Posts Tagged ‘forever wild’

Wednesday, April 17, 2024

What’s Happening With The 2013 NYCO Amendment?

In November 2013, New York State voters narrowly approved an amendment to the Forever Wild clause of the New York State Constitution granting a private company, NYCO Minerals, Inc. (NYCO), permission to conduct mineral exploration in a 200-acre portion of the Jay Mountain Wilderness Area in the Adirondack Forest Preserve.

The NYCO amendment was opposed by Protect the Adirondacks and many others because it granted, for the first time, a private company the ability to exploit public Forest Preserve lands for profit and because the amendment completely undermined the classification of the affected lands as Wilderness, which is the most protective Forest Preserve classification established in the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan. PROTECT also opposed the amendment because it had no sunset provision, meaning that the mineral exploration authorization was granted to NYCO in perpetuity.

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Tuesday, January 16, 2024

In Tribute to Charlie Morrison

Charlie Morrison

When it comes to the Adirondacks and the “forever wild” provision of our state constitution, a number of us just lost a great, very determined, and very influential teacher in that field of green. Charles C. “Charlie” Morrison died this week in his mid-90s. After a long career as a natural resource planner with the federal Bureau of Outdoor Recreation and, starting in 1967 with NYS Conservation Department and then in 1970 the Department of Environmental Conservation, Charlie’s retirement years were devoted to the not-for-profit world. These included (but by no means were limited to) board and committee service, all voluntary, with the Sierra Club Atlantic Chapter, the Club’s Adirondack group, the Environmental Planning Lobby, now Environmental Advocates of NY, the Association for the Protection of the Adirondacks, Protect the Adirondacks, and Adirondack Wild: Friends of the Forest Preserve.

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Wednesday, January 3, 2024

Beavers Changed His Life Forever

Paul Schaefer presents the beaver gavel to Governor Mario M. Cuomo

Paul Schaefer once told me that his mentor, “Forever Wild” advocate and organizer John Apperson, would occasionally dress in fur to be more noticeable when, during lobbying of the state legislature, Apperson opposed threats to Lake George, the Forest Preserve and its constitutional protection. Schaefer learned from Apperson how and when to be most noticed and effective.

 

For example, as an elder in the wilderness movement Schaefer once stood up (or down) Governor Mario Cuomo. The governor had just signed the Environmental Protection Fund legislation in the summer of 1993. The setting was Split Rock Farm above Lake Champlain. The dignitaries had all spoken and Cuomo was the last to speak. Completing his speech, Cuomo ( like the rest of us in attendance) was completely taken aback when Paul Schaefer rose and moved to the podium. Cuomo was forced to sit in Schaefer’s now unoccupied chair to listen to what Paul had to say. However congratulatory (of the governor) his remarks, Schaefer had the last word.

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Tuesday, September 28, 2021

David Gibson to give Paul Schaefer talk at Union College

Paul Schaefer Adirondack Conservation – Paul Schaefer and Links in a Long, Historic Chain with David Gibson

September 30, 2021
(Rain Date October 7, 2021)
5:00 p.m.

Kelly Adirondack Center Amphitheater
897 St. David’s Lane, Niskayuna

This event is free and open to the public.

As the years go by, let us never forget that Paul Schaefer and his allies during the 20th century saved the Forest Preserve and the integrity of our 19th century ‘forever wild’ constitution for current generations. His victories over those who would exploit the Forest Preserve were never assured. This program will review how Schaefer and allies did it, what we owe them today, and how we try to extend their legacy in the 21st century.

Paul Schaefer (right) with his mentor John S. Apperson in the Adirondacks
photo by Howard Zahniser


Friday, September 24, 2021

Expanding the Reach of Forever Wild

hemlock grove

Hemlock grove of old trees, Wilcox Lake Wild Forest

As my friend and I hiked underneath groves of large eastern hemlock trees in the part of the Adirondack Forest Preserve called Wilcox Lake Wild Forest we thought about what this forest is and the vast ecological system – the community of life – that the forest and we are are interdependent parts of.

What towered above us, hemlocks well over a century in age, are dwarfed in scope by the vaster yet unseen root and fungal synapses and microbiota that sustain this wild forest in the soil beneath our feet.

The watershed feeding Tenant Creek flowing downslope of the trail we were on is one of thousands upon thousands of watersheds, large and smaller, whose ability to store and slowly release water were once under threat by deforestation and which motivated passage in 1894 of New York’s “forever wild” provision in its State Constitution, now encompassing 3 million acres in both Adirondack and Catskill Parks. Wilcox Lake Wild Forest, more than 100,000 acres in size, is part of that forever wild system.

