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Kris
April 22nd, 2004, 01:14 AM
April 22, 2004

A Deal Is Reached to Preserve Land and the Economy in the Adirondacks

By ANTHONY DePALMA

http://graphics7.nytimes.com/images/2004/04/22/nyregion/park.583.jpg
Great Sacandaga Lake in Saratoga County, a conservation easement in the state's land preservation deal with International Paper.

In the largest land protection deal in New York State history, more than a quarter million acres of privately owned spruce forest, untamed river and true back country wilderness scattered across the heart of the Adirondack Mountains will be forever protected from development and opened for camping, hiking and other public uses, Gov. George E. Pataki will announce today.

After generally being off limits for most of the last century, the 257,425 acres of forest and wetlands - covering parts of nine counties and substantially larger than all the land within the boundaries of New York City - will be thrown open and made available for a wide range of public recreation. Traditional, privately owned Adirondack camps, built on leased land, will be preserved and, under strict conditions, allowed to expand.

The land New York State is protecting at the cost of millions of dollars is some of the most magnificent landscape in the Adirondacks, a striking blend of wild rivers, hidden lakes and vast stretches of trees - spruce and fir in the northern sections; birch, oak and other hardwoods in the south.

The deal includes an important change from past land acquisitions, a shift that some environmental groups say could be a model for the rest of the country: the company that owns the land, International Paper, will retain the right to harvest wood using sustainable methods, which generally means selectively cutting trees and planting new ones to replace them.

Besides preserving jobs in the timber industry, a declining but still important part of the Adirondack region's economy, the conservation easements mean that the company will continue to pay taxes on the land, though at a reduced rate reflecting the loss of development potential. By law, the state then makes up the lost revenues so the 34 towns in nine counties where the land is located will not be financially hurt by the transactions. In addition to the conservation easements, the state is buying 2,000 particularly sensitive acres in several places throughout the Adirondacks. The parcels adjoin existing parkland and forest preserve and include striking natural environments like Silver Lake Mountain, which rock climbers have long dreamed of scaling, and about two miles of pristine frontage along the fabled Sacandaga River.

In a telephone interview yesterday, Mr. Pataki said the deal with International Paper strikes the right balance between conserving the environment and protecting the region's economy.

"We're purchasing key environmentally sensitive areas, if for economic reasons or strategic reasons, and we're preserving the other property against development while sustaining a strong regional economy," said the governor, who is scheduled to announce the deal in Albany. "It's exactly the way to move forward."

Since its creation in 1892, Adirondack State Park has represented an unusual effort to balance wilderness with limited development and public access. Sprawling over six million acres, it is the largest wilderness by far in the lower 48 states, and home to the last sizable old growth forest in the Northeast.

The park is also home to more than 130,000 year-round residents and 110,000 more seasonal residents in more than 100 towns and villages.

Over the last few years, large paper companies, facing increased global competition and a large-scale restructuring of the way they do business, have been shedding large tracts of land they have held for a century or more. In some cases, this has raised the threat of development, as land was sold to the highest bidders.

Five years ago, the financially troubled Champion International Company sold nearly 300,000 acres of forest land spread over Vermont, New Hampshire and the Adirondack region of New York to a combination of public and private entities to raise cash. Champion was taken over by International Paper in 2000.

Nonprofit land conservation groups have stepped in to broker deals with the big companies so the land can be protected while jobs are preserved. The transaction in New York is considered an important step in developing a more sophisticated approach to land conservation.

"It's fair to say that it's a historic transaction, not only for Adirondack Park and the State of New York but way beyond that in setting a tone for future conservation projects across the country," said Larry Selzer, president of the Conservation Fund, a private group in Virginia that helped arrange the deal with International Paper. The group will provide some of the bridge financing needed to buy the easements until the state comes up with the money.

Under the agreement, New York will pay fair market value for the land it is buying and for the conservation easements. State officials said the land, which is made up of 21 parcels, has not yet been appraised, but the total estimated cost is about $25 million. The money will come from the state's Environmental Protection Fund and the federal Forest Legacy program, officials said.

The Conservation Fund, which also brokered the 1999 transaction with Champion International, has helped protect more than 3.7 million acres of land and water resources across the country since 1985. Mr. Selzer said the Adirondack deal would help redefine land conservation in the 21st century. "Working forests are now recognized as a desirable outcome precisely because they keep large landscapes intact and balance economic and environmental objectives," he said.

Thomas C. Jorling, International Paper's vice president for environmental affairs, who was commissioner of New York's Department of Environmental Conservation from 1987 to 1994, said that selling the easement rights would lower the company's taxes and reduce carrying costs on the land, part of some 19 million acres in its worldwide holdings. The $1.3 million in property taxes the company now pays is expected to be reduced after it sells the rights to develop those holdings.

Mr. Jorling said the company has worked with other states on similar deals, but nothing approaching the magnitude of this one.

