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Sun., Oct. 4
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Thousand-Island, St. Lawrence leaders seek Scenic Area tag


DARK ISLAND – Local organizations and municipalities showed support Tuesday for a plan to put the Thousand Islands-St. Lawrence River region on the map as a top scenic area in the state.

Organizations and municipalities in Jefferson and St. Lawrence counties gathered with state representatives at Singer Castle Tuesday to discuss their plans to designate the Thousand-Islands-St. Lawrence Region as a Scenic Area of Statewide Significance.

“Singer Castle couldn’t be a more perfect place to showcase what we have to offer here,” Hammond Town Supervisor Ronald W. Bertram said.

The designation, through the state Department of State’s Office of Communities and Waterfronts, offers protection to scenic landscapes through review of projects requiring state or federal action, including direct actions, permits or funding.

“It’s recognized state and federal legislation that says the scenic areas are important and should be protected,” Barbara Kendall, Coastal Research Specialist, said. “It amends the coast boundary so if there was a federal or state action in that area, it’s given a higher level of review for state and federal action.”

Mr. Bertram said he and his committee received a $75,000 matching grant from the North Country Regional Economic Development Council that will go toward the application. The grant will be split by 10 municipalities to fund in-kind research that will be included in the SASS application packet, Mr. Bertram said.

Those who participated in Tuesday’s kick off meeting will be part of a project advisory group, which will help identify areas that will be designated for scenic significance.

“As part of method planning, advisory group members would collect maps, aerial photos, and historical and planning studies — anything that would show the scenic, historical or cultural significance of the area,” Ms. Kendall said. “Those will then all be reviewed as part of the application.”

An unlimited amount of areas can be designated up to three miles inland from the coastal boundary, according to officials.

“This would definitely help our efforts as far as land conservation,” Jake R. Tibbles, executive director of the Thousand Island Land Trust, said. “This would help us better protect resources in our area.”

The ultimate goal of the project is to gain name recognition and to promote the area to tourists, Mr. Bertram said.

“This regional approach is a great thing,” he said. “If you want to get a grant, I can’t think anything that will help us more than this SASS designation.”

Mr. Bertram said he hopes to submit the application in the spring.

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