While some conservationists are concerned about what they perceive as recently increased logging in the Adirondack Park, New York’s Department of Environmental Conservation has begun providing more information about the nearly 781,000 acres of privately owned timberlands covered by state conservation easements.
Those agreements govern many of the larger logging tracts and prevent other commercial development.
New York has paid landowners about $95 million for 162 easements since the 1970s, according to the DEC.
The agreements call for “sustainable forestry” and generally allow some public use like hiking, hunting and snowmobiling on certain haul roads.
Two companies that control almost two-thirds of the easement lands, Lyme Adirondack Timberlands and Molpus Woodlands Group, say their logging has not increased recently, shown by certification audits, despite a stronger market for higher-end wood since last year
The department in August added links on its webpage to the nonprofit groups that certify whether landholders are cutting less wood than they grow. Forest Stewardship Council and Sustainable Forestry Institute annual audits measure sustainable logging against estimated 10-year growth averages.
Some Adirondack conservationists want more detail in return for the public’s ownership share and proportionate payments of local property taxes on the timberlands. That would include annual logging and growth data on each holding and loggers’ management plans.
A previously unpublished list of all 50 Adirondack landowners governed by easements, obtained by the Adirondack Explorer from state officials, is now online at adirondackexplorer.org.
The DEC, which had posted plans specifying allowed public recreational uses on more than a dozen Adirondack tracts, which vary, has promised to post dozens more by the end of the year.
Read the full story at the Adirondack Explorer.
Photo by Mike Lynch.