With strong partner organizations, collaboration with elected/appointed government officials and citizen participation, the Council successfully advocates for policies and funding that benefit the environment and communities of the Adirondack Park.

2017-2018 highlights and progress toward Council 2014-2020 strategic objectives
achieved with partners, grassroots advocacy and member support.

2017-2018 Accomplishments

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Wilderness: Ensuring the wild character and ecological integrity of the Adirondack Park and Forest Preserve.

  • More wilderness: Led the successful Be Wild New York campaign with a coalition of regional and national conservation organizations to secure the expansion of the Adirondack High Peaks Wilderness to create 275,000 acres of contiguous wilderness, including the Boreas Ponds – an historic victory;
  • Managing overuse: Secured a commitment by the State and partners to work to address overuse and stewardship needs in the High Peaks. Initial steps included organization of a stakeholder summit with conservation leaders from the region and from places in Maine and New Hampshire with similar issues; and,
  • Fewer junk oil trains: Appealed to Warren Buffett, and he agreed to forever remove used rail cars being stored in the heart of the Adirondacks by Berkshire Hathaway subsidiaries; worked with NYS to initiate legal actions to prevent misuse of the rail line and to pursue appropriate commercial use or conversion to a recreational use.

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Vibrant Communities: Fostering a more resilient, sustainable Adirondack Park with vibrant communities.

  • New community clean water funding: Secured $40+ million in grants over 2+ years from continued rollout of $2.5 billion of State funding for clean water infrastructure improvement grants for local communities; and,
  • More community health and safety projects: Won November 2017 voter approval of a New York State Constitutional Amendment to create a health and safety land account for local roads allowing local municipalities to straighten curves and install drainage on routes that cross the “forever wild” Forest Preserve. It also allows the installation of telecommunications lines and other utilities, infrastructure, and bike paths within or near the roadways.

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Water & Air: Fighting for clean water and clean air; combating invasive species and climate change.

  • More clean water funding: Helped secure $75 million for septic system repair and replacement (statewide);
  • Acid Rain monitoring sustained: Secured funding for five additional years of long-term monitoring of acid rain.
  • Stopped (most) EPA cuts: Worked with the New York State Congressional delegation in Washington, DC to halt the Trump administration’s plan to cut the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s budget by 31 percent. The cuts endangered programs that monitor and control acid rain, smog, fine particle pollution and climate change, including the Adirondack Lakes Survey Corporation;
  • Court victory fighting the EPA: Won a case in court in support of a petition filed by Maryland, calling on the EPA in early May to order Midwest power plants to turn on installed pollution control devices, but the legal fight continues; and,
  • Opposing federal clean air rollbacks: Worked with the New York State Attorney General and other state officials to oppose the Trump administration plan to repeal the Clean Power Plan.

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Farms and Forests: Preserving open space and supporting working forests and farms.

  • Expanded low carbon farms micro-grants: Provided $27,000 in Cool Farms/Healthy Park sustainability micro-grants supporting energy-efficiency and the low-carbon economy to local farms and small businesses;
  • Advanced sustainable forestry: The Council Board adopted policies to support sustainable forestry within the Adirondacks, to try and address issues including clearcutting, biomass, forest health, invasive species, sustainable forestry certifications, aesthetic impacts, and economic development; and,
  • Promoted conservation design: Worked with Assembly Environmental Conservation Committee Chair Steve Englebright to advance conservation design mandatory clustering legislation.

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Leadership and Government: Leading, expanding and diversifying the Park’s constituency.

  • Expanded constituency for the Adirondacks: Membership is up 19 percent over two years (to 19,000). 127 percent increase (to over 76,000) in total engaged constituency; updated Council communications materials; with partners, expanded the Adirondack Diversity Initiative.
  • Protected Article XIV: Voters defeated a proposed Constitutional Convention that could have weakened Article XIV.
  • Launched Adirondack Vision: New York Natural Heritage digitized the Vision 2020 series; Wildlife Conservation Society (Adirondack Program) compiled a baseline conditions/resiliency report; New York State embraced best management practices in the updated (from 1999) High Peaks Unit Management Plan; hired a Vision Project Director.

Thank you to all Adirondack Council members, donors, volunteers, partners and friends for being a part of the team that is defending the East’s greatest wilderness and showing the world how people and nature can thrive together.

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