Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Open Letter:
From Adk Council, ADK and League of Conservation Voters

Entering-Adirondack-ParkWhat follows is an open letter issued today to Adirondack Almanack readers.

Dear Adirondack Almanack Readers:

Voters reaffirmed that the Adirondack Park belongs to all New Yorkers. Proposition 4 (Township 40) was approved by a wide margin. Voters also approved Proposition 5 that expands the Jay Mountain Wilderness as part of a land swap with the NYCO mineral company. The approval of this constitutional amendment expands access to all sides of the Jay Mountain Wilderness and adds important new resources to the Forest Preserve.

Election results show that New Yorkers care deeply about the Adirondack Park.  Clearly the Adirondack Council, Adirondack Mountain Club, and the New York League of Conservation Voters’ collaboration with local governments, unions, and property owners can produce victories and results that benefit the Forest Preserve and communities.

The Adirondack Council, Adirondack Mountain Club, and New York League of Conservation Voters are grateful that the voters approved these two Constitutional Amendments authorizing land swaps strengthening the ‘forever wild’ Adirondack Forest Preserve. This strong vote of support shows that New Yorkers value the environmental and economic benefits of the State’s six-million-acre Adirondack Park.

Voters share our vision of an Adirondack Park that works best when its wild character is protected and its small towns and hamlets are vibrant and alive.

The three organizations thank the voters of New York for supporting our quest to add more than 1,500 acres to the Forest Preserve in the Jay Mountain Wilderness and Taylor Pond Wild Forest, in the Town of Lewis, plus protect the almost 300-acre Marion River Canoe Carry in the Town of Long Lake.

We thank all our partners and supporters for assisting in this victory for the park, for an expanded Forest Preserve, and for the park’s communities. Now, together with those who supported these amendments and those who didn’t, we can focus on advancing strategies that don’t require constitutional amendments but do combine additional protection of waters and land, and enhancement of the wild forest character of the State’s largest Park, including actions that foster vibrant communities.

These wins for the people’s Adirondack Park, for wilderness and communities, showcase the success of the best way of doing Adirondack conservation — collaboratively.  When we’re working together the people’s park wins. This collaborative way of doing business will build us a better park.

Your Adirondack Park won at the polls on Election Day.


Willie Janeway, Executive Director, Adirondack Council

Neil Woodworth, Executive Director, Adirondack Mountain Club

Marcia Bystryn, President, NY League of Conservation Voters



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40 Responses

  1. dave says:

    Article 14 explicitly forbids exchanging forest preserve land… and specifically mentions corporations.

    Here it is: “the forest preserve as now fixed by law, shall be forever kept as wild forest lands. They shall not be leased, sold or exchanged, or be taken by any corporation, public or private”

    You guys supported an amendment that explicitly allowed the exchange of forest preserve lands… specifically to a corporation.

    You can make a lot of arguments to defend the position you took, but claiming that this somehow strengthens the constitutional forever wild clause is not one of them.

    • Paul says:

      “strengthens the constitutional forever wild clause” Where did they make that claim?

      • dave says:

        The word games never end, do they Paul?

        The claim that these amendments are strengthening “forever wild” lands is a reference to Article 14, known as the “Forever Wild clause”, which explicitly protects “forever wild” lands from exchanges… including, and specifically, to corporations.

  2. Bill Ingersoll says:

    I for one am disgusted that my Adirondack Mountain Club dues were applied in support of Proposition 5.

    I have been an ADK member since 1999, and an active member of the conservation committee since 2003. I served as the Wildlands Stewardship Chair from 2003 – 2010, and as the Iroquois Chapter Conservation Chair from 2003 – 2013. I have volunteered countless hours compiling newsletters, making presentations, visiting chapters to promote stewardship, leading outings, and helping to shape conservation policy.

    But after a night’s rest I’ve decided to cut off my ties with ADK. I have one remaining November commitment for the club, and then I am done. My membership will not be renewed in 2014.

    I have heard ADK’s rhetoric in support of NYCO, and there is not one syllable of it that I care to hear reiterated. ADK has betrayed my beliefs. I can accept some differences of opinion between my own views and the organizations I participate in, but Prop 5 represents a fundamental shift in core values that I cannot forgive and will not follow.

