The Nature Conservancy (TNC) has sold conservation easements covering 89,000 acres in New York’s Adirondack Mountains to the State of New York. The deal is the most recent transaction related to the conservancy’s 2007 purchase of 161,000 acres of Finch Paper Holdings forestlands. In 2009, it sold 92,000+ acres of this timberland to a subsidiary of the Danish pension fund ATP for $30+ million. TNC has now the sold conservation rights and certain access rights to 30 miles of snowmobile trails on the ATP land to the state for $30 million.
According to the New York Times:
The latest transaction will result in improved public access to thousands of acres of forest, the Nature Conservancy said. It includes provisions for a better network of snowmobile trails in the region, important to the winter tourist economies of several small towns. The plan, approved by 27 towns on or near the former Finch lands, relieves some villages of having to make annual lease payments for snowmobile trails.
“It’s a very exciting day for us, and I think a really strategic investment by the state of New York in the Adirondack economy, and really, the tourism economy of the state,” said Michael T. Carr, executive director of the Adirondack chapter of the Nature Conservancy.
Mr. Carr said the conservation easement contains an innovative provision meant to allow biologists of the future greater flexibility in coping with climate change. With species expected to migrate north and to migrate higher up mountain slopes in a warming world, the conservation easement requires biological monitoring and a re-examination of management plans for the property, allowing for course corrections to be made if plants or animals require greater protection.