"This shows an evolution of the orientation of the forest products industry toward capturing all the multiple values of managing forests rather than focusing just on the production of fiber," Mr. Jorling said.

All the timber taken from Adirondack Park is processed at the company's mill in Ticonderoga, N.Y., which employs about 700 people. Independent loggers, under contract to International Paper and certified in sustainable forestry practices, cut the trees.

The easements will double the amount of working forest within the Adirondack park that can never be developed. There will be two broad categories of easements. The state will acquire full recreation rights to about 82,000 acres, and partial rights to build hiking and snowmobiling trails on about 173,000 acres.

Mr. Pataki, a Republican who has pledged to leave a good environmental legacy in the state, said the deal with International Paper fulfilled several goals.

"When I took office, there was enormous resentment in the Adirondacks to downstate people coming in and dictating how local people live their lives," he said. ""Keeping the paper company land a working forest is an example of reaching common ground and not imposing measures without considering their economic consequences.''

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Nine counties across Adirondack Park, north of Albany, will be affected by the land accord.

Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company


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www.adk.com

http://gorp.away.com/gorp/resource/statepark/ny_adiro.htm

ZippyTheChimp
April 22nd, 2004, 05:58 AM
The contrast to New York City at the other end of the Hudson River is worth the long trip up I87.

http://www.pbase.com/bill_hansen/adirondacks_2003

http://www.pbase.com/marcs/canoe

NYatKNIGHT
April 22nd, 2004, 01:08 PM
Your not kidding, those are some great photos. This is good news for the Adirondacks.

Kris
May 1st, 2004, 01:28 AM
May 1, 2004

A Template for Conservation

Open space in this country is under siege nearly everywhere. Residential and commercial development threatens the forests of the Pacific Northwest, the rangelands of the West, the farms of New Jersey. No single private or public entity can counter this trend; the answer lies in creative partnerships involving landowners, private conservation groups and governments at all levels.

Therein lies the larger significance of the agreement, announced last week in New York by Gov. George Pataki, to provide permanent protection for a quarter of a million acres in the Adirondacks. The agreement will be an important part of the environmental legacy Governor Pataki has promised to leave. It is important for the ecological integrity of the Adirondacks, the largest wilderness in the lower 48 states. Most important of all is the example it provides for protecting open space elsewhere.

Four main partners cut this deal: International Paper, which is seeking to reduce its overhead so was willing to sell the development rights in exchange for lower taxes; the State of New York, which was willing to buy these rights and hold them in perpetuity; the federal Forest Legacy program, which will underwrite part of the cost; and the Conservation Fund, a private group that helped broker the agreement and will provide bridge financing until the state comes up with the money.

The estimated price tag is $25 million, a bargain. As an added benefit, International Paper will continue to harvest the land on a selective, sustainable basis, thus providing jobs and some tax revenue to the 34 small towns in the region. As such, the deal reflects the "working forest" model, in which landscapes are kept intact while jobs are preserved. Indeed, more than two million acres in the Northeast have been preserved in much the same manner in the last three years alone.

The weak link is the federal government. As timber companies shift their operations, and as ranchers and farmers retire, hundreds of thousands of acres go on the market every year more than private donors and state treasuries can handle. This places a heavier burden on the federal government, which has yet to measure up. The Land and Water Conservation Fund, the main source of federal open-space funds, has been regularly shortchanged. The Forest Legacy program needs constant replenishment. Strengthening both could spread the Adirondacks' good fortune to the nation as a whole.

Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

Kris
January 5th, 2005, 04:59 AM
January 5, 2005

Pataki Unveils Deal to Protect 104,000 Acres in Adirondacks

By ANTHONY DePALMA

More than 100,000 acres of forested woodlands in the remote northeastern Adirondacks will be protected from development and opened to the public for the first time in a century under an agreement announced yesterday by Gov. George E. Pataki.

The agreement is the third-largest land conservation deal in New York history. It is especially significant because most of the 104,000 acres - magnificent forests, crystalline lakes and rugged mountain peaks - form a single uninterrupted tract. The land is in the Sable Highlands region of the Adirondacks, a gateway for large mammals like moose and an important breeding site for warblers, orioles and other migratory birds.

In making the deal public, Governor Pataki said the state was strengthening protection of the six-million-acre Adirondack Park, "while continuing to sustain a critical aspect of the north country economy."

Like earlier conservation efforts, this deal ensures that the Adirondack lands remain working forest in that it includes provisions to preserve jobs in the timber industry, protect the tax bases of local communities and permit the continuing use of hunting camps.

But like other conservation efforts, this one is also getting its share of criticism from local officials who say Governor Pataki is putting the interests of hikers and environmentalists before the needs of people who live and work in the Adirondacks. "All this does is serve a political purpose, which is to support the legacy that Pataki wants to build for himself," said Howard Aubin, a councilman who owns a sawmill in Au Sable Forks, an old mill town just south of the land involved in the deal.

Mr. Pataki has made preserving open space in New York one of the priorities of his tenure, committing the state to protect more than one million acres of land within a decade.