    • Paul says:

      Bill if you supported 4 and not 5 your core values were already shifted.

      At least with 5 the Forest Preserve has a benefit. For 4 not so much.

      • WOODSY says:

        And what benifit is that?
        There will be no new jobs created or lost ….but we did chip away forever wild……….

      • Avon says:

        Why keep asking, Paul, if you continue always to ignore the answer and believe otherwise?

        Prop 4 can’t change how the subject land is used, but does add to Preserve acreage. (Without the swap, and the fees it generates, the state would still never gain clear title. With the swap, the land is still under regulation as it has been all along – private, and used, but not de-Presered any further.) Prop 5, on the other hand, opens a strip/pit mine on Forever Wild land. No comparison.

        Plus, at least with 4 we get the Marion River Carry. With 5, nothing in particular is guaranteed.

        One can contradict those conclusions, but if one does, then one runs afoul of all those facts. Might as well just accept the facts and let their conclusions follow.

      • Laura says:

        Paul, It is understandable that you are not clear on what happened w/Prop 5. NYCO paid a PR firm to market it for them & they were very successful in using fear mongering surrounding jobs that wouldn’t be lost & enticing with a misstated land offering. Prop 4 corrected some title issues that go way back to the 1800s & needed to be corrected. It did not diminish the “Forever Wild” intent in any way. But Prop 5 was introduced for the convenience of a private global corporation who had product which they already mine on land adjoining “Forever Wild” land. They tried the land grab in 1981 & wisely, it was voted down but there’s enough wollastonite that they would have been crazy to not try it again. The PR firm spun a great campaign based around 100 jobs being lost that wasn’t true & 1,500 acres of land being deeded by NYCO which NYCO only owns 960 acres of, the rest would have to be acquired. Further, the “poorly worded” prop does not specify how much land will be given just a minimum dollar value. Also, if after doing their test borings they decide to not go forward w/the mining, it appears according to the “poorly worded” prop that they don’t have to do any reclamation, just give NYS the same number of acres as what was disturbed and not similar acres so I would expect it to be wetlands that are of no use to them anyway. The Proposition was so badly flawed that the ADK Council even addressed that in their thank you letter sent out on Wed. referring to it as “poorly worded”. Core values have shifted w/certain groups in the ADK park but it wasn’t the many groups who urged a “No” vote on Prop 5. The truth will all come out one day & people will be outraged that they had been had as they were but it will be too late! The ADK Park stopped being “Forever Wild” last Tuesday!!!

  3. Tim says:

    WAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHH! That’s all I hear out of you tree huggers! I was born and raised in the ADK and LOVE the park just as much as anyone else, but I can tell you, making a living for my family is extremely difficult, and I must travel outside of the Park to make a decent wage to survive! Those who oppose Prop 5. are either A. a transplant here B. Retired/born into money. or C. ALL OF THE ABOVE! it makes me sick knowing the reason industry no longer thrives here is because of people like YOU!

    • Adam says:

      I would love to be able to work and live within the park, But hey, guess what, I cant. I is very difficult, yes, we know. But, does that mean we should devalue the park so that you can work there? If so, is it just you? Or you and your friends? Or you and your family and friends? What about me and my family? We would love to be able to reside in the park. Maybe you should clear cut half of the park, level the mountains for more parking lots and dentist offices, and put up industry all over the place so that we can all live there. Make sense? Its difficult to make ends meet in the park. Keep it that way, its what makes the park the way it is, you know, with all the wilderness and mountains and what not. If you have a problem with that, I suggest you move, Article 14 was in place long before you came around.

  4. Dan Crane says:

    I received a strangely similar email from the Adirondack Council earlier today. As a supporter of all three groups in the past, I find it interesting that they found it necessary to send out such communiques, as if they realize their position has done some damage to their reputation.

    They obviously felt it was worth sacrificing the 200 acres in the Jay Mtn. Wilderness to get an increase in total Forest Preserve acres in the future. I’m still not sure I agree with them though. The fall-out of Prop. 5 and my views about it will probably be the topic of my article here next week.

    So be warned….

