The Adirondack Park Agency has slated eight public hearings on its plans to classify the state’s newly acquired lands at the Essex Chain of Lakes and in the Hudson River Gorge.
The hearings will begin June 12 in Ray Brook, and end July 2 with hearings in Albany and Lake George.
The former lands of Finch Pruyn & Co. have been acquired from The Nature Conservancy is recent months, and will be open to the public for the first time in 150 years.
The APA, however, must determine whether they will be classified as Wilderness, Wild Forest, or something else, like a Canoe area. The land involved is between 42,000 and 47,500 acres, depending on how much existing state land is reclassified along with classification of the new lands.
“Under Gov. Cuomo’s leadership this historic acquisition and classification process will ensure protection for astounding natural resources such as OK Slip Falls and will make the communities of the central part of the Adirondack Park an unmatchable draw for outdoor enthusiasts,” said APA Chairwoman Leilani Ulrich.
The new properties also include the Essex Chain of Lakes south of Newcomb, which have been rented to private clubs, and the Hudson’s confluences with the Cedar and Indian rivers.
The Department of Environmental Conservation has recommended a Wild Forest classification for much of the land, which will put fewer restrictions on human activity than a Wilderness classification.
The Adirondack Council, Adirondack Wild and Protect the Adirondacks, however, have all called for most of the land to be declared permanent Wilderness.
“DEC’s recommendations were made only after soliciting extensive input from local governments, the sporting community and conservation organizations,” DEC Commissioner Joe Martens said in a statement. “We want to make sure that we get it right when it comes to protecting the resources and providing access to all New Yorkers to the largest addition to the Forest Preserve in more than a century.”
The hearing schedule:
- Wednesday, June 12, at 6 p.m. at APA headquarters in Ray Brook.
- Monday, June 17, at 1 p.m. at Minerva Central School in Olmstedville.
- Monday, June 17, at 7 p.m. at Newcomb Central School.
- Tuesday, June 25, at 6 p.m. at Indian Lake Central School.
- Monday, July 1, at 7 p.m. at the Harley School in Rochester.
- Tuesday, July 2, at 1 p.m. at DEC headquarters on Broadway in Albany.
- Tuesday, July 2, at 7 p.m. at the Warren County Board of Supervisors room, Route 9, Lake George.
A hearing also will be scheduled for New York City.
Written comments may be submitted through July 19 to James Connelly, deputy director for planning, Adirondack Park Agency, 1133 Route 86, Ray Brook, NY 12977.
The email address for comments is firstname.lastname@example.org.