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Thursday, February 3, 2011

Council calls for Review Board probe

The Adirondack Council is accusing the Adirondack Park Local Government Review Board of misleading the public in its critique of the state’s plan to buy Follensby Pond and former Finch, Pruyn lands. In a news release this morning, the council asks that the Review Board withdraw a resolution calling on the state to back out of the land deals.  Moreover, the council is calling for an ethics investigation of Fred Monroe, the board’s executive director, and Newcomb Supervisor George Canon, the board’s chairman. Both Monroe and Canon belong to hunting clubs that would lose their leases if the state buys the Finch, Pruyn lands. [I later learned that Canon gave up the chairmanship before the meeting and was not present for the vote.] The council’s news release follows. – Phil Brown

            ELIZABETHTOWN, N.Y. – The Adirondack Park’s largest environmental organization today called on the Adirondack Park Local Government Review Board to withdraw a resolution it sent to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, which attacks a pending state land conservation agreement with The Nature Conservancy that would add Hudson River Gorge, Blue Ledges and the Essex Chain of Lakes to the public Forest Preserve.

“This resolution is shameful,” said Adirondack Council Executive Director Brian L. Houseal.  “We do our best to see eye-to-eye with local government, but the Review Board has stepped way over the line this time.  Their accusations are baseless.  Their claims of job losses are not only false, they are contradicted by a 2009 study that Adirondack local governments commissioned and the Review Board promoted.”

“Worst of all, both the executive director and the chairman of the Review Board have unmistakable, personal conflicts of interest in the matter at hand,” Houseal said.  “Both are members of exclusive hunting clubs that will be forced to move elsewhere when the state purchases the Hudson River Gorge, Essex Chain of Lakes, OK Slip Falls and other former Finch, Pruyn & Co lands.  Both officials should have recused themselves from even discussing this matter in public.  That is not what happened here.”

The Review Board’s actions are inappropriate for two more reasons, Houseal explained.

“All 26 Adirondack town supervisors whose communities were affected by the Finch agreement approved the transaction in 2007,” said Houseal.  “These parcels were identified by the public as high priorities in the state’s official Open Space Conservation Plan more than a decade ago.  So the Review Board is now second-guessing everyone else’s careful decisions.”

Second, Houseal noted that the Adirondack Park Local Government Review Board has no business even commenting publicly on state land purchases.  The Review Board has only one lawful function.  It is supposed to monitor and report on how the Adirondack Park Agency administers and enforces the Adirondack Park Private Land Use and Development Plan. (Executive Law Section 803-a)

“The Adirondack Park Agency has no role in the acquisition of public lands,” Houseal said.  “It is a private-land regulatory agency.  But the Review Board is spending public money to attack the Department of Environmental Conservation, The Nature Conservancy and environmental protection in general.  That is wrong.  It is a misappropriation of tax dollars.  When it is done by someone with a personal, financial interest in the outcome, it is worse than wrong.

“At a minimum, this merits an ethics investigation,” Houseal said.  “It may be much more serious than that.  We expect that the Attorney General, Comptroller and other state officials will want to know about this.”

Houseal said that Local Government Review Board Executive Director Fred Monroe of Chestertown has revealed to local media that he is a member of the Polaris Mountain Club.  Review Board Chairman George Canon of Newcomb has told the media he is a member of the Gooley Club.  Both clubs will be evicted from their leased lands when the state purchases the former Finch lands from the Adirondack Chapter of The Nature Conservancy.

Ironically, the clubs only had one-year leases with the timber company and could have been evicted by The Nature Conservancy when it purchased the lands in 2007.  Instead, the Conservancy offered multi-year leases to all 42 hunting clubs that formerly leased Finch lands in 26 separate Adirondack towns, giving those that had to move years of warning and planning time.

Houseal said the Review Board’s estimate of job losses was both inaccurate and contradicted by the 2009 Adirondack Park Regional Assessment Project (APRAP), commissioned by the Adirondack Association of Towns and Villages and Adirondack North Country Association.

“The Review Board’s resolution claimed that 225 forestry jobs would be lost by subtracting these 75,000 acres from the park’s commercial timberlands,” Houseal said.  “But the regional assessment project says there were only 420 forestry jobs in the entire Adirondack Park in 2007, spread across 1,763,470 acres of private forests.  How does losing 4 percent of the timber base result in a 55 percent employment loss?  It doesn’t.  The statement is blatantly false.