  5. Dale Jeffers says:


    Take some time and study the historical economics of living in the Adirondacks. It was always a hardscrabble way of life with people settling there and then leaving. Industry never “thrived” as it was mostly based upon the exploitation of a wasting asset, not unlike the NYCO situation. One horse towns developed around these industries and then suffered terribly when the wasting asset was depleted or when world market conditions led to the decline of the one horse industry. Not a problem unique to the Adirondacks. If you want more money and security, and most of us do, here are the alternatives. Either move to a metropolitan area (ugh!)which presents economic semi-security at the cost of your lifestyle or get educated on sustainability and then involved in creating sustainable communities within the Park. I hope that you will choose the latter.

    • Tim says:

      Industry never thrived?? What about the NUMEROUS mining operations that were the reasons why ANYONE settled here??? J&L (Benson Mines)near Star Lake and Newton Falls (yeah those towns are in the park too)employed over 1500 people in it’s prime! Then you had NUMEROUS other paper mills, logging operations and mills, etc. etc. etc. Industry used to thrive here. Just because industry didn’t thrive in the “high peaks” it did thrive in other areas of the park. Do YOUR research. The park is much bigger than the over hyped areas that seem to decide how the rest of us in park has to live.

    • Avon says:

      Tim’s arguments are the same ones we hear in Brooklyn.
      Brooklyn used to have industry. Now its brownstone houses and mature trees are preserved, the air is breathable, people have to shlep on the subway to Manhattan to find jobs, and people can’t afford the same neighborhoods their working parents once did.

      True, one solution is to build toxic, smoky factories in every neighborhood. Might feel a little bit like the old days. But China and Bangladesh are winning that “race to the bottom”; our industry would fail. Some of us hope instead for a future where we can have both economic survival and a decent amount of health, beauty and nature.

  6. Dale Jeffers says:

    This “open letter” is an offensive commentary on a slick job of merchandising a sale of the Forest Preserve to NYCO by “advocacy organizations” which is totally contra to any concept of “Forever Wild” and totally contra to any strategic concept of wildlands protection. Count on history giving these three organizations credit for the fall out.

    Shame on you all. The Forest Preserve should not be for sale. Not now and not in the future.

  7. Peter Bauer says:

    Dear Willie, Neil, and Marcia,

    You all write:

    “Voters reaffirmed that the Adirondack Park belongs to all New Yorkers.” Please explain how the Prop 4 and Prop 5 votes did this.

    You all write: “Clearly the Adirondack Council, Adirondack Mountain Club, and the New York League of Conservation Voters’ collaboration with local governments, unions, and property owners can produce victories and results that benefit the Forest Preserve and communities.” If you’re speaking of Prop 4, you’re clearly leaving out a lot of other organizations who supported Prop 4. Why did you leave out so many other groups who supported Prop 4?

    You wrote: “The Adirondack Council, Adirondack Mountain Club, and New York League of Conservation Voters are grateful that the voters approved these two Constitutional Amendments authorizing land swaps strengthening the ‘forever wild’ Adirondack Forest Preserve. This strong vote of support shows that New Yorkers value the environmental and economic benefits of the State’s six-million-acre Adirondack Park.” What about the more than 1 million voters that opposed you all on Prop 5? Do voters who voted against Prop 5 not value the “environmental and economic benefits of the State’s six-million-acre Adirondack Park”? Please explain your statement.

    You all wrote: “Voters share our vision of an Adirondack Park that works best when its wild character is protected and its small towns and hamlets are vibrant and alive.” You all won Prop 5 by a margin of 53% – 47%. Hardly a mandate and hardly an endorsement of your vision. Over 1 million people voted against your vision and leadership. How is it that you can claim that New Yorkers share your vision? Would it be more accurate to say that 53% of New Yorkers share your vision? Please explain.

    You all wrote: “These wins for the people’s Adirondack Park, for wilderness and communities, showcase the success of the best way of doing Adirondack conservation — collaboratively. When we’re working together the people’s park wins. This collaborative way of doing business will build us a better park.” This rings hollow when you brazenly omit many partners that supported Prop 4. This also rings hollow when you dismiss the more than 1 million New Yorkers who voted against your vision on Prop 5. Please explain.

    The success of Prop 4 was a result of a lot of people and organizations beyond your three organizations.

    It seems to me that you’re all crowing quite loudly indeed considering how narrow your victory was on Prop 5.

