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NY Tree-Huggers & Jobs Lovers – Can't We All Get Along?

Boreas Ponds, in the town of North Hudson, which will provide recreational opportunities to the public after it transfers to state ownership.  Carl Heilman II

Boreas Ponds, in the town of North Hudson, which will provide recreational opportunities to the public after it transfers to state ownership. Carl Heilman II


March 16, 2012

LONG LAKE, N.Y. - Can tree-huggers and job creators get along in New York's Adirondack Mountains? The Nature Conservancy believes so, and is preserving forestland in ways that can help local communities save and create jobs.

This month, the group sold a parcel of forestland to the town of Long Lake, to use at its discretion for gravel excavation, logging, snowmobile connecting trails, and other recreation. Town Supervisor Clark Seaman says the town board preferred that to other alternatives.

"Fifty acres that wouldn't end up under such restrictions that nothing could be done with it after that."

A similar sale of a larger tract last month gave the town of Newcomb land for its economic development projects, as The Nature Conservancy continues its efforts to create a balance among all the stakeholders who want different things from 161,000 acres of Adirondack forest.

Mike Carr, executive director of The Nature Conservancy's Adirondack chapter, says it is charged with preserving a forested area about the size of eleven Manhattan Islands.

"The conservation design really does try to accommodate a variety of uses across this massive ownership, across 27 towns and six counties. And it seeks to create a balance."

Carr says they operate with an eye toward everyone getting something out of the forest.

"The economics of tourism and recreation, forest preserve parcels, community enhancement parcels, as we talked about in Long Lake, and the commercial working forest piece with limited public recreation, under conservation easement with our great partner, the State of New York."

Together, the land features 300 lakes and ponds, 90 mountain peaks, and more than 400 miles of rivers and streams. Carr says 65,000 acres will become forest preserve open to the public in the next couple of years.

Mark Scheerer, Public News Service - NY