ALBANY, N.Y., Aug. 6 (UPI) -- New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Sunday the state is acquiring 69,000 acres in the Adirondacks from the Nature Conservancy for just under $50 million.
The addition of the former Finch, Pruyn & Co. and other Nature Conservancy lands is the largest single addition to the Adirondack State Forest Preserve in more than a century, the governor said in a release posted on his official Web site.
"Adding these properties to the forest preserve protects the incomparable and breathtaking natural resources of this region and preserves a significant portion of the Upper Hudson River watershed," Cuomo said. "Today's agreement will make the Adirondack Park one of the most sought after destinations for paddlers, hikers, hunters, sportspeople and snowmobilers. Opening these lands to public use and enjoyment for the first time in 150 years will provide extraordinary new outdoor recreational opportunities, increase the number of visitors to the North Country and generate additional tourism revenue."
The governor noted the acquisition complements the 2010 addition of 89,000 acres of conservation easements on property formerly owned by Finch, Pruyn & Co., a longtime New York paper company sold to a Connecticut holding firm in 2007. The Nature Conservancy bought the company's entire 161,000-acre holdings at that time.
Under the agreement, the conservation will sell 69,000 acres to the state over a five-year period beginning this year for a total of $49.8 million.
The state intends to develop recreational plans and determine classifications of the lands to encourage public access and appropriate use of the properties while protecting their natural resource values, the governor said.
The lands contain mountains, cliffs, wilderness lakes, ponds, bogs, fens, swamps, alluvial forests, and flat and white-water rivers. Its wildlife includes moose, bobcats and black bears, and a variety of game fish in its 175 lakes and ponds and 180 miles of river and streams.
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