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For Immediate Release: December 13, 2013

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

APA Recommends Historic State Land Classification

RAY BROOK, NY - At the conclusion of a rigorous three-day Adirondack Park Agency Board meeting, the Agency Board voted unanimously on Friday, December 13, 2013, to recommend that Governor Cuomo approve the Agency's Preferred Alternative to classify recently acquired New York State Forest Preserve lands in the Adirondack Park.

This marks an important accomplishment in what is anticipated as a multi-year effort by the State to acquire, from The Nature Conservancy, and classify former Finch Pruyn & Company lands. Based on their unparalleled natural resources and beauty, the lands and waters included in Friday's recommendation, and those targeted for future acquisition, are considered by many to be the jewel in the Adirondack crown.

Chairwoman Leilani Ulrich said, "First and foremost on behalf of the Adirondack Park Agency we extend our utmost appreciation to Governor Cuomo for his leadership in acquiring these magnificent parcels. This is truly an extraordinary moment in the history of the Adirondack Park and Forest Preserve. The Agency is also very thankful for the Governors efforts in engaging diverse stakeholders. The Agency's proposal ensures the long term protection of these lands and creates economic opportunities for the five towns of Minera, Newcomb, Indian Lake, Long Lake and North Hudson. I am appreciative of the hard work and dedication of the Agency Board and for the ongoing consultation with Commissioner Martens."

Executive Director Terry Martino said, "The staff were pleased to develop a recommendation that addressed natural resource protection, community connectivity and recreational access. I extend a sincere thank you to everyone who participated in this monumental classification process, especially the Agency staff that worked so diligently over this past year. Staff expertise was invaluable to the successful completion of this process. We eagerly look forward to working with our colleagues at DEC in the development of unit management plans that will ensure diverse recreational access."

The Agency's action involves the classification of four new State land parcels, including the Essex Chain Lakes Tract (18,230 acres), Indian River Tract (963 acre), OK Slip Falls Tract (2,789 acres) and the OSC Tract (160 acres). In addition, the Agency recommended the reclassification of existing State Lands in the adjacent Hudson River Primitive Area, Blue Mountain Wild Forest and Vanderwhacker Mountain Wild Forest. The total acreage involved in this action ranges from approximately 42,383 to 42,428 acres.

The Agency's recommendation provides for a mixed use of Wilderness, Primitive, Wild Forest and State Administrative land classifications. It would establish potentially five new Forest Preserve Units, and include a multi-use Wild Forest corridor between the Primitive and Wilderness Units. The new areas would include:

" The Hudson Gorge Wilderness Area (23,494 acre); " The Essex Chain Lakes Primitive Area (6,955 acre); " The OK Slip Pond Primitive Area (30 acre); " The Pine Lake Primitive Area (2,798 acre); " The Polaris Mountain Primitive Area (953 acre); and " The addition of over 8,000 acres into the existing Blue Mountain and Vanderwhacker Mountain Wild Forest Areas.

The Agency reached its recommendation based on consultation with the Department of Environmental Conservation and after a thorough analysis by Agency staff of the physical, biological and intangible characteristics of the land and their ability to withstand use. In addition, staff had to factor in the legal requirements of the Wild, Scenic and Recreational Rivers System Act, along with a number of unique deeded rights and easements associated with the lands. Staff carefully evaluated economic and recreational considerations as well. Throughout the process the Agency benefitted tremendously from the thousands of extensive and well prepared comments received at eight public hearings and submitted during the public comment period.

The Recommendation will add a variety of new public recreation opportunities to the Adirondack Forest Preserve. Potential recreation opportunities include:

" Hiking/walking " Kayaking/paddle boarding/canoeing " Snowmobiling (including the potential for connections between the Towns of Indian Lake, Newcomb, and Minerva) " Whitewater and flatwater rafting " Cross-country/backcountry skiing " Fishing " Hunting " Snowshoeing " Horseback riding " Mountain biking

The Agency Board voted to accept the Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement and to recommend Preferred Alternative 2A to Governor Cuomo for his final consideration. The Board also authorized the Agency's Executive Director to file notice of this action in the next Environmental News Bulletin (December 18, 2013).

The mission of the Adirondack Park Agency is to protect the public and private resources of the Adirondack Park through the exercise of the powers and duties of the Agency as provided by law. For more information, call the APA at (518) 891-4050 or visit www.apa.ny.gov.