Recreation worthwhile

The beauty of the Adirondacks is obvious to anyone who has paused for a moment inside the Blue Line to let his or her senses take in the natural world.

We are pleased the state Department of Environmental Conservation is considering opening 3,200 acres of land in Fulton County to hiking and cross-country skiing for the first time.

Providing more recreational opportunities in our area has to be considered. Having an Adirondack Park that is forever wild is a waste if people cannot spend time on the land.

The Sacandaga West Conservation Easement lands consist of six separate tracts in close proximity in the towns of Mayfield and Bleecker. The lands of the easement are part of the 89,000-acre Upper Hudson Woodlands Easement, which was formerly owned by Finch Pruyn & Co. New York state purchased the easement in 2010 prior to the lands being sold to the current owner – Upper Hudson Woodlands ATP.

The conservation easement primarily protects the lands from development and ensures the ability to continue sustainable forestry practices, the DEC said. Limited public recreation rights also were purchased under the conservation agreement.

The DEC recently announced it may open the lands to hiking and cross-country skiing while maintaining snowmobile access.

Allowing more uses for the land not only provides local residents with more recreational opportunities, it also will help encourage more people to visit the area.

The DEC will draft a recreation management plan for these lands based on the public recreational rights identified in the conservation easement agreement and comments from the public.

People will be able to give their ideas for the plan to DEC staff at a public open house Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. in the Mayfield High School auditorium.

People should push for more opportunities to enjoy the Adirondacks.