who hiked from the Park’s north border to its south border and wrote a guidebook so others can follow in his footsteps. He calls it the Trans Adirondack Route.
  •  A report on the explosive growth of rock climbing near Lake George. At Shelving Rock Cliff alone, climbers have put up more than 70 routes in recent years.
  •  A debate between Jack Drury and Tony Goodwin on the feasibility of establishing a trail system along a state-owned rail corridor.

In addition to the “Birdwatch” and “On the Wild Side,” this issue debuts a third natural-history column that will run regularly in the Explorer. Titled “The Naturalist’s Lens,” it will feature photos and text by Larry Master, a zoologist who lives in Lake Placid. As the title suggest, this column will emphasize photography. Larry’s first subject is the migration of amphibians to vernal pools.

There is a lot more to the latest issue of the Explorer. Some of the stories will be posted on the Almanack, but most are available only in print. If you’re curious, go to the Explorer website to subscribe or request a free issue.

Cover photo by Kim Martineau: Ethan Rouen rides his bike through Keene.

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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.

6 Responses

  1. Jim Frenette Sr. says:

    The question as to whether or not the recently acquired Finch Pruyn lands will bring in more tourists, paddlers and or hikers or will it result in a reshuffling of current users’paddlers etc.

    I would suggest that the time to recognize and promote this region,Essex Franklin, Hamilton and St Lawrence counties, as the premier,outstanding, or what ever term works,paddling destination in the Eastern United States.
    Why this has not been done before probably because we have been busy protecting or advertising our own back yards.
    There is an awaking to the idea that regional cooperation is the way to go and this designation as the greatest Canoe area in the East will prove the value of these cooperative efforts.

  2. William Deuel,Jr says:


    Having my camp on the Newcomb sportsmans club I have for good reasons kept a close eye on the situation. The thing that strikes me when I bring this up in social conversation is how little people know about the land deal. People like you and I are aware, for good reasons and your pretty die hard outdoors people and conservationists know the deal, but the average Joe does not have a clue or better yet really does not seem to care one way or the other.

    The Hudson and Opalescent paddles will eventually lead to the Tahawus Club property and I would assume you would have to take out at that point.
    The Tahawus road should be interesting with the Newcomb club on one side of the road, state land on the other which eventually both come up to the Tahawus club property. This will be interesting.

    • joseph says:

      Why would you have to take out on a navigable waterway. God created rivers for all his creatures

  3. Jim McCulley says:

    William, your right the average Joe does not know or care about this land deal. The paid environmentalist and the recreational users pay attention to theses issues. The average Joe is just trying to survive in a state that squanders it’s treasury on land purchase and silly programs. The average Joe has to pay for the waste through the highest level of taxation in the nation. So while I agree it’s a shame more people are not paying attention. It’s because they’re in survival mode. Not recreation mode.

  4. Paul says:

    It seems like the question of whether this land deal will help local towns should have been answered before it was used as a selling point for making the deal.

    Now it is just fodder for folks that want to keep on talking about and writing articles on a deal that is already done.

  5. Paul says:

    Do they have trail registries yet? How many people used the area this past fall and winter? I would assume that with all the press and excitement of the opening there would have been a very large number of users if it is going to have the economic impact that was predicted.

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