  8. David says:

    I am disheartened that this amendment passed and frankly disgusted that these organisations claim this as a victory. Using a piece of our preserve as leverage for another is the very definition of a Faustian Bargain.

    I have lost a great deal of respect for these groups in the past weeks and I don’t think I want to support them in the future. As someone who vehemently supports classification 1b and wrote a multipage letter in the public comment phase I can say without hesitation I would rather have Wild Forest in the Essex Chain than surrender Lot 8 to be mined.

    Get your priorities straight ADK and Adirondack Council.

  9. Onno says:

    There’s no question that Prop 5 is divisive, and that the letter above belies and belittles this fact. On the other hand, those who claim that the success of Prop 5 is a disaster, a betrayal, a fundamental breach of Article XIV are also guilty of overstatement, in my view. The Article is filled with “notwithstanding” clauses, where small compromises have been made. The entire Park has been built on conflict and compromise, on sales and exchanges, as well as the very slow growth of Preserve lands. The road up Whiteface is an obvious example of an earlier amendment, not one I’d have voted for, but evidence that these small compromises can occur without destroying the park or the basic thrust of Article XIV. The amendment coming out of Prop 5 to me is symbolic of such compromise, that the State and people of New York recognize both that the Preserve is fundamental (and continues to expand), and that the economy of towns in the Park also matters.

    • Laura says:

      Onno, There is a big difference between the road up Whiteface which is a public use & the mining of 200 acres of “Forever Wild” land by a private global conglomerate. The ADK Park lost its “Forever Wild” status forever on Tuesday & I do believe that qualifies as a disaster!

  10. Wren Hawk says:

    Very disheartening that Prop 5 passed. Kudos to the groups and individuals that tried to get out the argument for voting no. But the power of big industry, entrenched local government reps, and then the defection of several mainstream groups was too much for the public who does not quite understand the delicate nature of the Article 14 and the creeping power of industry.

    Anyway, the lands coming in will be a short term boon – access is an issue in the JMW. The job issue was a red herring. We’ll get to see the long-term damage soon enough.

    Besides the erosion of Art. 14 the other concerning trend is the Adirondack Council…they are sounding more and more like neo-conservationists these days – pursuing an economically convenient conservation not one based in science. I hope that is not true but… I kind of expect ADK to always make the pro recreation decision…I guess more looked better.

    I respect the folks working at these organizations but neither is getting my paltry donations this year. Won’t hurt them at all I’m sure.

    • Laura says:

      I also have been seeing the switch by the ADK Council over the last several years & stopped contributing to them. I thought possibly it had to do w/some legal decisions going against them that gave them cold feet but w/their enthusiastic support of & lobby for Prop 5 even though they themselves have stated that it was a “poorly worded” piece of legislation, it is obvious that they have refashioned themselves into something that isn’t quite clear to me yet! No, I will not be supporting them in the future!!!

  11. Davis says:

    The Council will not be on my list of organizations to consider for charitable contributions in the future, to say the least. Perhaps they’ve extracted something positive behind the scenes for their support of prop five. I still don’t view this as anything more than a very negative outcome. I would blame the long lingering poor economic situation and a 30 year slow demise of the American middle class. Desperate time can bring about unfortunate outcomes.

  12. The ethical failures and inherent double-speak are rampant in this joint statement from the Adirondack Council, the Adirondack Mountain Club and the NY League of Conservation Voters – all of whom jointly have established the worst, most damning precedent against “Forever” in “Forever Wild” in the history of Article XIV, Section 1 of the New York State Constitution.

    While setting the course for total destruction of the pristine, rich forested, designated Wilderness lands of Lot 8 in the Jay Mountain Wilderness that had been, heretofore, protected by and invested in by all New Yorkers for 6 generations, these organizations have sold out to a lucrative, corporate profiting land swap that disabuses stakeholders from the proper land acquisition process under the State’s Open Space Planning Law and process.

    Calling this a “strong vote” is a falsehood when nearly as many citizen’s across New York voted on principal against this damaging proposition. For their interests, it was a very weak vote indeed and demonstrated the highly controversial and dangerous nature of their purpose – ultimately and needlessly weakening “Forever Wild.”

    “Strengthening the Forest Preserve through collaboration”?”Enhancing wild forest character”? And the pollyanna about “vibrant communities”? We must strongly disagree that Proposition 5 achieved any of those outcomes.

