April 23, 2015
Albany, NY

Governor Cuomo Announces 6,200-Acre Acquisition of Former Finch Pruyn Lands

Governor Cuomo Announces 6,200-Acre Acquisition of Former Finch Pruyn Lands

MacIntyre East Property Will Enhance Public Access to Fishing, Hunting, Paddling and Other Recreation Activities, and Boost Tourism

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the state has acquired a 6,200-acre parcel of former Finch Pruyn lands in the southern Adirondacks High Peaks that will enhance public access to the region’s magnificent natural resources and create additional recreation and tourism opportunities. The state purchased the MacIntyre East property from The Nature Conservancy for approximately $4.24 million, using state Environmental Protection Funds.

“This is another milestone in our commitment to protect and provide public access to 69,000 acres of former Finch Pruyn lands,” Governor Cuomo said. “The MacIntyre East property will allow New Yorkers and visitors to enjoy additional fishing, paddling, hiking, hunting and other recreation activities in the unparalleled beauty of the Adirondacks. By working closely with local officials in the region on these acquisitions, we have been able to maximize the recreation and economic benefits of these lands, while retaining the natural character and beauty of Adirondack forest lands and waters.”

This announcement was made during Earth Week, April 19-25, which Governor Cuomo proclaimed as a weeklong celebration of New York’s commitment and accomplishments to protecting our environment, conserving open space, increasing access to the state’s vast and magnificent natural resources, implementing clean energy initiatives and preparing for the effects of climate change.

The acquisition of the MacIntyre East property, which abuts the High Peaks Wilderness Area and working forest conservation easements, will improve southern access to the High Peaks, one of the most popular outdoor recreation areas in New York. New paddling and fishing opportunities will be available on more than five miles of the wild Hudson River, seven miles of the Opalescent River, Sanford Lake, and Upper Twin and LeClair brooks. Visitors will also be able to hunt, hike and enjoy stunning views on the properties. In addition, the State will explore the potential to develop new trails to Allen Mountain and other High Peaks.

The MacIntyre East property is located in Essex County, primarily in the Town of Newcomb with some eastern portions in the Town of Keene and the Town of North Hudson. A map of the parcel can be viewed here. The parcel includes upland forests, a red maple floodplain, a spruce fir swamp and other wetlands, and habitat for a variety of birds, mammals and fish, including the American redstart, white-tail deer, bobcat and brook trout.

Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joe Martens said, “Governor Cuomo has long recognized the ecological, historical and economic importance of the Adirondacks and with today’s announcement, he has taken another important step to conserve these valuable lands and waters, and boost the regional economy. DEC has worked closely with TNC, community partners and other stakeholders to preserve critical natural resources in the Adirondacks and provide greater public recreation access to residents and visitors. We welcome the new opportunities the MacIntyre East tract will provide to local resident and visitors.”

Senator Betty Little said, “The MacIntyre East Tract will be an unforgettable draw for outdoor recreationalists eager to explore the southern High Peaks region. Working together, our local communities and the Department of Environmental Conservation are doing a very good job of finding a balance of ecological conservation and recreational access important to the environment and supportive of our tourism-dependent Adirondack economy.”

Assemblyman Dan Stec said, “Providing greater public access to the High Peaks Wilderness area will enhance the many recreational opportunities and will provide an economic boost for our local communities within the Adirondack Park.”

Essex County Board of Supervisors Chairman Randy Douglas said, “Once again Governor Cuomo has proven that common ground can be found in protecting the environment while realizing that a land acquisition such as the MacIntyre East must have potential for providing an economic boost. The careful and well-though out decisions by the Governor and his administration have proven to be a win-win for us all who live, play and work in the Adirondacks.”

Town of Newcomb Supervisor George Canon said, “The acquisition of this property is another step to boost recreation opportunities and community-based economies in the region. I thank Governor Cuomo for his leadership and vision in conserving Finch lands, which will add to the benefits of the Essex Chain.”

Town of North Hudson Supervisor Ron Moore said, “North Hudson, one of the 5 Towns - Upper Hudson Recreation Hub, is excited with the state’s acquisition of the MacIntyre East tract. Like the Essex Chain of Lakes and Indian River tracts, this newly acquired land will create new recreational opportunities, which will bring tourists to our area and boost our local economies through the increase in tourism revenue.”

Town of Keene Supervisor William Ferebee said, “We are pleased that this land acquisition will provide public access for hiking, fishing and other recreation on in the Adirondacks. Governor Cuomo recognizes the importance of tourism in this region and we look forward to the recreational and economic benefits these lands will provide to our community.”

Michael Carr, Executive Director of The Nature Conservancy’s Adirondack Chapter, said, “We applaud Governor Cuomo and New York State for acquiring this new public treasure in the High Peaks region of the Adirondacks. The MacIntyre East Tract features an extensive network of rivers and streams, including the confluence of the iconic Hudson and Opalescent rivers. Conserving these waterways and surrounding forests is a tremendous legacy.”

The MacIntyre East acquisition is an important component of the historic Finch Pruyn land agreement, the largest conservation project to add lands to the Forest Preserve in more than a century. Under the 2012 agreement between the State and TNC, with approval from the Adirondack host communities, the former Finch Pruyn properties are being sold to the State through a phased-in, five-year contract using funds dedicated for these purposes in the EPF. The state will pay nearly $47.4 million for the properties and, going forward, will also pay full local property and school taxes on the acquired lands.

In less than three years, the state has purchased 48,604 acres of former Finch Pruyn holdings from TNC scattered throughout the Adirondacks and the Lake George-Lake Champlain watershed. The state expects to acquire the Boreas Ponds tract – the sole remaining former Finch Pruyn parcel – in the current state fiscal year. As the properties come into state ownership, the state develops recreational plans and determines classifications of the lands to encourage public access and appropriate use of the properties, while also protecting their outstanding natural resources.

The 2015-16 State Budget raised the Environmental Protection Fund to $177 million dollars, an increase of 32 percent since Governor Cuomo took office. The $15 million increase from last years’ State Budget will support increases in 14 categories, including land acquisitions identified in the State’s Open Space Conservation Plan and stewardship.

In 2014, the State acquired the MacIntyre West property, consisting of 5,770 acres of former Finch Pruyn lands adjacent to the High Peaks in the Town of Newcomb, Essex County. The lands were added to the State Forest Preserve, and since Oct. 1, 2014, the public has had full outdoor recreation access.

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