“The Nature Conservancy and state DEC have been an overwhelmingly positive influence on the timber industry in the Adirondack Park,” Houseal explained.  “Every major timber company has moved away or gone out of business in the past 20 years.  But because of conservation agreements with new landowners, the state has protected from development some 800,000 acres of private lands in the Adirondack Park since 1990, where private timber harvesting continues under state supervision.  The conservancy assisted the state in completing most of those agreements.

“If anything, the Nature Conservancy and DEC have saved timber industry jobs,” Houseal said.  “Part of their purchase of the Finch lands included a guarantee that the lands would remain in timber production, and that the lands would provide pulp to the former Finch papermill in Glens Falls for at least 20 years.

“In contrast, most of our local forestry job losses came with the closing of outdated paper mills and the invention of the feller-buncher, a piece of heavy equipment that allows one man to cut and load an entire forest of trees on to a truck without a crew,” he explained.  “But the Review Board’s resolution isn’t about saving jobs.  It is about protecting exclusive personal privileges, and doing it with public money.”

Phil Brown

Contributor Phil Brown was editor of the Adirondack Explorer from 1999-2018. When he isn't at his desk, he's usually out hiking, paddling, skiing, or doing something else important.

43 Responses

  1. John says:

    The narrative that is consistently ignored or dismissed by the media is the value of the recreational leases; they bring tens of millions of dollars to local commerce every year. They are an important traditional economic resource in the Adirondacks. The clubs are also exemplary stewards. Regarding Monroe’s and Cannon’s membership status, well maybe it takes a club member to bring this information to light; who would know better?

    Regarding Forest Products in the Adirondacks; there are four state-of-the art mills located within 75 miles of the park, and they depend on the park’s forests for their operations. Should they import logs from Canada or Maine instead? The Nature Conservancy had nothing to do with saving Forest Products commerce; when they bought the land, the terms of purchase included a 20 year supply agreement. They had no choice in the matter. The Nature Conservancy consistently understates the value and importance of the Forest Products Industry in the Adirondacks. The LGRB accurately points out statistics that were provided by DEC, that every acre of productive forestland contributed over $470.00 annually to New York’s GDP. Who wants to remove 60,000 productive acres from the economy?

    I’m sure that when TNC pitched this deal to the towns in 2007, they made it sound great. Well guess what, the town leaders have had a chance to look at the deal in more detail, and they don’t like what they see.

    For those of you who doubt that these are productive forest lands, have a look at any of these tracts on Google Maps and the satellite imagery is quite clear. The harvesting is done in a sustainable fashion, and this land is productive. It should not be added to the Forest Preserve.

    Monroe’s document is accurate. Some of you hate to hear that, but the facts can’t be refuted. The state should do the right thing, and purchase easements where the clubs reside, and where logging is traditional, and should purchase 5 or 10 acres in fee around OK Slip Falls and Blue Ledges.

    Let’s get the facts on the table.

  2. Mac says:

    I find it rather hypocritical for Mr. Houseal to accuse Fred Monroe and George Canon of an ethical conflict in opposing state land acquisition because they pay to recreate on the former Finch lands. Mr. Houseal is no less conflicted as he represents and is paid handsomely by an organization whose goal is to have state taxpayers foot the bill for their recreational pursuits. The Adirondack Council, most of whose members have permanent addresses outside of the Blue Line, have been in the thick of these questionable TNC/DEC deals. Mr. Houseal should bear in mind that Mr. Monroe and Mr. Canon have been elected (and reelected) by the voters of their respective towns to serve their interests. If the state manages to acquire the lands in question and then discovers it can no longer afford to make the payments in lieu of taxes, it will not be the Council’s problem to deal with. The burden will fall instead upon Canon, Monroe, the other Adirondack Supervisors and their residents.

  3. Paul says:

    This “call’ is just a self published press release at the Adirondack Council’s website. I wouldn’t get all worked up over this. Phil is doing what he can to spread the “call” but I think it is well within the purview of the LGRB to recommend these changes to land acquisition policy, so I see no basis to “withdraw” the resolution. They can ask for an ethics investigation but I don’t think that the LGRB have ever tried to hide anything. If the APA feels that there is a conflict within the LGRB here they should ask these two guys to abstain from the discussions, but I don’t see any real point. It won’t change anything. It seems to me that the Adirondack Council is just upset that there is finally a voice against them in the Adirondacks that folks are listening to.

