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State to Protect 89K Forest Acres – Tourism, Lumbering to Benefit

January 4, 2011

ALBANY, N.Y. - The state of New York has agreed to a land preservation arrangement with the Nature Conservancy that will protect 89,000 acres of Adirondack forestland, which had previously belonged to a paper manufacturer. The land stretches through 27 towns across six counties, from near Saratoga Springs to close to the St. Lawrence River.

Mike Carr of the Nature Conservancy says the idea is to increase revenue from hiking, fishing and snowmobiling while at the same time preserving lumbering jobs.

"Many of the lands will add wonderful new places for people to recreate. Additionally, the agreement will help protect about a thousand jobs related to the forestry part of the agreement."

Snowmobilers, who say their sport makes a powerful impact on the wintertime economy in the North Country, say restaurants and gas stations are already planned for some stretches of trail that will be newly connected as a result of the land agreement.

Dave Perkins of the New York State Snowmobilers Association says his members are delighted with the deal.

"This is going to really connect some missing links in the trail system in the park. Snowmobiling is the winter engine - the economic engine in the wintertime - for the Adirondack Park, and this is really going to make a big difference in several communities."

Mike Carr says the project illustrates the way ecological conservation and economic activity can work together.

"Our dream is this: that these new recreational opportunities will begin to drive investment in related businesses, inns and gas stations and restaurants and things, so that now that these rights have become permanent, people will be willing to invest in supporting the tourism economy."

Carr points out that more than 270 miles of rivers and streams concentrated near the headwaters of the Hudson will continue to flow through intact forests as a result of the conservation effort.

Mark Scheerer, Public News Service - NY