Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today issued the following statement on the passage of two constitutional amendments, Propositions 4 and 5, regarding the Adirondack Park.
"Yesterday, New Yorkers around the state voted to support two constitutional amendments that will provide increased recreational activities in the Adirondack Park, resolve land disputes that have persisted for more than a century, and protect more than 100 jobs while adding valuable land to the Forest Preserve. These amendments provide for the needs of the Park's residents and its economy and tourism industry, with our responsibility to protect the integrity of the State Forest Preserve.
The Adirondack Park is one of the jewels of New York State, providing some of the richest natural resources and recreational opportunities in the nation. It is also the home to approximately 130,000 New Yorkers and 3,600 businesses as well as the host to nearly 10 million visitors each year. As we continue efforts to grow the tourism industry and economy in the North Country, my administration is committed to ensuring that the Adirondack Park remains a place with vibrant communities to raise a family and grow a business, as well as a place of incomparable outdoor recreational opportunities for visitors.
I commend Senator Betty Little, Senator Hugh Farley, Assemblyman Robert Sweeney, Assemblyman Dan Stec, and Assemblyman Marc Butler for their efforts on these two amendments. Together, we will work to secure the future of the Park and its natural wonder for generations to come."
Senator Betty Little said, "I'm very gratified and very happy voters approved propositions 4 and 5, which are so important to families and businesses in the Adirondacks. Amending the State Constitution is not an easy process by design and both amendments reflected a very thorough and balanced approach that will help our economy and result in better recreational access important to tourism and protective of the environment. Yesterday's result was the culmination of great team work among many local, state, environmental and business leaders and partners, so credit goes to many but especially to those in Raquette Lake and the town of Lewis who had so much at stake and persevered."
Assemblyman Dan Stec said, "Yesterday voters all across New York weighed in on important issues affecting the State's largest park, and made decisions that will benefit the Adirondacks for years to come. The approval of these two constitutional amendments was in the best interest of not only preserving the environment, but also supporting the local economy, as the Park plays a crucial role in supporting tourism and commercial activity throughout the region. I am pleased to have worked alongside so many colleagues and community leaders for the good of the North Country and the Adirondacks."
William Farber, Chairman of the Hamilton County Board of Supervisors, said, "The results of yesterday's vote on Propositions 4 and 5 are welcome news for Hamilton County. These two amendments will aid our efforts to preserve the environment while also growing the economy, and I could not be happier now that they have passed. My thanks go out to the many New Yorkers who took the time and consideration to learn about these important issues and ultimately support the future of the Adirondacks."
With yesterday's vote by New Yorkers, the State can move forward on a land exchange with NYCO Mineral, Inc. that would add approximately 1,500 acres to the Forest Preserve and provide new opportunities for hunting, fishing, hiking, and nature observance. These properties, which include access to the Jay Mountain Wilderness Area and an expansion of the Taylor Pond Wild Forest, will include more than six miles of high quality trout streams with excellent water quality, as well as wetlands, exemplary forest communities and high quality habitats for common and rare wildlife species, including moose and white-tailed deer. This exchange will also ensure that nearly 100 jobs will stay in Essex County by allowing mining on 200 acres, which will be replanted and returned to the State Forest Preserve in ten years.
The State will also move forward with the resolution of century-old land disputes in Raquette Lake where 216 properties, including homes, businesses, and public buildings, have unclear titles on more than 1,000 acres. The residents will be able to receive clear title to their properties and the State, through payments made by those residents, will be able to add more land to the State Forest Preserve.