A new report by Adirondack Wild: Friends of the Forest Preserve concludes that “New York’s Adirondack Park faces serious threats due to the failure by State agencies in recent years to protect and preserve the Park’s wild forest character and natural resources. ”
The report, The Adirondack Park at a Crossroad: A Road Map for Action [pdf], argues that APA and DEC are failing to fulfill their legal obligations to protect and preserve the Adirondack Park. The report outlines what the organization considers “a pattern of state agencies straying from their historical mission of science-based conservation and resource protection.”
“The Adirondack Park is a unique combination of public and private wildlands that are protected by State law. However, those protections are meaningless when NYS APA and DEC fail to do their job,” Adirondack Wild’s Acting Chair Christopher Amato said in an announcement to the press. “The Adirondack Park is supposed to receive the highest level of protection, but our report shows that development projects in the Park are now receiving less environmental review than similar projects in other parts of the state. Equally disturbing is the report’s finding that ecologically sensitive public lands are being opened to motorized uses that are inconsistent with resource protection and the wild forest character of the Park.”
“Our critique also demonstrates that these agencies are allowing increasingly destructive development to proceed with little or no environmental baseline data, only cursory environmental review, and little in the way of avoidance or mitigation of negative impacts,” Amato’s statement said.
The report, which is available on the Adirondack Wild website, includes a series of policy recommendations, including:
- Reforms to the way amendments of “Forever wild” clause of the NYS Constitution are proposed and considered;
- Reforms to the way residential subdivision development in the Park is planned and designed; and
- New programs of scientifically-based analysis of trends in the Park, performance standards, and assessment of cumulative impacts.
Part 2 of the report is expected to be issued later this year and focus on the local communities and landowners.
Artwork by David Kiphuth provided by Adirondack Wild: Friends of the Forest Preserve.