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Adirondack Council proposes new Wild Rivers Wilderness Area

Located in towns of Minerva, Newcomb, Indian Lake

Adirondack Council's map of the proposed Wild Rivers Wilderness Area

Adirondack Council's map of the proposed Wild Rivers Wilderness Area

— New York state is poised to acquire thousands of acres of forestry land in the Adirondacks over the next several years, and environmental groups are already lining up to influence the Adirondack Park Agency’s Forest Preserve classification process.

But instead of simply taking out advertisements or launching a letter-writing campaign, the Adirondack Council has made the process easy for APA staff and commissioners; it has proposed a brand-new wilderness area and produced maps showing how these lands — mostly from the 69,000-acre Finch, Pruyn acquisition — should be classified. The proposal was announced in a press release.

“This is an opportunity that will never come again,” Adirondack Council Acting Executive Director Diane Fish said in the release. “This land has been off-limits to the public since before the Civil War. It is located within a day’s drive of more than 70 million Americans and Canadians. It contains no homes and no communities. The roads on these parcels will revert to foot trails quite easily. We urge the state to protect these soon-to-be-acquired lands, lakes and rivers to safeguard wildlife habitat and water quality and from overuse and motorized traffic.”

The Adirondack Council dubs itself as “the Adirondack Park’s largest and most influential environmental organization,” and sent a letter to state leaders in early December urging the state to adopt its plan. Council literature calls for the creation of “a large, new Wild Rivers Wilderness Area here that would combine the grandeur and dramatic beauty of Yellowstone, with the waterfalls of Yosemite National Park and the interconnected lakes and ponds of Minnesota’s Boundary Waters Canoe Area.”

Fish said the Adirondack Council sent a letter to state Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joe Martens, calling for the creation of a new Wild Rivers Wilderness Area. The Council also urged the commissioner to expand the High Peaks Wilderness Area when the state completes its purchase of 69,000 acres formerly owned by papermakers Finch, Pruyn & Co., of Glens Falls.

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