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Tuesday, August 3, 2021

“Staff should rely on this policy.” Really ?

essex chain stakeholders

Forest Preserve stakeholders meet with DEC staff to discuss management alternatives, Essex Chain Lakes, 2012. Photo by Dave Gibson

The NYS Court of Appeals ruled on May 4 of this year in favor of plaintiff Protect the Adirondacks and against the State of New York, deciding that Snowmobile Community Connector trails as planned, permitted, and constructed by the Department of Environmental Conservation during the first term of Governor Andrew Cuomo violated the “forever wild” clause, Section 1 of Article 14, NYS Constitution.

It took the DEC until June 30 to formally respond to the Court’s ruling, and that formal response came in the form of an internal DEC memorandum issued by DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos and handed out at a recent meeting of the DEC’s Forest Preserve Advisory Committee on which I serve as a representative of Adirondack Wild: Friends of the Forest Preserve.

In his first paragraph, Commissioner Seggos wrote that:

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Wednesday, June 16, 2021

The End of Arbitrary Powers to Dam Adirondack Rivers

indian river

The State Legislature has just adjourned, but on a good many nights this past month I grew sleepy watching legislative TV or legislative proceedings on the internet. For the non-debate pieces of legislation, meaning when the legislative majority is not allowing minority debate on bills, the viewer is treated to the following exchanges in a monotone, one after the other:  The speaker or his representative, or the Senate president or her representative: “The clerk will read the bill.” The clerk: “a bill to” …whatever it does. The speaker or his representative: “The clerk will read the final section.” The clerk: “this act shall take effect immediately.” The speaker, president or their representative: “The vote: 63 in favor. The bill is passed.” All of that has taken less than ten seconds. Next.

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Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Court hears tree-cutting lawsuit

court screenshotOne of the stories I wrote for this past issue of Adirondack Explorer was about a “forever wild” case before the state Court of Appeals brought by Protect the Adirondacks against the state Department of Environmental Conservation. In case you missed it, last week the court heard oral arguments from both sides, which I wrote about here.

If you click on that link above, too, we embedded the YouTube clip of the hearing so you can watch it for yourself. No matter what side you might take, it is interesting to watch the judges ask so many good questions. This whole case can get very abstract when you’re looking at the question of what is a constitutionally protected tree. But I thought the judges also got to some very specific questions about constitutional amendments and work that has been impacted thus far from this litigation.

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Saturday, July 4, 2020

Weekend read: Constitutional amendments

Happy Independence Day!

Article 14, Section 1 — the “Forever Wild” clause of New York’s constitution — has been amended 16 times since 1938, and talks have been under way about three new amendments that could be put before voters.

In the Almanack, Peter Bauer, Executive Director of Protect the Adirondacks, has been working on a five-part series about these proposed amendments.

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Thursday, July 2, 2020

Cathead Mountain Amendment Would be Complicated and Difficult

This is the fourth article in a series that looks at three possible NYS constitutional amendments to Article 14, Section 1 (the “Forever Wild” clause) that are being debated in 2020. This article looks at the issue of utilizing Forest Preserve lands around Cathead Mountain, in the south edge of the Silver Lake Wilderness area, to locate a new emergency communications tower, similar to such towers on Blue Mountain and East Mountain.

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Monday, June 29, 2020

Amendment needed to transfer state ownership of Camp Gabriels

Protect the Adirondacks has reviewed the options for the future of the Camp Gabriels complex, a former state prison in the Town of Brighton in Franklin County in the northern Adirondack Park. The site is located between Saranac Lake and Paul Smith’s just outside of Gabriels. The land that the prison complex was built upon is Forest Preserve, protected under NYS Constitution Article 14, Section 1. The prison complex was part of a state purchase in 1982 of over 224 acres. This facility has been dormant since 2009 when the state closed the prison camp.

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Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Louis Marshall and Forever Wild

Paul Schaefer

Thirty-three years ago, that champion of the Adirondack wilderness, Paul Schaefer, then aged 78, first introduced me to his Adirondack library. Among the first volumes he brought to my attention – because he valued it and had read it repeatedly since he was a younger man – was the transcript of the 1894 New York State Constitutional Convention in Albany – the one that, after weeks of debate, by vote of 122-0 approved the “forever wild” provision protective of the Adirondack and Catskill Forest Preserve.

 

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