Bordering the towns of Indian Lake and Long Lake in Hamilton County and Minerva, Newcomb and North Hudson in Essex County, officials stressed the importance of a possible trail system that would allow snowmobilers and hikers to connect to all five townships.
“We applaud the Governor for his actions regarding the Finch Pruyn land and its classification,” said Jim McKenna, head of the Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism, the office responsible for promoting Essex and Hamilton County.
“They fit our strategic plan to a T.”
McKenna said his office’s research shows outdoor recreation as the primary driver of visitation to the region.
According to a study conducted by Tourism Economics in 2010, North County tourism is a $1.1 billion industry, generating $144 million in state and local taxes each year.
The towns in the Upper Hudson recreation hub directly affected by the designation, Newcomb, Minerva, North Hudson, Long Lake and Indian Lake, plan to take a collaborative approach to use these expanded recreation assets to increase tourism and outdoor recreation-related business in the area.
North Hudson supervisor Ronald Moore said that he was happy with the official announcement and hopes a similar decision will be handed down for the yet-to-be-classified Boreas Tract in his community.
“We really don’t have much in the way of business here and these trails would really help develop our local economy,” he said.
“We’re very pleased because it gives everyone an opportunity for recreation and opens up a lot of opportunities,” said Minerva supervisor Stephen McNally. “The five towns working together with one voice really helped.”
“The governor signing this historic land classification plan shows a true understanding of what’s needed to help our communities survive,” said Indian Lake supervisor Brian Wells. “This balanced approach to support growth of our communities with access for all and protection of our resources will hopefully be the model for all future land acquisitions and classifications.”