Hochul approves state land classification plan

RAY BROOK — Gov. Kathy Hochul approved the 2023-24 Adirondack Park state land classification package.

The action includes 25 state land classifications totaling about 5,800 acres and 11 state land reclassifications totaling an estimated 250 acres. The Adirondack Park Agency, in consultation with the state Department of Environmental Conservation, advanced recommendations to the governor after completion of a rigorous review process with extensive public comment opportunities in accordance with the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan. The lands involved in this classification action are in the counties of Clinton, Essex, Fulton, Franklin, Hamilton, Herkimer, St. Lawrence and Warren.

“It is a great honor to participate in New York state’s long-standing tradition of land preservation and conservation. This classification action will protect more of New York’s exceptional natural resources and will increase recreational opportunities bolstering economic benefits for local communities,” APA Chair John Ernst said in a statement.

APA staff presented proposed recommendations and a draft supplemental environmental impact statement to the APA board at the October 2023 monthly board meeting. The board then authorized staff to hold public hearings and accept comment on the proposed package. Public hearings, including a virtual option, were held inside and outside of the park throughout the month of November. Staff reviewed all public comments and prepared a final supplemental environmental impact statement, which were presented to the APA board at the January 2024 monthly meeting. The APA board considered public comment, deliberated on the proposed recommendations and FSEIS and adopted a resolution approving the classification package at the January 2024 meeting. In accordance with the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA), the APA later issued its findings and decision statement and advanced the package to the governor for final approval.

“The APA is very excited with the governor’s approval for the 2023-24 state land classification,” APA Executive Director Barbara Rice said in a statement. “These are beautiful additions to the forever wild Adirondack Park Forest Preserve. I encourage the public to get outside and explore these magnificent lands and water bodies. I thank APA staff and our colleagues in DEC for their hard work. I also extend our appreciation to all who provided public comment. As always it was insightful and helpful to our deliberations.”

In a press release issued Friday, DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos commended APA and DEC “experts” for their work.

“Whether wilderness or wild forest, the land classified in these eight counties will further enhance the forever wild areas of the truly unparalleled Adirondack Park, offering pristine views and unbeatable recreational opportunities to all who venture there,” Seggos said.

Also in the release, Adirondack Park Local Government Review Board Executive Director Gerald Delaney thanked the APA “for the detailed presentations and explanations on this classification package” and the governor “for quickly signing this package so the state agencies involved can start the unit management planning process.”

Classification highlights

¯ The Champlain Valley Hills (ES-1) acquisition is in the Town of Chesterfield, Essex County and includes many defining features, including spectacular views of Lake Champlain from Mt. Trembleau, a variety of vegetation types, wildlife and Lake Champlain shoreline. The 610.6-acre parcel is classified as Wild Forest.

¯ Tub Mill Pond (ES-4) is a 1,200-acre acquisition that lies on the western edge of the Lake George/Lake Champlain watershed in the Town of Moriah, Essex County. It includes five lakes and ponds with 2.6 miles of shoreline. This parcel is classified as Wild Forest.

¯ Thirteenth Lake Shoreline (WR-1) is a 17.9-acre acquisition in the Town of Johnsburg, Warren County. The acquisition of this parcel secures the permanent protection of the entire shoreline of Thirteenth Lake. The lake is easily accessed from the north and features a 0.1-mile-long accessible path from the trailhead to the shore where there is an accessible hand launch and accessible tent sites. Thirteenth Lake contains rainbow trout and landlocked salmon. This parcel is classified as Wilderness.

¯ Marion River — Arietta (HA-1) is a 266.8-acre parcel located in the Towns of Arietta and Indian Lake in Hamilton County. The parcel will establish a canoe carry around rapids and a connection between Raquette Lake and Blue Mountain Lake along one of the most popular Adirondack canoe routes. The parcel includes the remnants of a former rail line built by William West Durant in 1899 and is classified as Wild Forest.

¯ Grass River Corridor (SL-2) is a 948-acre parcel in the Towns of Colton and Clifton, St. Lawrence County. The parcel parallels the South Branch of the Grass River (designated Scenic River under the Wild, Scenic, and Recreational Rivers Act). The river meanders as it makes its way through the parcel and includes several oxbows. The classification for this parcel is Wild Forest.

¯ SUNY Cortland — Camp Pine Knot (HA-3) is a 208.5-acre property administered by State University of New York (SUNY) Cortland including an environmental and outdoor education center. The parcel is located on Long Point on Raquette Lake, in the Town of Long Lake, Hamilton County. This parcel requires a map correction. Previous APA maps show the parcel as private lands classified as Moderate Intensity Use. The classification for this parcel is State Administrative.

The final 2023-2024 State Land Classification Package is available for download at the APA’s website: tinyurl.com/yc7zjwz3.

Staff also prepared an online interactive story map to help the public learn more about each parcel in this action at tinyurl.com/2du57zd6.


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