County official protests to governor

Hamilton County’s director of economic development and tourism has written Governor David Paterson to protest the state’s plan to close to vehicles all the roads in the Moose River Plains Recreation Area.

The main road in the Moose River Plains. Photo by Phil Brown.
The main road in the Moose River Plains. Photo by Phil Brown.

In his letter released today, William Osborne asserts that the closures “will have a devastating effect on the Hamilton County business community and a local economy already teetering on the brink.”

He also contends that the state should not purchase any more land for the Adirondack Forest Preserve unless it can guarantee it can pay to maintain the land.

“Why is the State of New York buying more and more land when it cannot begin to care for, maintain and police the land it already owns?” he asks.

Osborne suggests the state pass legislation tying future land purchases to maintenance funds.

The state Department of Environmental Conservation says budget cuts prohibit it from opening the forty miles of dirt roads in the Moose River Plains. DEC spokesman David Winchell said the department lacks the staff to maintain and patrol the roads and 110 drive-in campsites. The roads usually open in May.

The Hamilton County Board of Supervisors adopted a resolution last week demanding that the state open the roads immediately.

Click the link below to read Osborne’s letter in its entirety (in PDF format).

Osborne letter

About Phil Brown

Phil Brown edited the Adirondack Explorer from 1999 until his retirement in 2018. He continues to explore the park and to write for the publication and website.

Reader Interactions


  1. Paul says

    The other way to pay for it is to long the land. I bet the timber on this land has matured nicely over the past 45 years. Let’s get in there and make the property pay it’s own bills? Many private landowners cover expenses by logging their land we should be doing the same thing on FP land. Letting all that wood rot on the stump is a shame. It has been shown that a managed forest sequesters more carbon per acre than a mature stand. It’s good for the taxpayers, it’s good for the planet. Don’t listen to these arguments that a forest cannot be managed for timber and recreation, even the Nature Conservancy has embraced the idea in the Adirondacks.

  2. Robert says

    Moose River Recreation Area was a GIFT to NYS

    by Gould Paper Co. in 1963- under a specific provision that this 51,000 acre parcel be acquired for the purpose of Fish and Game management.

    The disposition of this property and 26.2 mile of gravel roads went into legal dispute

    and ended in 1966, as this land is classified as State property, but NOT FOREST PRESERVE, due to the type of purchase (GIFT)that was made with Gould owners that

    guaranteed them that the state would have to maintain the road system to enable sportsmen access to the interior.

    The legality of this agreement was upheld in

    1966 in the Supreme Court of the State of New York under Section 361 of the Conservation Law. The 26.2 miles of private roads were aquired as a GIFT for the purpose of fish and

    wildlife management and that Section 361 provided that property SO ACQUIRED, SHALL NOT

    BECOME part of the Forest Preserve. This law

    permitted lands and waters to be accepted and held for use of the Division of Fish and Game

    later to become the DEC and to be improved or developed as the dept. deemed best.

    Untold numbers of recreationalists have been going to Moose River Recreation Area continuously since it first opened in 1964 for Camping and fishing in the summer months to hiking and hunting in the fall.

    I’ve seen the number of registrants peak at

    nearly 40,000 in 1971,( and this is not an exact number for many never sign the registration book)- BUT as the upkeep on

    the very basic campsites began to deteriorate – so did the big numbers coming into the area. Originally the campsite privies were moved periodically and the old pits filled in. Tables left out winters and

    summers were replaced now and then, and with

    the exception of the gravel roads repaired

    in the spring before opening and any washouts

    checked over the summer – little if anything

    was done to improve upon property given as a GIFT to the SPORTSMEN and worth hundreds of millions of dollars in Adirondack real estate

    to the State of New York. The deteriorated privies became a health issue and many failed to come back because of this.

    This property is unique and unlike ANY property in New York State. The remote interior is here available to not only the

    average citizen, but older citizens and those

    that are disabled that will be denied access to this land that was given to them as a gift for posterity – and all because our political leadership in Albany cannot run OUR government efficiently and in the Black – the very job they were elected to do.

    NOW, they want those that pay their salaries and the “freight” for our entire state – to be denied what was given to them as a gift- and with the only restriction

    implied – that it would always remain open

    for the people to have access to.

    This is the very least that should be expected from our leadership.

    Owe up to your obligations Albany – to not only the people that voted you in and pay your salaries – but to the promises made by those who sat in the seats you now fill – and shook hands in acceptance of such a magnanimous and truly beneficial gift –

    the likes of which New York will never see again !

    In the values derived – it costs little to

    keep Moose River Recreation Area open by

    comparisons. The towns of Old Forge, Eagle Bay, Inlet, Raquette Lake and Indian Lake

    all have their economies aided by those that

    come there to enjoy the beauty and the

    recreational benefits of this remote NYS interior. In this economy Albany should be

    doing all it can to promote tourism and

    recreational availability. The area is already

    here = utilize it don’t close it! If you do

    and it goes without road repairs for and

    extended time frame – the cost will more than

    double. THIS is definately not cost effective !

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