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Local governments not ready to endorse land acquisition

Because of the wants of the six county boards and over a dozen towns involved with the massive parcel, nearly 100 miles of snowmobile trails are to be constructed and scores of hunting and fishing cabins will be spared.

And Martens said acquisition-based green groups are still learning.

"We try in every case to work with the communities and we are learning more along the way," he said.

Leases are not allowed on state-owned Forest Preserve.

Monroe said the Finch Pruyn case is a rarity and the concerns and veto power of local towns to override state land acquisition has traditionally been ignored.

The Nature Conservancy Executive Director Mike Carr said the camps located on the 93,000 acres sold to the Danish investment company ATP are likely to remain and easements are in the works for snowmobile operation on that tract.

Local officials said if the state Constitution was amended to create a land bank so land swaps could be undertaken without project specific amendments, it would go a long way in swaying their opinions on state land purchases.

State Sen. Betty Little and Assemblywoman Teresa Sayward have championed the land bank concept for years. If created, it would allow municipal projects, like sewer and water projects, to go forward without years of legislative delays.

Adirondack Council Executive Director Brian Houseal said his organization believes the Forest Preserve should be reviewed so the places where towns are being economically choked can be identified.

But he noted the land bank idea has a long way to go before ever becoming a reality.

"There's a lot of work before there could be an amendment for a land bank," Houseal said. "It's time to go through the park and take a hard and thorough look at how much land is needed for hamlets and working farms and what land is critical for climate change and biodiversity not only inside, but beyond the park."

The APA typically requires water and sewer facilities to be in place before even considering a hamlet expansion.

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