November Ballot Propositions Could Settle Adirondack Land Disputes

Oct 11, 2013

Access to land in the Adirondacks can pit private interests against the public, but a proposition on the November election ballots seeks to help ease tense situations near Raquette Lake.

NYCO wants to expand its mining site into the wilderness at Jay Mountain.
Credit Nancie Battaglia /

Proposal Four on the ballot hopes to settle legal disputes between New York State and private land owners. 216 land titles would be cleared to private land holders, following the payment of a fee that the State says will help it acquire lands beneficial to the area's Forest Preserve.

Proposal Five would enact a trade in land between NYCO Minerals, which wants to operate a mine in the Forest Preserve Parcel known as "Lot 8," in the Jay Mountain wilderness, and environmental groups who argue that the case could set a dangerous precedent for future development of wild lands.

Adirondack Club president Willie Janeway said his organization backs the two proposals during a conference with reporters:

NYCO says that if it cannot make trades for access to areas rich in wollastonite (a raw material in many ceramics, plastics, rubber, and other materials), it will be forced to close its current operations in the area. Currently, the company's mining operations have a few years of life left, but gaining access to the properties in question would extend its presence in the area for another eight to ten years, preserving more than 100 jobs. The land swap would give up about 200 acres to NYCO, in exchange for 1500 acres.