TNC wants to help the local economy

KEENE VALLEY - The Adirondack Nature Conservancy says it will provide $500,000 in grants to help businesses and communities developing new projects around the former Finch, Pruyn timberlands.

Tens of thousands of acres of land in Indian Lake, Minerva and Newcomb are being added to the state forest preserve. Governor Andrew Cuomo has argued that the new lands will help boost the Adirondack Park's tourism economy.

TNC Executive Director Mike Carr says this grant fund is designed to help make that happen. "We feel an obligation to continue our stakeholder outreach with the communities involved in the transaction because of its scale," he says.

Carr said communities were already identifying "opportunities" for developing projects in the area near the Essex Chain of Lakes and the Hudson River that would "connect people to nature on some of these new lands; that's the goal."

Carr described the half-million dollar amount as "seed money" to help launch projects. Criteria for applying for the grants is still being worked out, and Carr says the money is still being raised from private donors.

The Nature Conservancy will operate the fund in partnership with the State of New York's Natural Heritage Trust program. A request for proposals will be forthcoming.

This announcement came just before the state's comment period on managing the new lands ended July 19.