Review board resolution opposes state purchase of lands

The Adirondack Local Government Review Board unanimously passed a resolution last week opposing the impending state purchase of some 75,000 acres of Adirondack land from a conservation group.

According to the resolution, the state intends to purchase more than 65,000 acres of former Finch Pruyn timberlands and about 15,000 acres of land in the Follensby Pond area from the Adirondack Chapter of the Nature Conservancy.

Last week's resolution states that the review board opposes the fee acquisition of the lands in question.

It also urges the state Adirondack Park Agency to remain compliant with the State Land Master Plan by recommending against the state Department of Environmental Conservation's potential fee purchase of what review board officials call - quote - "highly productive timberland."

Fred Monroe is executive director of the Adirondack Local Government Review Board. He says Gov. Andrew Cuomo should commission a study on the economic and social impacts of further state land acquisitions inside the Blue Line.

Monroe adds that the state's current fiscal crisis is a good argument against purchasing more land.

"We know the state is experiencing horrible budget problems - there are plans to cut back on Medicaid, welfare, education, and we just paid $30 million out of the taxpayers' pocket to purchase a conservation easement on the remaining Finch lands," he said. "That happened on the same day that Gov. Cuomo reaffirmed layoffs for 900 state employees - and there's now talk about laying off another 15,000."

The review board resolution cites numbers released by DEC Lands & Forest Director Rob Davies, which state that working forests support three forestry-related jobs for every 1,000 acres of productive forest lands.

Additionally, Davies reports that 1,000 acres of productive forest lands support less than one tourism-related job.

Monroe says now is not the time to spend more than $40 million, claiming that such a purchase would put North Country residents out of work.

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