    The real “investigation” that I think is ongoing is whether or not these land deals are taking place in an ethical manner in the first place. If the TNC purchased this land independently prior to any discussions with the state then they are all in the clear. If the TNC and the DEC discussed the swap prior to the transaction than that clearly puts all the other potential buyers at a potential disadvantage. That is fair game for private individuals but not when a state entity is involved. The TNC continues to have employees that are working side by side with DEC staff in Albany. They are advising the DEC on land that should be acquired by the state. Is this ethical, when they are then the potential downstream buyer?? We will have to see what the AG says.

  4. John Sullivan says:

    The parcels slated for state purchase were singled out years ago as especially valuable natural and recreation resources. Local governments signed off on the purchase four years ago. Their conservation significance far outweighs their timber value.

    However, the debate misses a point: if we want to inject new vitality into the wood business in the Adirondacks, we should take some positive steps to encourage the owners of more than 2 million acres of non-industrial forest land to practice sound forest management. That’s right — more than 2 million acres of private, non-industrial forest, most of which is unmanaged, either for timber, wildlife, or any other purpose. And that unmanaged woodland is the most vulnerable to development.

    Management incentives would benefit the owners, the towns, and the local economies.

    Time to quit arguing about yesterday and start working for tomorrow.

  5. John says:

    John Sullivan, ask any Finch Pruyn forester: Private forests are under extreme stress to produce because of all the land that has been taken out of production by the state.

    Yes these lands were included in the Open Space plan, quite quietly, and before the advent of the internet and e-mail. That plan now needs to be reconsidered as it is faulty.

    The lands are not threatened with development, and will be more threatened by invasive species if added to the Forest Preserve. Their conservation significance is duly noted by the stewards who currently manage the land, and those stewards, the recreational clubs, actually willingly pay to do so.

  6. Paul says:

    “Their conservation significance far outweighs their timber value.”

    Easements allow you to do both. Why not? But they should just let the TNC hold the easement, it is their land. The buyer got cold feet, they can keep the deposit!

  7. AnotherView says:

    John,

    FYI, the Open Space Conservation Plan was just updated in 2009 and the process included regional committees plus 22 workshops and hearings held during the public review period for the draft plan and 464 comments were received via the public hearings, mail, E-mail, fax and through DEC’s website.

    From your posts I would guess you have more than a passing interest in the hunt club lease issue. Apparently you don’t like the part about hunting club leases that is in the agreement that was signed off by all local municipalities: “At least two-thirds of the hunting clubs on these parcels, which occupy the land under year-to-year leases, will likely see no changes or can be readily accommodated because some or all of their lands fall under conservation easement. The clubs with leases on lands that would become Forest Preserve would be granted a 10-year transition period. The agreement allows those clubs to retain exclusive use of the property for three years, followed by two years of exclusive use during the hunting and fishing seasons and then five years of camp use with shared public recreation. After that, the camps would be removed. Where possible, TNC has pledged to help relocate clubs being displaced.”

    I understand not wanting to lose the lease, and can even sympathize, heck who would want have to give up the exclusive recreational rights for a property I am sure is special and with lots of memories. But the fact is a lease is like renting and the property has been sold to a new owner. The new owner wants to end the relationship but will allow 10 years of continued use and even has offered to find affected clubs a new lease elsewhere. If it were me I would be grateful for the offer (and seriously consider it). Plus, it’s not like you can never use that property in the future, as could be the case under different ownership. It will still be accessible and available for hunting and fishing. And you have the advantage of knowing all the best spots.

  8. John says:

    AnotherView,

    “TNC has pledged to help relocate clubs being displaced.”

    Right. To underneath the 19th street bridge in Manhattan. The offer they made was completely unreasonable, to a piece of land that has NO fishing and little hunting value. This is only ONE of the reasons that the local towns now understand they were sold a real bill of goods. All hollow promises and false claims. It turns out that the towns would be a lot better off if the land stayed in private hands.

    Regarding access, would you hike 7 miles with a boat and gear on a Friday afternoon, to fish Saturday and hike out again on Sunday when these lands are classified as Wilderness areas and no motor vehicles are allowed. And, by the bay, when you carry in your Kevlar Kayak, how will you are when a wind comes up and there are two foot waves?

