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Finch Pruyn deal changes Adirondack conservation map (Source: ANC)
Finch Pruyn deal changes Adirondack conservation map (Source: ANC)

Year ends with $30M timberland protection deal

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Environmental groups are praising the state of New York for its decision to buy conservation and recreation easements on nearly 90,000 acres of timberland and wilderness scattered among 27 towns in the Adirondacks.

The deal involving lands once owned by the Finch Pruyn paper company was brokered by the Adirondack Nature Conservancy.

According to a statement issued yesterday, New York State will pay 30 million dollars to protect the land and buy access for public recreation. The money will come from the state's Environmental Protection Fund.

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Bill Ulfelder, director of the Nature Conservancy in New York, called it “a great day for all New Yorkers.

The purchase prohibits development and establishes perpetual public rights to several snowmobile trails and some new hiking and fishing access. The largest tracts are in Long Lake, Newcomb and Indian Lake.

The deal also drew praise from Newcomb town supervisor George Canon.  In a statement yesterday he said, the easement purchase “is a step toward making Newcomb a central hub for snowmobiling and winter recreation.”

A statement from Neil Woodworth of the Adirondack Mountain Club says the deal proves that protecting wild lands and fostering economic development can go hand-in-hand. “This is a deal that has something for everyone,” he said. He said it opens key access to some of the most beautiful places in the Adirondack High Peaks, including the approaches to the Santanoni Range, Allen Mountain and Hanging Spear Falls.

Much of the land will still be harvested for timber to supply the Finch, Pruyn mill in Glens Falls. 

The Nature Conservancy still holds title to more than 60,000 acres of land once owned by the paper company. Dan Plumley of the environmental group Adirondack Wild says there’s still some  “heavy-lifting” needed to protect the remainder. He’s looking to Governor-elect Andrew Cuomo and his Department of Environmental Conservation.

The green group hopes that land will eventually be added to the Adirondack forest preserve. 

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