Express News Staff
LAKE PLEASANT - The Hamilton County Board of Supervisors is solidly on the side of a group of local towns -- Indian Lake, Long Lake, Minerva, Newcomb and North Hudson -- calling itself the Upper Hudson Recreation Hub, which wants lands recently acquired by the State of New York for the Adirondack Forest Preserve to be classified as "Wild Forest."
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 on the 69,000 acres of former Finch, Pruyn and other lands purchased from The Nature Conservancy.
A Wild Forest classification would allow motorized and wheeled uses, while a Wilderness classification would not. The lands have an extensive network of logging and access roads.
The board has called for the Gooley Historical Society to be permitted to preserve and maintain the Outer Gooley Farmhouse, saying it is a building of historical significance that would be a learning tool for current and future generations.
The Outer Gooley Farmhouse is on Third Lake near the Essex Chain of Lakes. It is a place where early settlers tried to farm and ran a sporting camp. Dugout canoes were discovered there, heavyweight boxer Gene Tunney trained there and Sen. Robert Kennedy launched his raft into the Hudson River there.
"... this invaluable asset could be used as a learning center," the board says, and its "loss would be truly disrespectful to our Adirondack ancestors."
The board also wants to "find a means to utilize the Boreas Pond Lodge, recognizing it is a valuable asset which could be used for many purposes such as training and education, an information center, an outpost, or lodging, all of which are critical needs ..."
The resolution reminds the governor that when he announced the purchase of these lands, he said opening them to public use for the first time in 150 years would provide extraordinary new outdoor recreational opportunities, increase the number of visitors to the North Country and generate additional tourism revenue.