    Let’s get real real. Stop the romantic notion of deep woods “preserved wilderness” being open to public access. It’s nearly impossible, and certainly improbable.

  9. Stephen says:

    The LGRB is doing their job. However, the ethical concerns should be looked into. These guys are public officials and it should be disclosed in the resolution that they are members of clubs they are trying to save. Being career politicians, its not inconceivable there is something dirty going on. Hopefully the Commission on Public Integrity will look into this. This certainly has the appearance of impropriety.

  10. Stephen says:

    John,

    are you a member of one of these clubs?

  11. Andrew says:

    AnotherView,

    I’m not sure I understand your comment about the Open Space plan being updated in 2009. Are you saying that the plan was updated AFTER TNC purchased the land? Wouldn’t that be a substantive conflict?

    Do you consider 464 comments as adequate for a matter like this? Gosh, I’ve seen at least that many comments in the last week alone.

    Let’s face it. The whole DEC public comment process is a sham and it doesn’t allow for adequate dialog.

  12. Andrew says:

    Stephen, Monroe readily admits that he is a member of the Polaris club. In my opinion, it makes him more qualified to speak to the matter. Cannon hasn’t uttered a word until now, so his club membership is moot. As a town manager, he sees this as a bad deal regardless of his membership.

  13. John says:

    Stephen, does it matter if I’m a club member or a logging contractor, or a paper manufacturer, or a resident of a town who will lose revenue if logging and clubs are eliminated?

  14. Andrew says:

    John, chill out. It only matters that your are a tax payer, and the plan is for the state to spend a ton of your money to disrupt the economy and reduce the protection of the environment. Don’t worry, it will all be OK.

  15. AnotherView says:

    Andrew,

    The Open Space Plan is no secret and especially not to local governments who had representatives on the committees. If you really care, there was a recent discussion at NCPR regarding the Open Space Plan in which DEC responded in detail about the process and substantial public outreach involved.

    http://blogs.northcountrypublicradio.org/inbox/2011/01/19/for-adirondack-land-purchases-a-public-process-needed/

    Also, look up the reference to “conflict of interest” in the public officers law.

  16. Stephen says:

    I agree with the LGRB on this, although I think at least some of the lands should be bought by the state like the Follensby Pond, OK Slip falls. I just think the conflict of interest issue should be probed. This guy is a public servant, just because he doesn’t keep it a secret that he’s a member doesn’t mean he shouldn’t recuse himself. They sent it to the Governor, was it clear to the governor that this guy had at least some personal interest when he contacted the gov on behalf of local govs?

    What if the state wanted to build a prison there and the sent a similar resolution to the Gov? That would definitely have the appearance of impropriety. I am just saying its something that the Commission for Public Integrity should look into. These are career politicians living off our tax dollar teat, so they already are suspect in my book.

  17. Pete Klein says:

    Actually, just for the record if anyone cares, George Cannon has been replaced on the Review Board by Saranac Councilman Gerald Delaney Sr. who was elected to replace Newcomb Supervisor George Cannon as Chairman of the Review Board.

    This was done prior to the vote on the resolution being discussed.

  18. Paul says:

    Did the towns approve this deal prior to the attempt by the state to not pay property tax on Forest Preserve land?

  19. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by adirondacktrailhead, Pete Klein. Pete Klein said: Council calls for Review Board probe @: http://bit.ly/eSzHXq via @addthis […]

  20. Phil says:

    Pete, thanks for the tip on George Canon’s replacement. The LRGB website still has George listed as chairman. Don’t forget to send me the link to your story.

  21. Paul says:

    Phil, here is one story that was linked to an NCPR blog:

    http://www.denpubs.com/Articles-c-2011-02-02-99084.114134-sub-Delaney-chosen-to-lead-APA-Review-Board.html

    This “outlet” is not the best in my opinion, but I suppose the story is probably accurate.

  22. Phil says:

    I just got off the phone with Fred Monroe. He says George Canon was not chairman when the resolution was passed. In fact, Canon was not even at the meeting. Fred also pointed out that he himself does not have a vote on the Review Board. “If I had a vote, I would have recused myself from voting,” he said.

