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.
continued The names of the guests were not released.
Government leaders met with Cuomo in the late afternoon on Sept. 26 in Warren County with town leaders and state officials such as Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Joe Martens, Sen. Betty Little (R-Queensbury) and Assemblyman Dan Stec (R-Queensbury). The governor called it a “superb conversation.”
“I wanted to hear from the experts on the matter before I made the decision, and that’s why I came up today,” Cuomo said.
Green groups, such as the Adirondack Council, are in favor of a wilderness classification for the newly acquired land, barring motorized access. Local officials, specifically in the five towns listed above that comprise the Upper Hudson Recreation Hub, are in favor of a wild forest classification for some lands, such as the Essex Chain Lakes, to ensure more access, including mountain bikes and snowmobiles. On wilderness lands in the state Forest Preserve, motorized access is not allowed.
“Everybody understands the same principles,” Cuomo said. “The principle is ‘We need 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.”
Even with that balance, Cuomo communicated the big picture — the Adirondack Park as a state park.
“The Adirondack Park is obviously a great asset and treasure for this state,” Cuomo said. “It’s very important to the entire state economy, and it’s something we’re very proud of on a personal level. It’s part of the heritage of this state. We’ve gone to great lengths over the past couple of years to preserve the Park and work with the communities within the Adirondack Park so they’re stronger and better than before.”
The governor noted recent economic development highlights, specifically in regard to the success of the North Country Regional Economic Development Council in acquiring state grants for projects within its region, which includes Hamilton and Essex counties.