'Wild Forest' status sought for new lands


Express News Staff

LONG LAKE - The Town of Long Lake is joining forces with a group of area towns calling themselves the Upper Hudson Recreation Hub, formed to lobby for a Wild Forest classification of former Finch, Pruyn timberlands.

The regional super zoning authority, the Adirondack Park Agency, is holding public hearings on how 69,000 acres of land sold to the State of New York by The Nature Conservancy should be classified. The towns of Indian Lake, Long Lake, Minerva, Newcomb and North Hudson want motorized use allowed.

The lands are being added to the Adirondack Forest Preserve, publicly owned lands within the Adirondack Park. The APA Board of Commissioners will decide, perhaps during its August meeting, what it will recommend to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who has final say.

The Upper Hudson Recreation Hub strongly opposes any classification that does not allow all forms of recreational activities including, but not limited to, hiking, canoeing, camping, snowmobiling, skiing, mountain biking, horseback riding, dog sledding and ATV riding.

The Long Lake Town Board passed a resolution stating these demands Wednesday, May 29.

The resolution reminds Cuomo that when he announced the purchase of the 69,000 acres, he said they would be open for public use and enjoyment for the first time in 150 years and provide extraordinary new outdoor recreational opportunities, increase the number of visitors to the North Country and generate additional tourism revenue.

The resolution calls for a majority of the lands to be classified as Wild Forest. It opposes a Wilderness classification because that would eliminate motorized access, thus effectively barring many residents and visitors from ever enjoying the newly acquired lands, including the elderly and handicapped.

The resolution further notes that the lands have an extensive network of logging and access roads, and says they should be kept open to provide access for all, not just the few.

The state is paying $49.8 million for the 69,000 acres in the towns of Indian Lake, Newcomb and Minerva.