APA staff struck a good balance

Congratulations to the state Adirondack Park Agency staff for forging, with great difficulty, a delicate and hard-earned balance in classifying new state lands long owned by the Finch, Pruyn timber company.

The APA board approved the staff recommendation unanimously, and the discussion leading up to the vote was civil as well as earnest. Both of those things are signs of a job well done by staff.

The final say, legally, is up to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, and he said this weekend he will sign off on the APA’s decision.

The various stakeholder groups lobbying the agency won’t each get everything they want. Town officials lament that anglers won’t be able to use motorboats on the Essex Chain of Lakes or drive right to the shore, and the head of Protect the Adirondacks fretted about a snowmobile trail that would require a new bridge.

This process could have ended with the APA siding with one or the other, setting up more problems for the long term. However, the people of New York who own this land aren’t one-sided; they cover both viewpoints and all in between. Therefore, the best long-range solution is a compromise everyone feels they can live with.

The problem, of course, is that such a balance is usually very hard to strike, and even harder to get all sides to agree to. Here, however, it looks like APA staff were able to put together something everyone could live with.

For that, we also appreciate the stakeholder groups. Not that none of them did any complaining. Protect picked on several aspects of the process and the final deal in a press release it issued shortly after the vote. First, however, the group praised the overall classification.

That’s a lot of progress from the Adirondack wars of the past. The Common Ground Alliance movement is working, and that means more peace in the Park.

We hope the reasonable tone lasts for the wrangle that’s likely to ensue over classifying Boreas Ponds, a former Finch tract the state hasn’t yet bought from The Nature Conservancy.

Meanwhile, we look forward to paddling on the placid Essex Chain and hiking to gaze in awe at OK Slip Falls. We hope you do, too.