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Local officials, agencies react to Gov's approval of Finch

ALBANY — New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo formally approved the state land classifications for 42,000 acres recently added to the State Forest Preserve in the Adirondack Park on Friday, Feb. 7, a formality that allows the properties, formerly owned by Finch Pruyn & Company, to be opened up to the public for the first time since the nineteenth century while setting aside other areas for eternal preservation.

“I am thrilled to approve this land classification plan that will allow the state to both preserve the Adirondacks’ magnificent natural resources and provide public recreational and tourism opportunities that will help grow the region’s economy,” Cuomo said in a statement issued on Friday morning.

“The addition of thousands of acres of land to the State Forest Preserve is a major step in both protecting and preserving the Adirondack Park for future generations,” he said.

Cuomo said the plan will enhance the state’s efforts to attract more visitors to the Adirondacks by growing the region’s tourism industry and communities while also taking a “major step” in protecting and preserving the Adirondack Park for future generations.

“This is truly an extraordinary moment in the history of the Adirondack Park and Forest Preserve,” said APA Chairwoman Leilani Ulrich in a prepared statement. “Together we succeeded in finding common ground amongst diverse stakeholders and the Adirondack Park will benefit from these actions.”

The deal was widely seen as a compromise between environmental groups who wanted to classify the tract as wilderness — a designation that would prohibit all motorized access — and local officials who were angling for the wild forest designation that would allow for more uses.

The plan will allow recreation access to the newly acquired lands for people of all abilities for a wide variety of uses including hiking, paddling, cross country skiing, hunting, fishing, mountain biking, horse riding and snowmobiling.

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