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Supervisors discouraged, speechless at APA meeting

Paul Hai, program coordinator at the SUNY-ESF Adirondack Ecological Center in Newcomb, watches a video presentation during the Adirondack Park Agency State Lands Committee meeting Sept. 12 in Ray Brook. Hai brought several students to the meeting.

Paul Hai, program coordinator at the SUNY-ESF Adirondack Ecological Center in Newcomb, watches a video presentation during the Adirondack Park Agency State Lands Committee meeting Sept. 12 in Ray Brook. Hai brought several students to the meeting. Photo by Andy Flynn.

— With 4 minutes left of a two-hour meeting, Adirondack Park Agency (APA) State Lands Committee Chairman Richard Booth crushed local supervisors’ hopes of a wild forest classification for the Essex Chain Lakes in the Central Adirondacks, even though a decision has yet to be made.

“My opinion may be extreme and I may end up being in a very distinct minority,” Booth said. “I’ve looked at this enough, folks, to think that a wild forest classification, in my opinion, is not appropriate for this chain of lakes because of what the Master Plan says in terms on nondegredation and in terms of preserving the resources.”

In his final remarks, Booth spoke to the APA Board of Commissioners and staffers who were answering Board members’ questions regarding the former Finch, Pruyn company land.

“This is a sensitive group of resources,” Booth said. “I think that’s what we’re hearing from you guys in multiple ways. These are very small ponds. They’re really ponds. They’re not really lakes for the most part. So I would urge staff to think about some memo that comes through us.”

The memo Booth requested should clearly state the ramifications of classification based on the State Land Master Plan, which is a set of approved guidelines for using state-owned lands in the 6-million-acre Adirondack Park.

“I think the State Land Master Plan actually has more specificity to it than what we generally have been talking about ... I think we’re going to need a memo that says basically, this is what the Master Plan says, the most important factors in terms of classification,” Booth said. “If the Agency designates most of this as wilderness, these are the implications in terms of uses and what would have to be removed in terms of things being there on an existing basis.”

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