    The Forest Preserve and the conservation legacy of “Forever Wild” is not strengthened, nor are our communities served to see real gain or “vibrancy”when ancient wilderness lands are sold out to the destruction by open pit mining for private, corporate gain. This sort of highly political “collaboration” against the very wildlife, forests, watershed values and wilderness of Lot 8 in the Jay Mountain Wilderness only sets a precedent that weakens “Forever Wild” and, if it continues, will only doom the Adirondack Park to endless, weak-willed compromise and more land and resource destruction.

    Well over a million New York citizens are standing with us — and that number is growing – to avoid such a politically compromised, minimalist fate and strike a path to achieve the highest goals of our wild Adirondack Park legacy and truly sustainable, thoughtful and integrated economic advancement that preserves, not destroys, our wilderness legacy in special, wild places like Lot 8, the Jay Range and across the Adirondack and Catskill Park.

    Dan Plumley, Partner, Adirondack Wild
    See: and

  13. John Henry says:

    We live with elections and votes. If you liked Bush winning you were mad Obama won and visa versa. If prop 5 had lost by one vote your majority spoke clearly and you would have little concern that the sky was falling on the 49.9 percent.

    I do not see outliner issues winning anytime soon in one direction or the other that is good thing….

    The sky’s not falling and the park is not about to become Disney land or a closed wilderness for the elite.

    If you lost your message did not connect, work on that not blaming the other side for their success.

    As for quitting groups if they do as you want on every issue you soon find yourself looking on from the outside alone.

    • Avon says:

      That’s why I am philosophically against deciding things by voting. On the most difficult issues, it’s a crapshoot who wins the deciding vote. Even our Constitution gets interpreted by a 5-4 vote way too often.

      We need to work more at building unity, working to satisfy the concerns of minority opinions rather than working merely to outvote them all, and earning each other’s trust. (This letter doesn’t help with that, one bit! Even if I agreed with Prop 5, it overstates what happened, to the point of being ridiculous.) Swing votes will just keep U-turning government policy all the time, and will give us all a nauseatingly wild ride. We’ll all benefit if we talk and listen more before taking positions.

      As long as we all love the Adirondacks, there’s plenty of hope for doing right by the North Country and its people.

  14. Henrietta Jordan says:

    Voting on Prop 5 required me to sort through some difficult issues. As a full-time resident of the Park, born here 61 years ago, and who needs to make a living, I care deeply about the Forest Preserve, the economic vitality of our communities and a sufficiency of jobs making it possible for young families to live in them. But in the end, the most significant factor in my decision was the plain language of Article 14, which others have quoted in their comments on this article.

    Prop 5 arguably offered us an opportunity to “trade up”–to exchange one tract of protected land containing minerals desired by a private corporation for another, larger one. Some have argued that the swap will result in a net gain for conservation; others disagree. But, regardless, if we accept the proposition that “forever wild” can be discarded when we are asked to “trade up” to serve an economic interest, might we also be asked someday to consider trading “down” –i.e. sacrificing conserved land with no offsetting conservation gain? Prop 5 states that the land swap will not create a precedent, that it is a novel event, implying that it will not be repeated. But every future quest to amend Article 14 to effect a land swap will be considered “novel,” and “without force of precedence,”–clearly, its proponents will not need to rely on precedent to convince the voters to support it.

    Over time, I fear, we will have obscured the bright line of “forever wild” with a hodgepodge of private-interest-serving land swaps and other concessions to “novel” situations until Article 14 is only an artifact of our ancestors’ aspirations, a quaint reminder of an era when the citizens of New York actually believed that they could protect a public treasure in perpetuity.

    I believe that Article 14 is in grave danger of dying the death of a thousand cuts and that Prop 5, while not life-threatening, inflicts one more wound. I think it is time for the conservation organizations who supported Prop 5 to develop long-term strategies for protecting and strengthening it, and to recommit to its plain language and the notion that “forever wild” truly means “forever.”

