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5 Things You Need to Know | September 2020 ADK Conservation News

By: Casey Marvell - Adirondack Council Government Relations Analyst
Thursday, September 24, 2020

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 aims to highlight both threats and opportunities concerning the Park’s ecological integrity, wild character, and community vibrancy.

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’Landscape of Hope’ Theme of Council’s Annual State of the Park Report

This month, the Adirondack Council released its 2020-2021 State of the Park report, which grades 105 government actions taken in the past year. In a thumbs up or thumbs down format, the report provides a straightforward way to stay up to date on important decisions that shape the Adirondack Park. The report reflects on an unprecedented year full of societal challenges and details how the Adirondacks are an important refuge for physical, mental, and spiritual health. Looking forward, the State of the Park lists the preservation of the Whitney Estate, the reauthorization of a $3-billion Bond Act for clean water and climate change, and the protection of Adirondack Wilderness from overuse as the Council’s top priorities.

 

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Groups Urge Gov. to Sign Road Salt Reduction Bill

The Adirondack Council and a coalition of state-wide and Adirondack environmental organizations are calling on Governor Cuomo to sign into law legislation that would create an Adirondack Road Salt Reduction Task Force and Pilot Program. This comes amidst numerous concerns from water scientists and local residents that excessive application of road salt on state roadways has led to drinking water becoming polluted and dangerous to consume. The legislation has passed the state Assembly and Senate and needs only the Governor’s signature to become law. If signed into law, the task force would bring together experts to study and recommend safe, efficient, and cost-effective measures to maintain safe roadways while reducing road salt pollution across the Adirondacks. Those interested in helping prevent road salt pollution can do so here.

 

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Hikers Surge, ADK Groups Talk of Permit System to Limit Crowds

As uncontrolled overuse in the Adirondacks continues to erode sensitive wildlands, strain communities, and degrade visitors’ experiences, discussion continues on how to best implement visitor capacity limits. Paired with staffing, infrastructure, and education, permits and reservations are a key part of a comprehensive plan to manage overuse. With the increasing rate of use in Adirondack Wilderness areas, advocates assert that permits or reservations not only could be a useful way to slow the ecological damage but could be the most effective way to provide visitors crucial educational materials prior to arriving. Stakeholders are hoping to start a pilot program that will inform how to equitably implement a permit or reservation system at certain times and places for the most overused areas of the High Peaks.

 

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Leave No Trace: More investment is Needed in the High Peaks

Last month, the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics (LNT) released a report calling on New York State to significantly increase its investment in managing overuse in the Adirondacks. After visiting the Park last year, LNT prepared a report that provides Park managers with strategies to control crowds and preserve natural resources. LNT lists 50 recommendations, including providing adequate staffing for park management, investing in better infrastructure such as visitor centers and trails, and enforcing visitor capacity limits. The Adirondack Council concurs with the LNT recommendations and continues to call upon the state Department of Environmental Conservation to implement a comprehensive plan for the High Peaks that is science-driven, supports local communities, and includes proper investment based on best management practices.

 

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In White Adirondacks, Racism May be Toughest Hill to Climb

Adirondack Diversity Initiative (ADI) Director, Nicole Hylton-Patterson made national headlines as she continues to lead the ADI effort to make the Adirondacks a more welcoming and diverse region for all who live and visit the Park. Since starting last year, Hylton-Patterson has led the way hosting virtual anti-racism educational forms, mobilizing volunteers to be anti-racist allies, and meeting with local leaders. Hylton-Patterson continues the work of ADI despite a tumultuous year including the nation-wide protests against racial injustice as well as an incident in Saranac Lake that involved targeting Hylton-Patterson with racist graffiti. Advocates view this past year as even more reason to support and expand the work of ADI and look forward to the continued progress that is being made across the Adirondacks.

 

Uploaded Image: /vs-uploads/staff-headshots/Casey_Marvel2.jpgCasey Marvel is the Government Relations Analyst in the Council’s Albany office. He assists the government relations and communication teams by tracking legislation, researching issues, and advocating for the Adirondacks. A native of Niskayuna, New York, Casey recently completed his Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from the University of Albany and is currently pursuing his Master’s in Political Science. Casey has always been intrigued and passionate about the Adirondacks, having visited the Park throughout his life, from fishing at Paradox Lake, to recently pursuing the 46 High Peaks.

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