In the News  Archive

Raquette Lake can get its well as Legislature approves land swap

June 18, 2015
Adirondack Daily Enterprise

By Tom Salitsky

Water for land. That was the deal, and they're sticking to it - eight years later.

The state Senate and the state Assembly recently passed a bill that would put into effect a land exchange between the town of Long Lake and the state. Voters statewide approved the swap in 2007 by ratifying a constitutional amendment authorizing the state to give one acre of land to the town of Long Lake for the purpose of establishing a drinking water well. In exchange, the state would receive at least 12 acres of land in Hamilton County to add to the state Forest Preserve.

The acre that will be used for the well is on Sagamore Road. The 12.2 acres the town will cede to the state are next to the Blue Ridge Wilderness.

Should the governor sign the bill into law, the act will take effect immediately.

The bill, sponsored by Sen. Betty Little (R-Queensbury) and Assembly member Steve Englebright (D-Detauket), passed the Senate June 11. It passed the Assembly Wednesday and was returned to the Senate. It will be presented to the governor to sign into law.
Section 1 of Article 14 of the state constitution preserves Forest Preserve lands as "forever wild" and prohibits their lease, sale, exchange or timber cutting. Because of new federal Safe Water Drinking Act regulations requiring public water suppliers to adequately filter and disinfect water taken from surface sources or find a new source, the hamlet of Raquette Lake needed to develop a new source of water. The best available source for this project rested on Forest Preserve lands.

"The prevalence of State Forest Preserve lands surrounding this community, coupled with the sanitary and hydrogeological requirements of public water supply wells, meant that the only viable alternative for siting a drinking water supply well for the hamlet of Raquette Lake was on Forest Preserve land," Little's office said June 12. "The lands to be conveyed to the State are located adjacent to other Forest Preserve lands and have been appraised at a value greater than the one acre that will be conveyed to the Town."

The Adirondack Council, an environmental group, supported the legislation.

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