  15. Naj Wikoff says:

    As listed on their web site, NYCO’s goal is to build and sustain profitability for its shareholders. Their goal is not supporting the long term sustainable growth of the Adirondack region or the people who live here nor is it protecting the environment. The Adk Council through its efforts to create the Common Ground Alliance resulted in a vision of a sustainable future for the Adks. How does that square with their willingness to swap 200 acres of Forest preserve and go against the principles of Article XIV for potentially 100 jobs over the next 20 years? 20 years is nothing – it is not an example of sustainable development, unless of course every 20 years they are allowed to take another 200 acres of wilderness, which passage of prop 5 enhances.
    Further the horrific scars left by a mining operation to not go away as evident in Tahawas and Whitherbee.

    There are alternatives that result in sustainable jobs that do not require swapping our wilderness for short term gain, the Wild Center in Tupper Lake and the growth of organic farming which has attracted many young families to the Champlain Valley being a couple examples. The rift between our leading environmental agencies on core issues like protecting article XIV is very damaging as it weakens our collective voice, sends the wrong message to Albany and voters, and allows others to dismiss the voice of all who are concerned about protecting the environment as a long term asset for our region, state, nation, and planet.

    I think it is fine and good for the environmental agencies to have their differences and their specific tasks, but opposing views amongst us on Prop 5 to me is not a small matter and needs to addressed urgently. I encourage the interested parties to meet, discuss sans rancor differences, determine where we can agree, and develop a strategy for going forward.

  16. duane says:

    I for one want to thank the Adirondack Council, the Adirondack Mountain club and the League of Conservation Voters for their thoughtful and reasoned support for both proposition 4 and 5. When taken in context with the history of the Adirondack Park this was more than just a debate about the meaning of Article 14 of the NYS Constitution and the democratic process that allowed the voters to make that determination regarding these specific cases. It was also about idealism and reality and in the end and maybe most important it was about fairness, respect and proportionality.

    Most readers know about the contentious and sometimes hostile relationship between Adirondacker’s and “environmentalists”, especially since the APA Act. Yet despite this hostility, since the formation of the Regional Open Space Conservation Advisory Committee’s in 1990 and the Environmental Protection Fund (EPF) law a few years later which gave local governments veto power over open space projects the vast majority of proposed projects were given the green light by Adirondack communities. This has meant large increases in the Forest Preserve and even greater amounts of forest land acreage protected from development and now open for public recreation through conservation easements. Adirondackers do appreciate and love open space and wild lands. Our actions have proven this over the years. Adirondack Park supporters and New York State citizens owe us thanks for our support of open space.

    This brings us to fairness, respect and proportionality. Ideally many of us wish we would never have to lose any Forest Preserve land. However the reality is the Adirondack region is rural and historically like other rural areas under performs economically compared to more urban and suburban areas. Proposition 5 will all but guarantee another 10 or 15 years of employment for many Adirondackers and a steady income for their families and continued support of the local economy. I am sure many hearts were lifted by it’s passage, especially for those who will benefit from the economic security. Although I am not directly affected I empathize in your relief and happiness that it passed. So, considering Adirondacker’s support for open space protection over the years it is really fair to not consider the impact on jobs and economic well being of Adirondack communities? Considering the tens of thousands of acres Adirondackers have allowed to be added to the Forest Preserve is it respectful of Adirondackers to take such a ridged anti and somewhat fundamentalist position against an exchange of 200 acres of little used Forest Preserve? Especially since we will be adding at least five times the acreage in an area better suited for public recreation? Plus eventually we’ll get the 200 acres back into the Forest Preserve. As Adirondackers have been good citizens and responsible for protecting hundreds of thousands of forest land can it not be argued, in all fairness, that a mere 200 acres for a sound economic purpose is nothing more than a good faith thank you for their past stewardship in the Adirondacks?

    Which brings us to the future. Open Space Projects will still need local government approval under the EPF. If Adirondack needs are not approached with open minds and a willingness to understand our economic realities and make democratic compromises then local support for open space projects will diminish. The gap between “environmentalists” and Adirondackers has lessened over the last twenty years or so. Various entities have provided a basis for dialog and a better understanding of each others concerns and needs. Adirondacker’s support of open space is beginning to be recognized and respected. We have done far more to enhance and protect the Forest Preserve and Adirondack open space than diminish it.

