St. Lawrence County lawmakers ask state to intervene on behalf of 30 Colton hunting camps that may have to be removed
Tuesday, February 24, 2015 - 11:39 am

CANTON -- County lawmakers are asking state officials to intervene on behalf of 30 camps on the Long Pond easement in Colton that may have to be removed.

The St. Lawrence County Board of Legislators Finance Committee unanimously passed a resolution on Monday saying Gov. Andrew Cuomo and other state officials “take whatever action necessary” to settle negotiations between Danzer Forestland and the state Department of Environmental Conservation.

The New York State Conservation Council (NYSCC), which is advocating on behalf of the camps’ owners, says they believe there are four reasons for the discussions between the German-owned Danzer and the DEC.

The letter says the DEC wants Danzer to give up subdivision rights. Now, they can divide the 20,000 acres into six parcels. Second, the DEC wants Danzer to get green forestry certification. The NYSCC says this will be costly to the company because they haven’t harvested timber in nine years of owning the land. Their only income from the property is about $15,000 per year in rental fees, according to the letter.

“During the nine years they have owned the property they have not conducted a timber harvest and as we understand it, they do not intend to harvest for another 10 years. Danzer is a refreshing change that the DEC should be supporting and applauding,” the letter says. “If New York is really open for business the current stance by the [DEC] pertaining to the negotiations certainly doesn’t reflect that.”

In addition to that, the NYSCC believes the DEC’s insistence on re-writing the easement agreement and the inability to agree on the value of the camps and the acreage.

County lawmakers say in their resolution that they support the camps, some of which were built in the 1940s, remaining on the property because they “are beneficial to regional economies and encourage families to enjoy the outdoor recreational activities together.”

The resolution also notes a state precedent set with the retention of 120 camps on the former Champion lands.