PAUL SMITHS - Paul Smith's College is logging land that used to be part of its Visitors Interpretive Center tract.
When the state Adirondack Park Agency announced it would shut down the VIC, its outreach and education wing, the college split in half the 2,700 acres it has leased to the state for the VIC since 1989, reducing the annual lease by $20,000.
The college folded its two parcels - one 605 acres and the other 731, both west of the main VIC facilities - into its land-management plan and began logging a couple hundred acres this fall, spokesman Ken Aaron said.
The college owns a total of about 14,000 acres of land. Students do part of its timber management as coursework, distributing the logged wood to the Brighton Food Pantry for needy families to use for firewood. But most of it is professionally handled, with the college getting a cut of the profit, Aaron said.
Earlier this week, Aaron said the harvesting was temporarily on hold since the ground wasn't frozen, but it is expected to pick up again.
All the logging is done with sustainable practices, as certified by the Forest Stewardship Council.
The APA closed the VIC on Oct. 10 as part of a slew of cuts to reduce a large state deficit. But the VIC's trails remain open, and its bathrooms are open Monday through Friday until further notice, still maintained by the APA.
While the college owns the VIC land, the state owns the VIC building. Paul Smith's has been trying to buy the structure, but Aaron said talks are still ongoing.
"We continue to work with the state on a purchase of the building at the VIC, and I don't know when that might be complete," Aaron said.
The other VIC, in Newcomb, was saved when it was transferred to the ownership of the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry.
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