    After this amendment debate one wonders if there is a divide forming between those willing to emphasize with Adirondackers and respectfully work to find solutions that benefit both the Forest Preserve and local communities and those with a more extreme fundamentalist approach to Forest Preserve protection that disregards or discounts the needs of Adirondack residents? One wonders if this approach in the long run will benefit the open space protection process in the Adirondacks or hinder it?

    So, once again I want to thank the Adirondack Council, the Adirondack Mountain Club and the League of Conservation Voters for their support of Propositions 4 and 5.

    • Bill Ingersoll says:

      The biggest, most damning myth about Prop 5 had to do with jobs. Prop 5 guaranteed not a single thing about NYCO’s ability to sustain its workforce.

      Prop 5 is employment-neutral, because no jobs were either created or lost on Election Day.

      There was an unspoken assumption that NYCO will continue to produce wollastonite at one consistent, plodding pace over the life of its mines; if it takes 10 years to exhaust one mine, it will take 20 years to exhaust two.

      But this thinking ignores the law of supply and demand. Prop 5 will increase NYCO’s mineral supply, but it will of course have no bearing on the demand for its products. Demand could spike, resulting in increased production and a shorter lifetime for the Lot 8 mine, or the discovery of an alternate source could glut the market and cause demand to plummet.

      Prop 5 carried no guarantees whatsoever that NYCO will be able to sustain its workforce for a longer period of time, because no one can guess what future demands for NYCO’s products will be, or what changes will occur to the global supply. Prop 5 will only enhance NYCO’s local supply and reduce overhead, nothing more. Claims that these two factors will lead to sustained employment are purely speculative.

    • Avon says:

      Duane’s arguments are why I voted for Prop 4.

      But Duane’s facts don’t hold up to support Prop 5:
      Even the mining company didn’t claim to “guarantee” jobs, or “jobs for many Adirondackers,” or jobs for 10-15 years. They claimed they’d mine nearby if not on this plot; they claimed they expect 200 workers (a small fraction of 1% of Adirondackers), and they actually claimed that they’d close the new mine very very soon (so it could be “reclaimed” from a wasteland pit into lovely old wilderness in as little as five years from now).

      If NYCO had overstated its case as much as Duane does, it would have exposed all that, and Prop 5 would probably have failed.

  17. Pete Nelson says:

    (also sent to the Council)

    Dear Adirondack Council:

    I write as a member and supporter of the Adirondack Council, in response to the open letter of November 6th that you, the Adirondack Mountain Club and the the New York League of Conservation Voters directed to readers of the Adirondack Almanack.

    I respect the amendment process and the voters have spoken. In the case of Proposition 4 I am pleased for the Park, the Raquette Lake area and the owners of the disputed lots. In the case of Prop 5, while I disagree with the result I join you in calling for all move forward together to support the best implementation and outcome for Lot 8, for the Jay Mountain Wilderness and for the Adirondack Park.

    That said, I am disappointed with your immediate response to the passage of these amendments. In my view your open letter to Almanack readers was very poorly done.

    First there was the obvious and propagandist (and tiresome, at this point) taking of every opportunity to couple the environment with vibrant communities – in a letter of less than 400 words you managed to work that in six times including three paragraphs in a row that said basically the same thing. We get the message. Your repeated use of that theme to the point where it becomes little more than a buzz-phrase, where everyone who reads it says “yep, there’s the Adirondack Council again with their political platitude about balance,” cheapens what is a vitally important and difficult thing to work towards. As someone who advocates for common ground all the time I don’t want to see that happen. If I want slogans or catch phrases I’ll watch TV or go to the shopping mall. I expect a higher standard of you.

    Nor do I appreciate that those who were principled defenders of the clear and unmistakable historical intent of “Forever Wild” in this debate, win or lose, would be lectured by a supposed defender of that lofty ideal who is mouthing platitudes for political leverage. For indeed despite the “inclusive” rhetoric of balance and “everybody wins,” this letter comes across as self-congratulatory, scolding, vaguely insulting and most definitely political.

    Let me be clear: I like the change in the Adirondack Council over the last twenty years. I think your more collaborative strategy is better than the more confrontational mien you had before. However you are not the only ones who believe in working together to improve the Adirondack region to better benefit the people who live here while at the same time defending and building its ecology and wild character. You just happen to be willing to compromise a Constitutional principle in order to do it when others are not. That’s not particularly noble and I wouldn’t write about it from on high if I were you.

