The Adirondack Association of Towns and Villages has drafted a resolution opposing the state’s purchase of Follensby Pond and some 65,000 acres formerly owned by Finch, Pruyn & Co.
Wells Supervisor Brian Towers, the president of AATV, said the draft resolution has the “same general thrust” of a resolution passed a few weeks ago by the Adirondack Park Local Government Review Board.
Unlike the Review Board’s resolution, Towers said, the AATV’s draft measure does not speculate on the number of jobs that might be lost if the lands are added to the Forest Preserve. Rather, Towers said the AATV focuses more on the state’s fiscal crisis.
“The general feeling is that this is a bad time to be buying any land,” he said.
Towers said the organization’s executive board is reviewing the draft resolution. He expects that it will be voted on by the board and the general membership within a month or so.
“My gut feeling is that this will pass in some format,” he said.
The Adirondack Nature Conservancy owns the lands in question and plans to sell them to the state. Officials in the state Department of Environmental Conservation say they intend to go ahead with the acquisitions.
The conservancy bought all 161,000 acres owned by Finch, Pruyn in 2007. Afterward, it put together a plan for the property that was approved by all twenty-seven towns that contained Finch lands. Most of the land, some 89,000 acres, is now protected by easements that allow logging and public recreation but preclude development.
Towers would like to see the 65,000 acres in question protected by easements as well rather than added to the forever-wild Forest Preserve. He added, however, that he wouldn’t mind if the state bought a few choice parcels for the Preserve.
Asked if the draft resolution goes against the wishes of the twenty-seven towns, Towers replied, “When the towns supported it, I’m not sure exactly what they were supportive of.”
Fred Monroe, the executive director of the Review Board, has suggested that the towns signed off on the plan in order to negotiate the best deal they could.
Pete Klein says
The state’s finances will certainly play a role, at least for the 2011 budget.
Only time will tell.
When TNC pitched this to the towns, there were a lot of unanswered questions and ambiguity. For instance, the towns wanted to preserve the clubs, and TNC ensured the towns that the clubs would have an option to relocate. It turns out that the relocation options were unacceptable to the clubs for the most part.
It was simple human nature for the towns to accept the deal, hopeful that everything would be fine. But now that the smoke and mirrors is being cleared away, the stark reality of the deal leaves a lot to be desired.
At the most, the state should purchase easements only, and the clubs, sustainable forest management, and public access can coexist peacefully.
Frankly, I’m quite skeptical that tourism on these lands would be popular. The clubs bring $ millions to the towns, and there is no way tourism can do the same.
Timothy Dannenhoffer says
DON’T think there was any smoke and mirrors when TNC proposed this.
DON’T think that clubs bring in millions to the towns.
But I will DEFINITELY backpack, ski, snowshoe, camp and paddle in the Boreas Ponds, Follensby Pond and Essex Chain Lakes tracts if they become available.
And I will spend money in the surrounding towns.
So will thousands of others.
Is there even a restaurant in Newcomb anyway? A gas station? I kinda like it without these. Feels like a wilderness town.
Essex Chain Lakes would bring tourist money to Indian Lake and perhaps Newcomb.
Follensby Pond would bring tourist money to Tupper Lake.
What are you doing now, telling John what to think? That is a new one even for you.
Alan Gregory says
Something elected municipal leaders always forget or ignore, especially here in Pa., is this: Undeveloped natural land does not require taxpayer-funded services.