  23. Paul says:

    ““The Review Board’s resolution claimed that 225 forestry jobs would be lost by subtracting these 75,000 acres from the park’s commercial timberlands,” Houseal said. “But the regional assessment project says there were only 420 forestry jobs in the entire Adirondack Park in 2007, spread across 1,763,470 acres of private forests. How does losing 4 percent of the timber base result in a 55 percent employment loss? It doesn’t. The statement is blatantly false.”

    Brain this is ridiculous. When you are talking about placing land into the Forest Preserve you cannot just consider what is going on now, you have to think about the future. The number of current jobs is based only on the composition of the current market. What about future demand etc.? What the resolution was talking about based on the DEC numbers is (I assume) the “potential” that would be lost by placing the land under article 14 forever. The Adirondack Council can argue that there may be more economic benefit by placing the land in the Forest Preserve, but they don’t accomplish that by saying that this other estimate is false.

    In fact I don’t know how they can make a positive argument for Forest Preserve acquisition. A conservation easement would allow for ALL the economic and environmental benefits to continue. Forest products, non-exclusive leases, full public access, all tourism related jobs and economic benefits, as well as all air and water quality protection. This is an argument that the Council just can’t win.

  24. Shocked says:

    Paul:

    Michael Carr of the Nature Conservancy said this morning that there were fewer than 25 people ever employed in forestry on this 75,000 acres in question. About four people on Follensby and 20 or so on the remaining Finch lands that would go into the Forest Preserve. The Review Board says 60 new tourism jobs will emerge IN the park. Mike knows because they all were working for him for the past three years.

  25. Shocked says:

    Since 1970, when DEC was created (and three years prior to the year the Park Agency was created), the size of the Forest Preserve has increased by 12 percent, from 2.5 million acres to 2.7 million acres.

    Since 1970, conservation easements on commercial timberland increased from 1,250 total acres to 750,000-plus, a 600-fold increase, or 60,000 percent.

    Can someone tell me how that is a neglect of economics and the timber base?

    Even in raw acres, the state has acquired more than twice as many acres of timberland easements as it has public forest preserve in the past 41 years.

    So stop the bull about how Finch and Follensby are a disaster for the timber industry or the economy. The other 90,000 acres of Finch DID go into easements already.

    This was about using public offices to save private hunting camps. Nothing else.

  26. Paul says:

    It would be nice if we had an idea what the selling price will be. It was 30 million for easements on 85,000 acres what is the agreed upon price for the 60,000 acres in fee? What is the cost of the Follensby land? It seems to me that we are talking about many tens of millions of dollars for just the purchase. Now what is the holding cost over time? What are the maintenance costs, what are the property tax payments that NYS will need to make in perpetuity. I don’t think any of this is bull. Shocked, feel free to make a case for how the state will pay for these things?

    Also, the economic benefits do not only come from the loggers on the ground. Besides like I said you can have these jobs and the 60 other tourism related jobs, as well as the lease income, the public access, all of it. Again I simply don’t see any strength in the “Forest Preserve” argument. Shocked help us out.

  27. Andrew says:

    What are the current economic benefits ( logging and recreational leases)?, what are the current costs?

    What are the projected costs and projected economic benefits?

    As far as conservation and protection of nature, it will be very hard to beat the current scenario.

  28. Andrew says:

    Raw,

    I can tell you that at least $6,000.00 of logs are being harvested PER DAY on the Essex Chain of Lakes tract (less than 10,000 acres). This is the net cost to the Nature Conservancy. I don’t know what the selling price to Finch Paper is, but I bet it’s close to 8 or 9 thousand dollars per day.

    One logging contractor spends over a thousand dollars just in fuel per day.

  29. Andrew says:

    Mike Carr understates the value of the Forest Products Industry in the Adirondacks. I’ve seen at least 4 Finch Pruyn foresters in one place and five logging contractors, and this is on a small tract.

    There are 4 paper mills within 75 miles of the park. 1 paper machine is worth $100,000,000.00. Let’s not underestimate the value and commitment of of the Forest Products Industry in the park. DEC says that every acre of managed forestland is worth over $470.00 per year to New York’s GDP, so between Follensby and Finch, we’re looking at 85,000 acres, or nearly $40 million in GDP impact per year.