    There will be much – too much – written about the divide between environmental organizations coming out of this amendment debate. I can think of little more detrimental to our mutual cause than that. We all need to work hard to try to try to mitigate that. Your open letter was not at all helpful to that cause.

    Language has power; I urge you to consider yours. If you must craft political language to meet your aims, make it good language, not this.


    Pete Nelson

    • Will Doolittle says:

      Yes, how annoying. The Adirondack Council talked about seeking common ground, then actually did something to reach common ground; as opposed to … well, you know.

      • bruce says:

        The letter sent to members by the Adirondack Council was even more obnoxious than the letter put out to the public. Below is my response.

        Folks, The letter from Willie Janeway celebrating the passage of Proposition 5 was off the mark and insulting in tone. No one I talk with would rather “fight and lose”. Nope. We’d rather “FIGHT and WIN”. In my view the Adirondack Council chose not to fight and the Adirondack Park lost. “Forever Wild” has now become “Forever Wild” only until some business interest finds a way to rape the land for its resources. Reclamation? Something that is “Forever Wild” can not be forever wild and reclaimed at the same time. It is a classic contradiction.
        The Adirondack Council needs to remember its mission to defend the integrity of the Adirondack Park. Regretfully, the Council’s position on Prop 5 and Mr. Janeway’s follow up letter causes me to wonder if the Council has come to view itself as an adjunct to the Chamber of Commerce. That is not the Adirondack Council I support and I hope that future actions show a clearer interest in defense of the Park and not be misdirected by pursuing a form of “collaboration” that results in capitulation. Celebrate your Tuesday “win” if you want, but the future of the Park and the legacy of the Adirondack Council have been jeopardized.


        Bruce R. Krug
        Constableville, N.Y. 13325

        • Laura says:

          Bruce, If I could add one thing to the above. The thing I found most disturbing about the letter sent out by just the ADK Council prior to the joint letter was the phrase “Voters also approved a poorly worded amendment that expands the Jay Mountain wilderness as part of a land swap with the NYCO mineral company”. What does that say about an organization when they would so vehemently support something that they find necessary to refer to as “poorly worded” in their congratulatory letter. Thank you ADK Council for reaffirming what those of us urging a no vote were saying right along. But why did you support this prop??? Someday the truth will be told!!!

  18. It’s unfortunate the Adirondack Council supported an amendment that essentially rewords Article XIV to Temporarily Wild.

  19. Wally says:

    I am proud, as a lifelong environmental activist and Adirondack Park/Forest Preserve enthusiast (and even a Sierra Club member!), to have supported Prop. 5 and to know that I personally changed at least two votes from “no” to “yes.” My conviction is only strengthened after reading some of the words above.

  20. Smitty says:

    I’m disappointed to see the level of venom on behalf the prop 5 opponents. The voters chose pragmatism over ideology. That’s something we could use more of these days. I support wilderness as much as anybody and I recognize a good deal when I see it. ADK and the Council saw things the same way and are just as committed to the Adirondacks as anyone. Time to heal the schism and work toward the common good of the Adirondack community. To repeat the quote, the perfect is sometimes the enemy of the good.

  21. ZYXW says:

    Words have meanings, and the term “pragmatism” doesn’t apply to those who supported Prop. 5. “Political” is the correct term for their decision. And, the term “forever” from Forever Wild, apparently has no meaning to these people. You can’t replace wilderness, while you can find many other sources in the world for wollastonite and 100 jobs or so (that are in no way guaranteed). How many times do we have to see large companies break their promises, despite contracts and agreements, before we realize that profit is their single-minded focus? And, where was the “compromise” in Prop. 5? One side got everything it wanted, the other side got nothing. A piece of wilderness will be “forever” destroyed.

  22. adkDreamer says:

    Looks like a corporate merger between the APA and the Adirondack Council is just over the horizon.

    And quite possibly many of the Adirondack Council supporters will give Mr. Janeway the stink-eye and defect to Adirondack Wild & Protect! Is Protect! still using that annoying exclamation point?

  23. Dale Jeffers says:


    Sorry you find the exclamation point annoying for some reason. It was meant to signify an imperative to Protect the Adirondacks, made even more important by recent events.

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