A new air of cooperation

It seems Adirondackers have long taken the back seat when it comes to land use regulations here, even though we truly have the most to gain or lose. Over and over again political persuasion has been won over by the huge voting contingent outside the Blue Line and the deep-pocketed members of green groups — many of whom also do not reside here full-time.

Few can argue that it has torpedoed the region’s economy — and census statistics showing a dwindling population here support that.

It is what created the “us versus them” mentality — and radical factions on both sides of the isle raised their ugly heads.

But alas, it seems there is a new sense of cooperation in the air. It seems we have a governor who truly cares about the livelihood of Adirondackers; APA commissioners who are willing to balance environmental stewardship with economic viability and local environmental groups that are agreeing to compromise.

Following an extensive public comment period and while the APA was struggling with classifying the more than 22,000 acres of former Finch Pruyn land purchased by the Nature Conservancy and then sold to the state, Gov. Cuomo visited with various stakeholders in late September of this year. At that time, green groups were calling for a Wilderness classification for nearly all of the Essex Chain of Lakes.

In turn, local officials and residents in the five towns impacted by the sale and classification — North Hudson, Indian Lake, Newcomb, Minerva and Long Lake — were calling for a less restrictive Wild Forest designation.

After meeting with both sides, Cuomo held a press conference at Gore Mountain in North Creek and also called for balance.

“We need to preserve the Park. We also need economic development. We need activity. We need revenues. And you have to balance the two,” he told the crowd and government leaders who had assembled that day.

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