Proposal 5: Swap will be good for the economy and the environment - The Buffalo News
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Proposal 5: Swap will be good for the economy and the environment

Along with Niagara Falls and the shores of Lake Erie, the Adirondack Park is among New York’s greatest natural wonders – enjoyed by generations of visitors from across our state all seasons of the year. But the Adirondack Park is also “home” for thousands of people who live and work there day in and day out.

On Election Day, voters across New York State have the rare opportunity to expand our protected Adirondack Wilderness and help protect the jobs of 100-plus Adirondack residents.

Two propositions on the statewide ballot will authorize amendments to our state Constitution that will benefit our environment and our economy:

Proposition 5 – the Adirondack Land Transfer – would permit the state to provide longtime Adirondack business NYCO Minerals Inc. with temporary use of 200 acres of state Forest Preserve land that immediately adjoins NYCO’s mine in the Town of Lewis, Essex County. Allowing NYCO to continue its operations at the site for 8 to 10 years would directly help protect 100 jobs very important to the fabric of this rural community, along with a great many spinoff jobs and economic benefits. In exchange, NYCO would donate to the Forest Preserve 1,500 acres of land in the Lake Placid area that are rich in fishing and hiking opportunities and that provide greater public access to the key portions of the preserve. Additionally, once NYCO completes its project, the original 200 acres would be reclaimed and returned to the Forest Preserve, while the 1,500 acres will remain under state ownership.

Proposition 4 would allow the Legislature to settle the 100-year-old problem of disputed property titles in the Town of Long Lake, Hamilton County. Since the 1800s, the titles to 216 parcels, including the school, the firehouse, businesses, homes and other properties have been disputed. Proposition 4 would permit the state to clear these titles in exchange for funding to purchase lands that the state has long wanted to add to the Adirondack Forest Preserve for public recreation.

Both of these propositions have a positive impact on the future of the Adirondacks, and they are receiving widespread support from such diverse groups as environmentalists, business organizations, local governments and labor unions. Even Republicans and Democrats agreed on these proposals, as our State Legislature has twice overwhelmingly approved them unanimously in bipartisan votes.

Propositions 4 and 5 are good for the Adirondack Forest Preserve, good for New York State, good for Western New Yorkers who enjoy spending time in the Adirondacks and good for those who live there.

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