APA sets hearings on former Finch land classification

RAY BROOK – The state Adirondack Park Agency is planning eight public hearings around the state on the classification alternatives for 47,000 acres of Forest Preserve land in the Central Adirondacks, including 23,000 acres of former Finch, Pruyn and Co. timberlands.

The agency is considering seven classification alternatives for the lands, including various combinations of wilderness, primitive, canoe and wild forest. The classification the agency picks, if it’s approved by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, will determine the extent of recreational access to the lands, some of which have been off limits to the general public for 150 years.

The classification proposals involve lands in the towns of Indian Lake, Minerva and Newcomb that the state has recently acquired from The Nature Conservancy: the Essex Chain tract, the OK Slip Falls tract and the Indian River tract. A 160-acre parcel owned by the Open Space Conservancy, which the state is expected to close on soon, is also included. The agency is also considering reclassifying the Hudson River Gorge Primitive Area, and portions of the Vanderwhacker and Blue Mountain Wild Forest.

The hearings will be held at the following dates, times and locations:

-June 12: 6 p.m., Adirondack Park Agency, Ray Brook (This hearing will be webcast live and archived on the APA website.)

-June 17: 1 p.m., Minerva Central School, Olmsteadville, and 7 p.m., Newcomb Central School, Newcomb

-June 25: 6 p.m., Indian Lake Central School, Indian Lake

-July 1: 7 p.m., The Harley School, Rochester

-July 2: 1 p.m., NYSDEC, Albany, and 7 p.m., Warren County Offices, Lake George.

-An additional hearing will be held in New York City but has yet to be scheduled.

Written comments should be submitted by July 19 to James Connolly, APA Deputy Director-Planning, 1133 state Route 86, P.O. Box 99, Ray Brook, NY 12977, via fax at 518-891-3938 or via email at apa_slmp@gw.dec.state.ny.us.

Detailed maps and the draft environmental impact statement on the classification proposals are available at the Adirondack Park Agency offices and on the agency’s website at www.apa.ny.gov.