Environmentalists have given the governor high marks for land conservation. But Mr. Aubin, 50, who has lived in the Adirondacks all his life, said that each land agreement had caused hardship for year-round residents of the park, which is a combination of public and private land created more than a century ago.

"It's tough enough to make a living up here in the winter time," he said, "but when you start chipping away at what can be done here, it's even tougher."

The land transaction involved all the Adirondack land owned by Domtar Industries, a Canadian paper manufacturer whose forestry management practices have met the exacting standards of the Forest Stewardship Council, an international nonprofit organization.

Under the complex agreement brokered by the Nature Conservancy, Domtar will sell 84,448 acres to the Lyme Timber Company, which has its headquarters in Hanover, N.H., and which will continue to cut and process trees under the same forestry practices as Domtar.

Existing snowmobile trails will be maintained, but new ones cannot be opened. More than 47,000 acres that were off limits will be available for hiking, camping, fishing and cross-country skiing.

At the same time, Domtar will sell the development rights to the land to the state, which effectively means nothing will ever be built there. Lyme will pay lower local property taxes because of the conservation easements, and the state will make up the difference so the local communities in Franklin and Clinton Counties do not lose tax revenue.

The Nature Conservancy will purchase the remaining 20,000 acres - rugged land that has been only lightly cut and which includes the 3,800-foot-high Lyon Mountain. The conservancy will hold the parcel of land until the state can acquire it as part of the Adirondack forest preserve.

"Having a 104,000-acre tract of intact, contiguous forestland that was privately owned, unprotected and without any public access become available in 2004 is kind of an incredible thing," said Henry G. Tepper, state director of the Nature Conservancy. "It offers an immense conservation opportunity."

Copyright 2005 The New York Times Company

ZippyTheChimp
January 5th, 2005, 09:24 AM
A unique approach to wildlife protection
http://nature.org/

brianac
March 31st, 2009, 06:17 PM
92,000 Acres Sold in Adirondacks, With Protection Pledge

By MIREYA NAVARRO (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/n/mireya_navarro/index.html?inline=nyt-per)
Published: March 30, 2009

The Nature Conservancy (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/organizations/n/nature_conservancy/index.html?inline=nyt-org) has sold 92,000 acres of forest in the Adirondacks to a Danish pension fund as part of a long-term strategy to protect the land from development.

The pension fund, ATP (http://www.atp.dk/X5/wps/wcm/connect/ATP/atp.dk/tools/language/language), paid $32.8 million for the acreage. The fund will benefit from tax credits related to a planned New York State conservation easement on the land that prohibits development but allows recreation and logging under strict sustainable forestry standards. RMK Timberland Group (http://www.rmktimberland.com/) will manage the land for the pension fund.

Officials at the conservancy, an international nonprofit environmental group, said the transaction struck a balance between protection of wild lands and the region’s economic interests. Not only will it maintain environmentally responsible logging operations, they said, but it will create the opportunity for moneymaking recreational uses in areas that have been closed to the public.

“This is an extraordinary investment in the Adirondack economy by a world leader pension fund, and an affirmation of the viability of green investment in timber,” said Michael T. Carr, executive director of the Adirondack chapter of the Nature Conservancy.

The land is part of 161,000 acres in the Adirondacks, including mountain peaks, lakes, ponds, rivers, streams and a commercial forest, that the Nature Conservancy bought in 2007 (http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/29/nyregion/29adirondacks.html?_r=1&scp=5&sq=Michael%20Carr%20Nature%20Conservancy&st=cse) from the Finch Paper company for $110 million to prevent it from being subdivided and developed by builders of houses and resorts.

As part of the 2007 deal, the conservancy agreed to allow logging to continue to supply wood to the Finch Paper (http://finchpaper.com/) mill in Glens Falls, N.Y., a fixture in the region since the 1800s that employs about 800 people.

The logging operations, which Mr. Carr described as “selective cutting” of trees on less than 10 percent of the land, are considered sustainable — meaning they would minimize harm to water quality and the wildlife habitat, among other requirements.

The state conservation easement will allow leases to fishing and hunting clubs to continue and will afford new access to areas where the public will be able to climb mountains, ski, ride snowmobiles and participate in other recreational activities. Building will be prohibited.

Officials from many of the 27 towns that benefit economically from recreation and forestry operations in the area welcomed the purchase.

“By continuing the working force aspect of this land, there will be an ongoing economic benefit,” said George Canon, supervisor of Newcomb, a town of 500.

Of the 69,000 acres that remain in the Nature Conservancy’s hands, 65,000 are intended for sale to the state. They would be incorporated into existing forest preserve in the Adirondack Park (http://www.apa.state.ny.us/About_park/index.html).

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/31/science/earth/31adirondacks.html?_r=1&ref=nyregion

Copyright 2009 (http://www.nytimes.com/ref/membercenter/help/copyright.html) The New York Times Company (http://www.nytco.com/)