State: Stop Buying Land
Published January 15, 2011
Letters to the Editor
Warrensburg, NY 12885
The seemingly universal accolades for New York State's acquisition
at the end of December of development rights from 87,000 acres
of forest land in the Adirondacks-at a cost of $30 million-deserves
Why is the state spending this sum to eradicate land rights
when the state has been unable to balance its budget without
firings, program cutbacks, and passing down unfunded mandates
that are strangling local governments?
And, why is the state further strangling land ownership in
towns already suffering from too much state land ownership? Take
Stony Creek, for instance. The state already owns 53 percent
of the land, and, with this acquisition, has additionally prohibited
all economic activity except logging and limited recreation on
The Stony Creek Town Board passed a resolution requesting
that the state not acquire conservation easements along Hildebrandt
Road, an actively maintained town highway that connects Stony
Creek to Athol, where, according to my husband Peter LaGrasse,
the chairman of Stony Creek's Board of Assessors, the APA rules
would allow a total of twelve houses to be built in Stony Creek
along highway frontage on 507 acres of land with good characteristics
The state could have acquired the development rights to the
back land and left the road frontage intact, but instead it simply
eradicated this modest building potential, although it could
be so important in a town of under 700 residents that is held
back by the Adirondack Park Agency's high bars to development.
In essence, whenever the state acquires conservation easements,
the state is eradicating the much-coveted, very limited development
potential allowed by the Adirondack Park Agency's land use bible,
the "Land Use and Development Plan Map and State Land Map."
The so-called Adirondack "Park" includes six million
acres of land, of which three million acres are owned by the
state as "forever wild." Up until December, the state
had acquired 700,000 acres of conservation easements in addition
to this forever wild land. Now the state has added another 87,000
The state should not buy one more acre of land in the Adirondacks,
neither in full title nor as conservation easements.
The Legislature should wake up and look at the lost biodiversity,
the lost hunting, and the loss of potential state revenue by
refusing to sustainably harvest the rich timber resource of the
forever wild land.
Carol W. LaGrasse
Property Rights Foundation of America, Inc.