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Don’t jump the gun; land is still private

August 10, 2012
Editorial by the Adirondack Daily Enterprise: Publisher Catherine Moore, Managing Editor Peter Crowley

Notice to eager outdoor recreationists: The state has not yet bought 69,000 acres of former Finch, Pruyn and Co. timberland from The Nature Conservancy.

If you think, based on mistaken wording in some other media, that you can now hike in to beautiful OK Slip Falls or paddle on the Essex Chain of lakes, you're wrong. If you act on that thought, you'll be trespassing.

Hold on a little longer.

The governor has signed a plan for the state to buy this land in installments over the next five years, but that sale hasn't closed yet. And even after it does, the timeline of when the state buys each parcel will depend on how much money is made available each year in the Environmental Protection Fund. That means it's dependent on the highly political annual budgeting process in the Capitol - so it's not exactly a blue-chip stock.

Unfortunately, this was mistakenly described as a done deal in some major media. The New York Times did it in a Monday editorial titled, "A Governor's Gift to Nature": "On Sunday, Mr. Cuomo announced that the State of New York had bought 69,000 acres of timberland from the Nature Conservancy." The Times Union of Albany also did it in an editorial titled, "Adirondacks never looked so good," saying, "The completion of the acquisition of 69,000 acres in the central Adirondacks, in an area already distinguished by its ample lakes, is literally a triumph for the history books."

It's not complete, and it's not in the history books yet.

Granted, errors like these seem to be a minority of the reporting and commentary on this topic, but the Times and TU editorials are far-reaching and influential, so we felt a need to speak up to head off possible trespassing.



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