Wednesday, July 1, 2015

DEC Commissioner Joseph Martens Announces Resignation

Joseph MartensNYS Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joseph Martens will be stepping down in July according to an e-mail sent to staffers on Tuesday. Martens is expected to return to the Manhattan-based Open Space Institute, which he headed before moving to DEC, to work on national climate change issues.

He was appointed in 2011, after Gov. Andrew Cuomo was elected to his first term. Although popular with anti-fracking advocates for DEC’s ban on high-volume hydraulic fracturing (HVHF), Martens has received mixed reviews from advocates of protecting state lands in the Adirondacks from development.

The purchase of 69,000 acres of former Finch, Pryun lands from the Nature Conservancy occurred under Martens’ watch, but he also oversaw a major expansion of motorized access into the “Forever Wild” Adirondack Forest Preserve.

Martens was also a leader in the transfer of Forest Preserve lands in the Jay Mountain Wilderness to a mining company, despite language in the New York State Constitution that those lands “shall not be leased, sold or exchanged, or be taken by any corporation, public or private”.

DEC Executive Deputy Commissioner Marc Gerstman is expected to serve as Acting Commissioner after Martens leaves on July 23.

Photo of Joseph Martens speaking on Prospect Mountain in 2013 by John Warren.

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John Warren has been exploring the woods and waters of the Adirondacks for more than 45 years. After a career as a print journalist and documentary television producer he founded Adirondack Almanack in 2005 and co-founded Adirondack Atlas in 2015.

John's Adirondack Outdoors Conditions Report can be heard Friday mornings across the region on North Country Public Radio and on WSLP Lake Placid.

He is also on the staff of the New York State Writers Institute and edits The New York History Blog. He is the author of two books of regional history.

2 Responses

  1. M.P. Heller says:

    What do we know about Marc Gerstman? Wasn’t he with ADK Council at one point?

  2. ADKerDon says:

    Warren continues to publish the lie “Forever Wild” in his articles. He is real good at reading the rest about selling, leasing, etc. but cannot read ” All lands shall be keep as Wild Forest lands.” The removal of Martens is a time for celebration. His hatred for conservation and sportsmen has only contributed to the further destruction of the Adirondacks; destruction of wildlife habitat, destruction of our native brook trout, destruction of our rabbit and partridge populations. As this Cuomo, like his father, also hates conservation and preserving our natural resources, we can probably expect another anti-Conservation, anti-Wildlife jerk to take his place.