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Grants Awarded To Enhance Adirondack Tourism And Economy

Essex Chain Lakes Tract sign
WAMC/Pat Bradley

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced a half million dollars in grants for communities in the Adirondacks to enhance business development and access to recently obtained forest lands.

In 2012, the state purchased 69,000 acres of former Finch Pruyn forest lands in the central Adirondacks from the Nature Conservancy. On Thursday, the governor’s office announced the release of grant funds for nine projects targeting tourism, small business growth and recreation in the area.
The Adirondack Park Upper Hudson Recreation Hub grants include nearly $360,000 to Essex County for partnership projects.  Essex Country Board of Supervisors Chair Randy Douglas says the five towns and two counties impacted by the land purchase have been working together to find common ground on land use that helps the economy while preserving the environment.  “We don’t want one-time visitors to come here with only one activity in mind. We want them to have a wide range of activities and the only way we’re going to do that is have a good plan in place, a plan connecting the five towns. Creating these master plans and seeing how we can reach our best potential of promoting the Adirondacks by working together is the whole plan  in a nutshell.”

Johnsburg Supervisor Ron Vanselow says the grant provides a stimulus for the businesses that applied through the town.  “The whole purchase of the land and opening it up to the public,  I think one of the motives for doing that is to provide economic stimulus for the whole Adirondack Park. Especially those towns that border on the Finch Pruyn lands. The hope is that it will stimulate certain segments of the economy here. Or at least help stimulate them.”

The grants will allow the Town of Long Lake to expand existing snowmobile trails for equestrian use. Supervisor Clark Seaman says it’s critical that communities in the Adirondacks diversify tourism and economic opportunities.  “I don’t see any magic bullet that’s going to address the issues that we currently face: the aging population, the lack of historical jobs that we had in the area, logging and  mining and whatnot. Really for a community like Long Lake we’re primarily now a retirement community, a second home community and a tourist community. But tourism is really only a summer income for many of our businesses. So being able to diversify and offer other opportunities through this is very important because the more that we can draw to the area, obviously the better we all will be.”

The grants will be administered by the New York State DEC and the Adirondack Chapter of the Nature Conservancy.

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