Organizers for the group Adirondack Wild: Friends of the Forest Preserve, originally founded in 1945 by Adirondack wilderness advocate Paul Schaefer, say it will focus on the benefits of wild lands across the state, including Forest Preserve lands in the Adirondacks and Catskills. “Adirondack Wild will advocate when wild lands are threatened, be a strong partner to protect them, and train stewards to care for them,” according to today’s announcement.
The group “envisions a network of public and private lands which safeguard wild places, wildlife, older forests, entire watersheds, intact ecosystems, and their many values. The group will advance policy goals consistent with ecological and wilderness values, ethics, and principles,” according to organizers.
A core partnership of David Gibson, Dan Plumley and Ken Rimany and Peter Brinkley are expected to focus on three goals: safeguarding the wild, extending the wild and educating for the wild. “Like-minded individuals are welcome, and invited to join us,” Brinkley said.
Gibson, a regular contributor to Adirondack Almanack, has been involved in Adirondack conservation for nearly 25 years, much of that time as Executive Director of the Association for the Protection of the Adirondacks and then as first Executive Director of Protect the Adirondacks. He contributes to the Almanack around issues of wilderness, wild lands, and public policy.
“Wild places are central to the human experience and spirit. They also have very significant local and regional economic impacts. They deserve a friends organization devoted to them, who will fight for them when necessary, and who will educate about them. That is our niche,” Gibson said. He and Plumley recently left Protect the Adirondacks and had indicated to local media that they might form a new organization.
The group’s website, www.adirondackwild.org, is being developed and will be operational in August, Gibson said.
“The cause is urgent. Tax payments on the Forest Preserve were at risk last year. Land protection priorities are at risk this year. The high standards demanded by the “Forever Wild” State Constitution are too often ignored,” Gibson said. “Wild landscapes are fragmented and degraded by development, roads, and climate change. Children and adults yearn for ways to engage with wild places. New constituencies for the wild must be welcomed and informed.”
The organization is expected to be funded by private donations and grants and operate from offices located inside the Blue Line in Keene and from regional offices in Ballston Lake and Niskayuna. Its Officers include Peter Brinkley, Thomas L. Cobb, Ph.D., Terry Jandreau and Anne Weld, all of whom have experience advocating for wild protected areas. The partners and Tom Cobb knew and worked with the organization’s original founder, Paul Schaefer. Schaefer, who died in 1996, was a champion of Adirondack wilderness for 65 years, and was recognized by Audubon as one of the foremost conservationists of the 20th century.