From: Corey Fram, Watertown Daily Times, N.Y.
Published December 4, 2004 12:00 AM

International Paper, New York State to Hear Concerns on Conservation Deal

Dec. 4—International Paper Co. and state officials will meet soon with leaders of four towns that opposed their property being included in a conservation deal between the two.

It's the first meeting since the St. Lawrence County towns vetoed their property being included in the largest conservation deal in state history. The meeting was set for Thursday but is being rescheduled because not all could attend.

International Paper will listen to the towns' concerns and make sure the municipalities understand terms of the deal, said company spokesman Robert S. Stegemann.

The deal calls for the state to spend up to $25 million in conservation easements to protect 257,425 acres of Adirondack wilderness. International Paper would retain ownership of the land and get property tax breaks as long as it uses sustainable logging methods. The company could also not sell the land for development.

The towns would like to see greater recreation use included in the deal, particularly for all-terrain vehicles and snowmobiles.

Town officials have said they are willing to work with the state and International Paper but did not know Wednesday if the meeting would include negotiations.

"Anything is negotiable," Hopkinton Supervisor Stephen J. Bory said. "They're going to have to face the fact, I believe, that people up here don't want a lot of DEC participation and ATVs are a fact of life up here."

Parishville Supervisor Julia M. Bump said she would attend the meeting to see "what IP had to say." No decisions could be made regarding negotiations, however, without approval from the town councils, Mrs. Bump said.

The county has 33,654 acres included in the deal: 12,154 in Colton, 17,033 in Hopkinton, 1,334 in Parishville and 3,133 in Piercefield.

The deal includes land in nine counties. The Adirondack Association of Towns and Villages passed a resolution supporting the opposing towns, according to Colton Supervisor Henry R. Ford. St. Lawrence County's Board of Legislators passed a similar resolution Nov. 22.

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