5 Things You Need to Know | December 2022 ADK Conservation News

By Justin Levine - Adirondack Council Communications Associate
Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2023

Adirondack Conservation News is a collection of the most current events taking place in New York’s Adirondack Park, a unique national treasure and legacy we inherited over 100 years ago that we must protect for future generations. Adirondack Conservation News highlights threats and opportunities concerning the Park’s ecological integrity, wild character, and community vibrancy.

People speak at Moriah Shock facility

ADK leaders urge state to reuse Moriah Shock Correctional Facility set to close Dec. 31
The Adirondack Council, along with several local and state elected officials and other environmental groups, called for the state to keep maintaining the former prison complex in Moriah. The state had slated to stop upkeep on the facility, which closed in 2021. While particular uses for the facility are up for debate, a wide coalition believes the facility can be used for training, housing, and other uses rather than reverting to constitutionally protected lands that would need a constitutional amendment to develop into something new.

New York state capitol
What’s on the agenda for the 2023 legislative session in New York?
The New York State Legislative Session begins in just a few weeks, and while there is obviously a lot for lawmakers to work on - from housing to bail reform - climate and the environment are also hot agenda items. With the recent signing of 30 by 30 legislation, a larger than ever Environmental Protection Fund, and movement on renewable energy, the 2023 legislative session could have big impacts on the state of New York’s environment.


Aaron Mair at COP27

ON THE SCENE: Carrying the voice of the Adirondacks across the globe
Near the end of 2022, the Adirondack Council went global with its message that the Adirondack Park does and will continue to play an integral role in battling climate change not just for New Yorkers, but for the global community as well. Forever Adirondacks Campaign Director Aaron Mair was in Egypt for the UN’s COP 27 summit, and Deputy Director Rocci Aguirre and Director of Government Relations traveled to Puerto Rico to highlight the importance of the Adirondack Park to lawmakers who may not be familiar with the Upstate region.


Forest rangers

The largest class of NY Forest Rangers graduated. Diversity is a work in progress
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation graduated its largest class of new forest rangers in early December, and while the increase in rangers is great, the state still needs to expand and further diversify the ranger force. As state lands, particularly in the Adirondacks and Catskills, face more use and increased threats from a changing environment, forest rangers will continue to be vital in protecting the wilderness, wildlife, and people that visit the Forest Preserve.


Zoe Smith
Zoë Smith promoted to director of Adirondack Watershed Institute
Zoe Smith was named as the director of Paul Smith’s College’s Adirondack Watershed Institute after Dan Kelting, who had been at the helm of AWI for years, was recently tapped to be the college’s interim president. Smith, who has been AWI’s deputy director for four years, is also a board member of the state Adirondack Park Agency. Prior to joining AWI, Smith worked for the Wildlife Conservation Society and the Adirondack Mountain Club.


Justin Levine

Justin Levine joined the Council staff in 2021 as the Communications and Outreach Assistant. He previously worked as a regional marketing manager for the Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism and was an award-winning journalist and photographer for the Adirondack Daily Enterprise and Lake Placid News. Since graduating from Paul Smith’s College in 2004, Justin has worked in the environmental field in various roles in both the Adirondacks and Florida. When not working, Justin loves spending time with his family, running, and doing all the outdoor things the Park has to offer.

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