Monday, March 4, 2013

The Carbon Impacts of Forest Conversion

section of forest clearcut for 16-lot subdivision in Clifton ParkA few years ago, a Planning Board Member in Clifton Park, Saratoga County posed a question I have never heard asked by anyone at the Adirondack Park Agency : how much carbon dioxide will be released by this subdivision, and what can we do about it?

As it turns out, the carbon dioxide released due to simply clearing forest land for subdivisions is eye-popping, and we know that the Adirondack Park Private Land use and Development Plan law gives the APA a lot of leverage in regulating subdivision design, lot layout and forest clearing – if they choose to use it.
» Continue Reading.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Science Sundays at VIEW

monarch_butterfly_newScience on Sundays at  VIEW in Old Forge is continuing March 3 with “Migration of Monarch butterflies in and beyond New York” with Ernest Williams, co-author of The Stokes Butterfly Book, author of The Nature Handbook: A Guide to Observing the Great Outdoors, as well as other books, journals and numerous articles.

Recently quoted in New Scientist magazine regarding the monarch butterfly migration, the  Hamilton College Biology Professor stated that the Monarch butterfly species is not threatened, but rather its migration is endangered. Williams further states that if the climate alters, there are possibilities to consider such as a migratory shift further into Canada during summer or the monarchs may stop before reaching Mexico in the winter. » Continue Reading.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

A Lake George Park: Enlisting Women to the Cause

John Apperson Overlooking Lake George (Adirondack Research Library Photo)Although many books are available about the “great and gracious” on Millionaire’s Row at Lake George, few authors have written about the social and political drama that unfolded there, starting around 1920, as automobiles and improved roads began to change the status quo, revealing the tension between commercial interests and those who wished to create a Lake George Park.

Among those in favor of creating a park were several millionaires, including William K. Bixby, who donated land on Tongue Mountain to the state, and George Foster Peabody, who gave land for a campground (Hearthstone) and a park, on Prospect Mountain. Another wealthy landowner, Mrs. Stephen Loines, a widow with three unmarried daughters, contributed significantly to the cause, not only through her gifts of land, but in her efforts to influence public opinion. » Continue Reading.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Why PROTECT Is Going To Court Over Connector Trail

MRP-Snowmobile-Trail-3Why PROTECT is suing the state over its policy, design and construction of new road-like snowmobile trails

Protect the Adirondacks has started a new lawsuit against the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and Adirondack Park Agency (APA) to challenge recent snowmobile policy and trail construction practices in the Adirondack Forest Preserve. » Continue Reading.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Willie Janeway to head Adirondack Council

wjanewayThe Adirondack Council has hired William “Willie” Janeway as its new executive director, starting in May. He is now the head of the state Department of Environmental Conservation’s Region 3, which encompasses the lower Hudson Valley and the southern Catskill Park.

Janeway will succeed Brian Houseal, who resigned in October. Diane Fish has been serving as the acting executive director since Houseal left. She will return to her post as deputy director.

Janeway graduated from St. Lawrence University in 1985 with a bachelor’s degree in economics and environmental studies. Before hired by DEC, he worked for the Adirondack Mountain Club, the Albany Pine Bush Preserve Commission, the Hudson River Greenway, and the Nature Conservancy. He co-founded the Friends of New York’s Environment, a coalition of more than two hundred environmental, farming, and other community organizations.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

General Permit Fails to Address Today’s Forest Challenges

logging roads on Finch landsThere has been some good writing on forestry issues in the Adirondack Park in the media recently, stimulated by the APA’s proposed, controversial General Permit for clear-cut logging. Adirondack Wild applauds the discussion and encourages more of it.

The APA held a stakeholder meeting recently of Agency staff, forest landowners and managers, scientists, and environmental groups where a conversation ensued about the difficulties that face forests and forest managers today in the Adirondack Park (and beyond). The dialogue needed to happen, and it should continue, but the General Permit (GP) does more than just get in the way of that discussion. It does little to solve the problems discussed, and cuts out the public’s involvement in these matters and, even worse, it subjects forest landowners who might apply for the GP to a perception of unfair dealings with the Agency in order to expedite the clear-cutting of their lands. That’s may be an unfair characterization, but that is the public’s perception. All in all, this General Permit is a just a bad idea. » Continue Reading.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Setting the Record Straight on Lake George:
Robert Moses, John Apperson, and Tongue Mountain

Christmas PhotographAccording to local lore, Robert Moses, secretary of the State Parks Commission, and John Apperson, leading defender of the “forever wild” clause of the NY constitution, had a confrontation of historic proportions, one summer day in August of 1923. Moses, who was already carrying out an ambitious scheme to grab power, had convinced Governor Al Smith that the development of state parks would be a very popular election issue.

As the center-piece of his plan, Moses wanted to build a parkway on the Tongue Mountain peninsula (plus, eventually, gas stations, scenic overlooks, and hotels). Apperson wanted to prevent development altogether.  He dreamed of bringing the central portion of the lake (Tongue Mountain, the Narrows, Black Mountain and Paradise Bay) under state ownership, and thus under the protection of the NY constitution.

The battle over the highway at Tongue Mountain happened quietly, behind the scenes, and out of the headlines.  In fact, Robert Moses’ biographer, Robert Caro, never mentioned this story, and apparently knew little about the work of John Apperson at Lake George.  Fortunately, we can now examine letters and documents long hidden from view that shed considerable light on the politics concerning the creation of a Lake George Park.
» Continue Reading.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Criticism Of The APA’s Clearcutting General Permit


The new draft General Permit for clearcutting being readied for approval this week by the Adirondack Park Agency (APA) is a flawed document for a number of reasons. It’s simply bad public policy, bad legal work done in the rush to get it approved, bad public process as it willfully ignores overwhelming public sentiment, and bad science as it seeks to dramatically expand the amount of clearcutting in heavily cut forests.

All of this, of course, will lead to a bad outcome for the APA and for the Adirondack Park.

But, there’s a better way. The APA could slow down this train. It should postpone action on the draft General Permit or deny it outright and then begin a better process towards a better outcome. The APA should fully investigate the legitimate issues facing large-scale forest managers across the Adirondacks. It’s important for the Adirondack Park to keep our working forests working well.
» Continue Reading.

Monday, February 4, 2013

State Loses $2.5M Follensby Grant Amid Calls For Funding

follensby pondThe Adirondack Council urged state lawmakers to increase funding for environmental priorities in the FY2013-14 NYS Budget in testimony today at the legislature’s budget hearing. The Council cited the recent loss of a $2.5 million grant secured to aid the purchase of the Follensby Tract as a sign that New York’s Environmental Protection Fund (EPF) needs an expedited increase in funding.

Adirondack Council Legislative Director Scott Lorey called for an additional $11 million to be added in the EPF and also urged Governor Andrew Cuomo to rebuild the staffing at key regulatory agencies whose budgets have been cut in recent years, including the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and the Adirondack Park Agency. » Continue Reading.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Climate Change: Entries From A 1970s Journal

PPR Headline 19 Apr 1976A few weeks ago, in a piece about old-time weather forecaster Billy Spinner, I mentioned insects on our sidewalk near Christmastime, which is certainly out of the ordinary in my life’s experience. In another piece in December, I mentioned the value of keeping a journal. The two subjects came together recently when I was pondering how the winters of my youth seem so different from those we are experiencing today. Of course, we can’t trust our memories, which again demonstrates the value of a journal.

Now don’t get all excited thinking that I’m trying to prove climate change or global warming. I do know that through my teen years (mainly the 1960s), little time was spent wondering if we would have a white Christmas each year. It was basically a given. » Continue Reading.

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