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Saturday, August 30, 2008

State to Preserve Heart of Adirondacks

State environmental officials agreed on Thursday to preserve a vast swath of wild acreage in the northern part of Adirondack Park, using a combination of outright purchase and conservation easements meant to protect both wilderness and jobs.

The deal was praised by environmental groups, which had urged the state to act quickly to gain control of most of the 161,000 acres that the Nature Conservancy acquired from a paper company last year. The land is considered crucial to protecting the heart of the Adirondacks.

Local leaders in the Adirondacks, who have been concerned about land conservation crowding out economic opportunity, will have several months to approve or reject the plan.

As laid out by state officials in meetings with local officials and environmental groups on Thursday, New York State will buy more than 57,000 acres that had been owned by Finch, Pruyn & Company since the Civil War and add it to the existing forest preserve, which is off limits to development or timber cutting but open for public recreation.

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