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Fulton County may oppose land purchase

September 29, 2012
By MICHAEL ANICH - For the Adirondack Daily Enterprise

JOHNSTOWN - The Fulton County Board of Supervisors next month will consider a resolution opposing a $50 million state acquisition of land in the Adirondack Park, including acreage in Mayfield.

The state issue was reviewed by the board's Economic Development and Environment Committee on Tuesday night at the County Office Building.

County Administrative Officer Jon Stead drafted a proposed resolution in which Fulton County opposes a $50 million expenditure of state funds to purchase the former Finch, Pruyn and Co. forestlands. The full board will consider approving the resolution at its next meeting at 1 p.m. Oct. 8 at the County Office Building.

Article Photos

OK Slip Falls, a more-than-250-foot waterfall located in the town of Indian Lake, is expected to be open to the public for the first time in more than a century as part of the state’s purchase of 69,000 acres of former Finch, Pruyn lands, now owned by The Nature Conservancy.
(Enterprise file photo — Chris Knight)

New York state is buying 69,000 acres of Adirondack land that once belonged to the Finch, Pruyn paper company. Areas being acquired include OK Slip Falls in Indian Lake, Essex Chain of Lakes in Minerva and Newcomb, wild upper reaches of the Hudson River and key tributaries like the Cedar and Indian Rivers, and Boreas Ponds at the southern edge of the High Peaks Wilderness in North Hudson.

The land includes the 3,800-acre Benson Road Tract in Mayfield and the Thousand Acre Swamp Tract in Edinburg, which reportedly will be used for snowmobile connector trails.

Stead said the state is "half-done" with the process of purchasing tens of thousands of acres of productive working forestland in the Adirondacks. The state wants to add those lands to its Forest Preserve and permanently remove them from wood and job production, he said. These lands for years have been leased for recreational purposes by sportsmen's clubs that spend money in local communities, provide revenue for merchants and pay sales taxes to local governments.

"This is basically where some of the other counties want to express their opinions," Stead said of the proposed resolution.

He said Warren County asked legislative bodies of other counties - including the Fulton County Board of Supervisors - to formally oppose the $50 million expenditure by the state to purchase more forestlands.

Stead said the state doesn't have funds to lessen the Medicaid burden on local municipalities and is reducing funding for public nursing homes, but it has money to buy up plenty of land in the Adirondacks.

"It's kind of questionable in local officials' minds," Stead said.


Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news for the Leader-Herald newspaper, based in Gloversville. He can be reached at johnstown@leader



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