  30. Franklin County opposes land deals @ says:

    […] last week by the Adirondack Park Local Government Review Board. Yesterday, the Adirondack Council accused the board of overstepping its authority. The council also accused Fred Monroe, the board’s executive […]

  31. shocked says:

    Paul:

    Mike Carr told everyone on North Country Public Radio this morning how many people were actually working on these lands, as of this month. It was fewer than two dozen people. You can spin your projections and calculations all you want. The real number of jobs involved INSIDE THE PARK is 10 percent of what the Review Board hysterically claimed.

    Can’t you see that the Review Board is snout-deep, slurping at the public trough and complaining that the slop isn’t good enough?

    Is it true that Fred made more than $100,000 from being town supervisor, county chairman and Review Board executive director in 2010? As Aunt Sarah would say, “You betcha.” Same in 2009. That doggone state gubmint is wrecking the economy, though. Wink. Wink.

    Did his wife make another $10,000-plus as the only other employee of the Review Board? Ask Fred. All of the web sites listing public employee salaries say so.

    So now, they have to use public money to save their private camps? Are they welfare queens, or welfare cheats? You decide. Either way, the we the taxpayer take the beating, while they drive off to their tax-free, backwoods retreats, laughing at how naive we are.

    Watch now as your tax money drives away in their pockets. Wave goodbye.

    But hey, they are keeping an eye on that scary Park Agency for you, right?. So it’s OK if they rob you a little along the way, right? You won’t miss it. Just don’t ask too many questions and everything will be perfect.

    If you want to keep bending over and taking it from these guys, fine. You deserve what you get.

  32. shocked says:

    Sorry, Paul. I didn’t mean to rant directly at you. You just asked a question. I was responding more to Andrew and John, and anyone else who is watching this conversation.

    Thanks.

  33. Paul says:

    “You can spin your projections and calculations all you want. The real number of jobs involved INSIDE THE PARK is 10 percent of what the Review Board hysterically claimed.

    Shocked, ease up, I am not trying to “spin” anything all I was saying was that Mike was talking about what currently is happening on tracts which is based on today’s market (along with many other factors like maybe a particular owner is lightly harvesting at this time) and the LGRB was talking about “potential” for the industry based on DEC estimates. It is not “spin” to consider that in the future there could be logging on a larger scale if the market demands it.

    Also, I think the rest of your comments regarding LGRB compensation are also incorrect since I don’t think that they receive any compensation other than expenses. Can you point us to some state salary figures to back those claims up? The state has a website where you can point us to. The pig reference is cute but it doesn’t really work here.

  34. Paul says:

    “Watch now as your tax money drives away in their pockets. Wave goodbye.”

    Remind me how many tens of millions, or perhaps hundreds, will be spent on this boondoggle.

    Shocked we are in agreement here. Goodbye is right!

  35. Paul says:

    Shocked, sorry I missed this question:

    “Can someone tell me how that is a neglect of economics and the timber base?”

    Haven’t we been over this? On these 60,000 acres the state also should not neglect these things either.

    Why? Like I have already said the land can be protected from development, logged sustainability, enjoyed with non-exclusive leases, open to the public, and the owner will have income to cover the property taxes. NYS avoids the purchase and the holding costs, while being able to purchase other sensitive areas that are under real threat of development.

    Shocked if easements were not possible I could understand the reasoning for Forest Preserve acquisition. But we have a mechanism to keep everyone happy. What is the problem?

    As a person who cares for the environment don’t you think the state should maybe spend their limited funds on things like the small amounts of undeveloped beach front that are quickly disappearing? The Adirondacks isn’t the only place in NYS.

  36. Shocked says:

    Paul:

    Pardon my tone, please. I got excited. You are correct that the law mentions nothing about compensation for the review board’s board members. Fred is not a board member. He is an employee. His wife too. I think she was there first. That looks bad tho.

    Google NYS officials and salaries and see what you get. There are several places.

    You could also ask Fred. It is public information. He is required to tell you what he and his wife make, including “expanses.” It’s your money too.

    Also, if you have been to the Hudson Gorge, OK Slip Falls, Boreas Ponds or the Essex Chain of Lakes and you truly believe that commercial forest is the best plan we can create for these areas, then we will never really understand one another.

    DEC or the Nature Conservancy can better tell you the ecology side of why the lands shouldnt be logged. I have heard it, but dont know it well enough to repeat it. It made sense tho.

    As much as we hate to admit it, roads are sinkholes for wildlife. Lots and lots of mountain and forest animals don’t get along well with the gasoline engine or being close to people and noise. The fact that there would still be whitetail deer, chipmunks and chickadees doesn’t mean we haven’t killed off or chased away dozens of other animals and birds that used to live there. You can get all three of those critters to eat from your hand.

