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Cuomo to make final Finch land classification decision

Meets with town officials, green group

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.

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.

— “We’ve had really phenomenal progress over these past couple of years,” Cuomo said. “The Regional Economic Development Council has had unparalleled success. There’s a sense of unity and optimism and an energy and momentum in the North Country that I haven’t felt in my lifetime.”

Minerva Town Supervisor Sue Montgomery Corey was in the North Creek session with the governor, pushing for more access to the former Finch lands.

“I think the take-home (message) is that we have a lot more work to do,” Corey said. “It’s great to have the governor here and great to have the opportunity to talk about the things that are important to the five communities in the Finch, Pruyn area. We look forward to continuing that conversation, and we’ll see where that goes.”

The towns of Minerva, North Hudson and Newcomb — all represented at the Sept. 26 meeting — are located in Essex County, and Essex County Board of Supervisors Chairman Randy Douglas joined the town supervisors.

“I think it was a good meeting with the governor,” Douglas said. “I think the five towns and the two counties told him that we’re willing to compromise, but we need to sit down at the table with the environmental groups and work this out. Compromise, a common ground, can be found. Not everybody will end up totally happy but compromise is the best thing.”

The towns of Long Lake and Indian Lake — both represented at the Sept. 26 meeting — are located in Hamilton County, and Hamilton County Board of Supervisors Chairman Bill Farber joined the town supervisors as well.

“I think it’s fantastic that the governor is willing to come up and delve into it to that degree,” Farber said. “It’s very different than historic classifications where the APA would go through the process and basically send the recommendation down to the governor. I think the fact that this governor takes an interest in advance — comes up, talks to the environmental groups, talks to the local communities about their interests, really try to gain an in-depth understanding of the issue — I think shows the right attitude. I’m very impressed.”

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