Smith Farm

A Google Earth photo shows deforested areas of the property sold to Open Space Institute for addition to Moreau Lake State Park.

We published this article on Monday about a plan to add another 890 acres to Moreau Lake State Park, more of it Hudson River shoreline across the river from Queensbury.

The Open Space Institute announced the purchase of lands formerly known as the Smith Farm from Finch Pruyn Timberlands, which OSI plans to sell to the state to add on to the adjacent state park.

A reader who is familiar with the property that Finch sold, though, believed the land is far from the pristine woodlands that it was represented to be, thanks to significant logging that took place in recent years.

He provided copies of satellite photos that seem to show obvious deforestation on the property between 2013 and 2018, photos that show the canopy across the river at Queensbury's Hudson Pointe Preserve growing greener. (The comparison photos in a PDF are attached to this blog post, click on it to view both photos.)

The reader says he knows for a fact that extensive logging took place before the sale of the property, and took offense that the property was billed as "forested land."

"It is very obvious to see that since 2013, at least 90 percent (if not more) of the trees were harvested from the purchased land," he wrote.

A view of the property through Google Earth (attached) also shows an obvious lack of greenery and tree cover on much of the property, compared to adjacent areas.

So Finch got $1.4 million for a piece of property that apparently would be of little use, timber-wise, to the company for quite a few years, if not decades.

Notable to me was that the photos seem to show a protected buffer of trees along the river, with interior areas almost devoid of cover in places. Where would most of the public be able to see this land at this point? From across the river at Hudson Pointe.

I took a ride to the area Wednesday to try to figure out if I could get a look at the woodlands, but between private property and wetlands, I couldn't find an obvious access point, though.

I reached out to OSI to find out if the organization was aware of logging there, and Eileen Larrabee, a spokeswoman for the organization, said the purchase contract with Finch "did allow for limited timber harvesting" before the sale.

She said the harvesting was consistent with Adirondack Park Agency standards, and occurred in areas that had been cut before.

Larrabee said the timetable for transferring the property to the state to add to the park was unclear, but OSI would hope it would take place within a year or so.

It will be interesting to see what awaits the public when we get a chance to venture onto this land we will ultimately pay for.

-- Don Lehman

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reporter - crimes & courts, public safety and Warren County government

Don Lehman covers crime and Warren County government for The Post-Star. His work can be found on Twitter @PS_CrimeCourts and on poststar.com/app/blogs.

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