    And even they are defenseless against us. We are the only ones with the power to make these decisions. The birds and fish and animals can’t save themselves. They can’t call Betty Little and remind her how important they are to the economy. They cant slip her a few Benjamins to talk-up their cause in the papers.

    Don’t we the people, as a species, have enough places we can drive right up to? Does everything have to work like WalMart, Stewarts and McDonalds?

    Logging means lots of roads. It means knuckleheads on ATVs, and other invasive species. It means traffic and noise and air pollution. Even if the doses are smaller than in some other places, it all takes a toll.

    Don’t get me wrong. I wont complain about the timber industry up here. Most of them are green as can be. They arent beating up existing timberlands. They act like they will stick around awhile. Thats good for everybody.

    I am tickled that we arent at war with them like those poor people in W. Virginia arguing about whether blowing up their whole mountain for a little coal will keep them employed for another year or two. Seems like another world. I am glad we are past that up here.

    But there are very, very few totally wild places, without roads, anywhere east of the Rockies anymore. Almost all of them are right here, between the Mohawk and the St. Lawrence. Most of those are already Forest Preserve. Not all.

    Almost all of the lands that still have any chance to remain that wild are on the Finch tracts and at Follensby. After these two are done, theres not much left the enviros want to claim as wilderness. Check the open space plan or the Council’s 2020 VISION. Both are online. You might be less worried if you knew exactly what they wanted. I am.

    Nearly everything else on their wish lists looks like a little private tract surrounded by big state holdings. Tiny specs really, here and there. They will have to find something else to worry about soon cause the rest wont be a full time job. I am sure they will find something to do.

    I think we get tired of the very idea of wilderness in the Adirondacks because we have so much of it compared to the rest of the country. I expect that people who live on Caribbean islands get tired of the beach after a while too. But they would be foolish to turn the most attractive ones into industrial work zones.

  37. Paul says:

    “Also, if you have been to the Hudson Gorge, OK Slip Falls, Boreas Ponds or the Essex Chain of Lakes and you truly believe that commercial forest is the best plan we can create for these areas, then we will never really understand one another.

    Shocked, since a sustainably managed forest has preserved these places over the last 150 or so years I just have a difficult time understanding why that will change for the better when they are placed in the Forest Preserve? Can you help me understand what will be better under a state stewardship model?

  38. Paul says:

    Shocked, I can see where you are coming from, for me it is just a different place. Logic tells me that these lands have been stewarded this way for generations and here we are with this “jewel” that TNC has acquired. If we are going to spend tens of millions of dollars, and lose the stewardship model that has given us what we have today I think we should take serious pause and consider what will be better under a Forest Preserve model. How will NYS better manage these lands, what money will they use to maintain it, what staff will do the important work? They do not seem in a very good position to do a very good job. You and I both want to see this land protected. I am not a club member there, I may never even set foot on these parcels, but I think that what is working now could possibly continue to be the best thing to do. Thanks for the discussion.

  39. Wayno says:

    There is plenty of working forest land in the Park. This will have a negligible affect on the lumber industry. The issue is not about jobs here. The issue is about should the state spend several million dollars to add more acreage to the Forest Preserve or should this land remain private property. If it is added to the Preserve it becomes part of the public lands and can be enjoyed by everyone in the state, including the entire local population. If it remains private it will be the exclusive domain of a few connected families. If it is added to the Forest preserve it will connect existing public lands and tremendously enhance that area of the Preserve, drawing more tourism and increasing the legacy for posterity. If it remains private it will continue to be a disruption to continuity of the public lands and subject to potential future development. It is my opinion the land should be added to the Preserve in keeping with the reason the Park was established to begin with.

  40. Paul says:

    “If it remains private it will be the exclusive domain of a few connected families.”

    Wayno, this is not correct. A conservation easement on the land that allows public access will provide all the things you are asking for without the costs associated with buying the land outright.

    People that are advocating for this land to be added to the Forest Preserve have to start coming up with some reasons that make better sense.

  41. HikingBlog.net» Blog Archive » Council calls for Review Board probe says:

    […] Source: http://adirondackexplorer.org/out-takes/2011/02/03/council-calls-for-review-board-probe/ […]

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