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For Immediate Release: May 23, 2006

Keith P. McKeever | keith.mckeever@apa.ny.gov 
Public Relations | Adirondack Park Agency | Press Office | (518) 891-4050

Governor Pataki approves 2005 State Land Classification Package

RAY BROOK, NY – Governor Pataki approves 2005 State Land Classification Package. Action represents the most comprehensive classification/reclassification of state lands undertaken inside the Blue Line in the past twenty years.

Governor Pataki recently approved the Adirondack Park Agency’s state land recommendations for newly acquired Forest Preserve lands inside the Adirondack Park. This action included the classification of seventy new state land parcels - totaling approximately 47,575 acres and eight state land reclassifications - totaling an estimated 26,308 acres. The total acreage involved is approximately 73,880 acres. The action involves lands in nine counties including: Essex, Franklin, Hamilton, Herkimer, Lewis, St. Lawrence, Saratoga, Warren and Washington Counties.

With this action, the Governor classified approximately 42,000 acres of land as either Wilderness or Primitive lands. These state land classifications are the most stringent designation and will result in significant protection for critical natural resources.

In addition, 28,000 acres of Forest Preserve lands were designated as Wild Forest. These lands will provide the opportunity for a greater range of outdoor recreational activities, which ultimately will be determined through the Department of Environmental Conservation’s unit management planning process, in consultation with the Park Agency’s state land staff.

Adirondack Park Agency Chairman Whaley said, “Governor George Pataki’s approval, of the 2005 Adirondack Park State Land classification package, represents significant protection for critical natural resources while balancing opportunities for outdoor recreation within the Adirondack Park. This is truly a monumental achievement and is testament to the Governor’s commitment to the Adirondack Park.”

The Adirondack Park Agency, in partnership with the Department of Environmental Conservation, pursuant to the guidelines and criteria of the State Land Master Plan and section 816 of the Adirondack Park Agency Act prepared recommendations for the Governor’s review and approval. The Act requires the agency to classify the state lands in the Park according to “their characteristics and capacity to withstand use.” “These classifications are the culmination of months of Agency and Departmental staff collaboration and fieldwork, said Adirondack Park Agency Executive Director Richard Lefebvre. The process included an extensive public outreach component which helped shape a package that represents a strong commitment to protecting the unique and diverse natural resources of the Adirondacks and where appropriate enhances our world class outdoor recreational opportunities” , he added.

The agency conducted five public hearings; held in Wanakena, Colton, North Creek, Saranac Lake and Albany between May 23 and May 27, 2005 - where over 400 citizens attended with numerous oral comments presented. In addition, the agency received and considered over 550 written comments and 10 petitions. During the public hearing process on this classification package, a wide range of public comments were received which emphasized the need to provide increased public access to State lands while also restricting motorized access to sensitive natural areas. These recommendations approved by the Governor clearly balance these objectives.

The classification includes creation of the following new State land units:

o Round Lake Wilderness – approximately 11,000 acres via classification of Round Lake and reclassification of portions of the Horseshoe Lake Wild Forest and Hitchens Pond Primitive Area to wilderness

o Madawaska Flow/Quebec Brook Primitive Area – approximately 6,200 acres

o Boreal Primitive Area – approximately 11,000 acres

o Raquette River Wild Forest – approximately 2,000 acres

o Northern Flow Rivers Primitive Canoe Corridors, including the Raquette River Primitive Area north of Piercefield, Dead Creek Primitive Area and the Deer River Primitive Area – combined, creates over 5,600 acres of river corridor for canoeing and kayaking opportunities

o Northern Flow Rivers Wild Forest Canoe Corridors, including the main and east branches of the St. Regis River, west branch of the Oswegatchie, Raquette River north of Carry Falls, and south branch of the Grasse River – creates a series of corridors for use by canoes, kayaks and small water craft totaling over 19,600 acres in new public recreation opportunities

“The implementation of the 2005 Adirondack Park State Land Classification package will build upon the long and honorable tradition of stewardship for the Adirondack Forest Preserve and will contribute significantly to its legacy”, concluded Chairman Whaley.

Additional information and reference maps of the newly classified areas are downloadable from the State Land page of the Adirondack Park Agency's web site at www.apa.state.ny.us/State_Land/index.html.

Links on this page include a description of the action, summary tables and maps. There are also links to DEC's Forest Preserve web site.