Monday, November 20, 2023

Groups call for forest preserve funding

Potash Mountain in Lake Luzerne.

A widening number of organizations are banding together for funding requests for the Adirondack and Catskill Parks forest preserve. In a letter to Gov. Kathy Hochul, 41 groups called for a $10 million allocation for forest preserve stewardship in the 2024-2025 state budget’s Environmental Protection Fund. Last year’s budget allocated $8 million.

The groups also call for additional investment in affordable housing and cellular and broadband infrastructure. They also hope Hochul will maintain funding for forest preserve visitor centers, support additional research and monitoring programs, develop an accessibility policy for state lands, clear a backlog of conserved land under agreement for public acquisition and add additional staff supporting forest preserve-related state agencies.

The Nov. 6 letter was announced in an Adirondack Mountain Club press release on Monday. The signatories vary from environmental organizations such as Adirondack Wilderness Advocates, to recreational organizations such as the Adirondack 46ers, to municipalities such as the Town of Hunter, to community organizations such as the Adirondack North Country Gender Alliance.

Read the full letter here:

We will be keeping track of the upcoming state budget, which is due on April 1.



In December, Hochul signed legislation that created a statewide goal of preserving 30% of New York’s lands and waters by 2030. Protect the Adirondacks, a nonprofit environmental advocacy group, released a report last week assessing what types of lands the state has protected so far, and how more than 3 million acres are needed to meet the 2030 goal.

Protect the Adirondacks’s assessment includes all 62 New York counties. It appears to have accomplished some of the work the state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is charged with in the legislation—detailing what lands are already conserved—in a report due July 1.

The organization also provides recommendations for achieving the 2030 target. They include encouraging the Hochul administration to acquire 1 million acres of state lands, prioritizing the legislation in the state’s open space conservation plan and the state’s Climate Action Plan, encouraging land trusts to purchase over 190,000 acres, streamlining the state’s acquisition process and adding lands to the Adirondack Park forest preserve.

You can read the full assessment here:


In other news, Hochul signed legislation renaming a Chesterfield bridge after a fallen marine service member. The bridge on state Route 22 crossing over the Adirondack Northway is now named to the Lance Cpl. Scott Lee Schultz Memorial Bridge. Schultz died on Oct. 23, 1983 in a bombing of the U.S. Marine Barracks in Beirut, Lebanon, according to a news release. He was 19.

State Sen. Dan Stec, R-Queensbury, and state Assemblyman Matthew Simpson, R-Horicon, sponsored the bill. “While this dedication is but a small gesture relative to all he gave, his name and memory will rightfully be preserved for the years and decades to come,” Simpson said.


Adirondack Park Agency:

The Adirondack Park Agency (APA) [met] for its monthly meeting on Nov. 16. The APA board will consider approving modifications to the Carver Sand & Gravel mine in Fulton County. The board will also consider allowing herbicide treatment of invasive Eurasian watermilfoil in Paradox Lake in Essex County.

The full agenda is available here:


View all APA public comment and hearing opportunities at: The latest project is below.


Environmental Notice Bulletin:

Last week’s state Department of Environmental Conservation’s environmental notice bulletin had the following out for public comment.

  • The Boquet Valley Central School District Board of Education has accepted a draft environmental impact statement on a new kindergarten through 12th grade campus and bus garage. Comments on the draft statement will be accepted until Nov. 28. The draft statement and other records can be viewed at For more information, contact Scott B. Allen, 12 City Hall Place, Plattsburgh, NY 12901, (518) 561-1598 or email
  • The Town of Champlain is proposing to dig a 600-foot drainage ditch and breach a beaver dame to reduce flooding on Tallman Road. Comments are due by Nov. 24. For more information and to submit comments, contact Kathryn B. Sweet, NYSDEC Region 5 Headquarters, 1115 St Rte 86, Ray Brook, NY 12977 or email



On Saturday [Nov. 11], David and I got out for a quick hike up Potash Mountain in Lake Luzerne. I was surprised by how beautiful this southern Adirondack peak was. The first mile or so has very little elevation gain and a couple of small stream crossings that are lovely in the afternoon sunlight. The hike switches from Harris Land Preserve lands to forest preserve with just under a mile to the summit. That’s when the elevation really starts and there are a few rocky scrambles (scrambles if you have short legs like me). There’s a sign at this change in land ownership that warns you of “both easy and challenging sections with numerous switchbacks. Please proceed with care, take your time, and enjoy that ‘mountain feeling.’”

David and I enjoyed contemplating on what “mountain feeling” meant. Was it the burning in our legs or our hearts skipping beats when we slipped on the leaf-covered forest floor? Maybe it was the feeling of cold wind at the mountain overlook, or the feeling of accomplishment at finding the summit sign. I think it’s a little of all those things, combined with that moment of wonder when you make it to your destination.

Thanks for reading!


Photo at top: Potash Mountain in Lake Luzerne. Photo by Gwendolyn Craig.

This first appeared in Gwen’s weekly “Adirondack Report” newsletter. Click here to sign up.

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Gwen is the environmental policy reporter for Adirondack Explorer.

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