Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks at the Gore Mountain Ski Center in North Creek after meeting with town and county leaders Thursday, Sept. 26 about the upcoming classification of newly acquired state land, such as the Essex Chain Lakes. Local officials want much of the land classified wild forest, and green groups want it classified wilderness. After the Adirondack Park Agency Board of Commissioners makes its recommendation, the governor will make the final decision on classification.
Photo by Andy Flynn.
North Creek As reporters waited in the sun for a press conference to begin Thursday, Sept. 26 outside the Gore Mountain Ski Center base lodge, Gov. Andrew Cuomo was meeting inside with local government leaders in a closed-door session to discuss the upcoming classification of newly acquired state land in the Central Adirondacks.
The land in question — including the Essex Chain Lakes — will impact five local towns in Hamilton and Essex counties: Newcomb, Long Lake, Minerva, North Hudson and Indian Lake. The Nature Conservancy sold the former Finch, Pruyn Company land to the state in 2012, and now the Adirondack Park Agency (APA) must decide how to classify it. Yet, even after the APA makes its final decision, there’s one more hurdle for both sides of the issue.
“The governor makes the decision,” Cuomo said. “The APA makes the recommendation to the governor. In a perfect world, the APA’s recommendation would coincide with the judgment of the executive. But, in any event, the governor is responsible legally for the decision and can override the recommendation of the APA if he or she sees fit.”
Earlier in the day, Cuomo spent time with Nature Conservancy staff in Franklin County. An early itinerary from the governor’s office said he was planning to meet with environmental advocacy groups, hosted by The Nature Conservancy (TNC), at Follensby Clear Pond. In actuality, he spent time with TNC staff informally at Follensby Pond near Tupper Lake before heading to North Creek, according to an email from TNC Adirondack Chapter Director of Communications Connie Prickett.
“The Nature Conservancy hosted at our Follensby Pond property Governor Cuomo and his guests,” Prickett wrote. “Our staff served as fishing guides and handled logistics. We did not participate in any formal discussions. It was a beautiful day and great to see the Governor in the Adirondacks.”