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County seeks private partners

Saturday, June 14, 2014 - Updated: 9:16 AM

By PETE KLEIN

Express News Staff

LAKE PLEASANT -- One could say, maybe even should say, the futures of small Adirondack towns are tied together and it is time to stop thinking one person, one business or one town can survive on its own.

The value of collaboration was proven when the five towns of Indian Lake, Long Lake, Newcomb, Minerva and North Hudson formed what became known as the Upper Hudson River Recreation Hub, and worked to successfully lobby the Adirondack Park Agency and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation for Wild Forest classification of much of the 69,000 acres of former Finch, Pruyn & Company lands the state recently purchased from The Nature Conservancy.

This partnership then resulted in New York's Natural Heritage Trust, in conjunction with TNC and DEC, offering $500,000 in grants to local municipalities to support projects that will enhance public access to the new state lands.

In addition, $300,000 in Environmental Protection Fund grants will be made available to advance smart growth principles of economic development and environmental protection; and $75,000 in grants are being made available to support paddling events, which will build upon the success of the 2013 Adirondack Challenge.

HUT-TO-HUT

Reacting to these funding opportunities, the Hamilton County Board of Supervisors Thursday, June 5, authorized Hamilton County to sponsor a Consolidated Funding Application on developing hut-to-hut and/or lodging-to-lodging within Hamilton County and the Adirondack Park.

The county will apply for about $250,000. Adirondack Community Housing Trust would be the grant administrator.

The idea is to facilitate extended hiking opportunities that will not require trekkers to hike with heavy backpacks. Having the ability to plan ahead, make reservations at campgrounds, motels and beds and breakfasts, and not need to pack everything they might need on the trail should open up extended backcountry trips to the elderly and families, and bring more money into the local economy.

WORKING WITH PROS

The county will work on the grant application with Jack Drury and Joseph Dadey.

Both have experience in this area. Drury is co-owner of Leading E.D.G.E. in Saranac Lake. He has been facilitating experiential learning at an international level for over 25 years and currently provides training to educators throughout North America, the United Kingdom and the Middle East.

He is a professor emeritus of North Country Community College, having founded and directed the college's Wilderness Recreation Leadership Program for nearly 20 years.

Dadey is a professor at Paul Smith's College in Paul Smiths, and specializes in recreational facilities and services.

COMMUNICATIONS

The board also authorized retaining Behan Communications Inc., Glens Falls and Albany, for professional communications for no more than $2,000.

Evolving projects in Hamilton County include the Essex Chain of Lakes to upcoming processes on mountain biking, the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan and the need for a land bank.

All require the county to communicate effectively in Albany and beyond. The board believes Behan Communications will help the county communicate effectively and persuasively.

GAS STATIONS

Realizing that the county's Fuel Management Consolidation Project is limited to municipalities, but access to fuel by residents and visitors is of equal importance, the board authorized Hamilton County Planning, Tourism and Economic Development Director William Osborne to work with Laberge Group Ltd., Albany, to develop and submit a CFA for funding to be administered by the Hamilton County Industrial Development Agency.

The funding would be made available in low-cost loans from the IDA to current and future private gas station operators to upgrade their stations or open new gas stations where needed.

The plan is to make certain no one runs out of gas because there isn't a gas station nearby or open when needed.

peteklein@hamiltoncountyexpress.com

     

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