Tens of thousands of acres of Adirondack region land will be classified as “wilderness, primitive and wild forest areas,” under a provision signed by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo Friday.
The classification creates a 23,000-acre Hudson Gorge wilderness area and 9,940-acre motorless primitive area for Essex Chain Lakes.
The move classifies more than 22,000 acres of newly purchased forest preserve lands by the state and reclassifies more than 20,000 acres of existing forest preserve lands, officials said.
The Adirondack Park Agency and state Department of Environmental Conservation backed the measure.
“We applaud the creation of a new Hudson Gorge Wilderness Area. The governor has successfully protected over 15 miles of the Hudson River as wilderness,” said Peter Bauer, executive director of Protect the Adirondacks.
Cuomo’s action also paves the way for state agencies to plan construction of bridges over protected scenic rivers.
“Now that the governor has made it all official, Protect the Adirondacks will continue to monitor the APA’s and DEC’s plans around bridge retention and construction,” Bauer explained. “These are controversial issues and need extensive public scrutiny and intervention.”