Help Shape the 2018 Adirondack Common Ground Alliance Annual Forum

Wednesday, May 9, 2018
By: Dana Mancini - Adirondack Council Advocacy and Outreach Assistant

The Common Ground Alliance (CGA) is looking for input on topics this year’s forum. Please tell them what subjects you believe are most important to discuss and what issues are a priority for resolution for the Adirondack Park at the July 2018 Adirondack Common Ground Alliance annual forum by completing this survey. The deadline is Friday, May 11.

What is the Common Ground Alliance (CGA)

In 2004, the Common Ground Alliance (CGA) was formed by Lani Ulrich, J.R. Risley and Brian Houseal. Brian was the Executive Director of the Adirondack Council, JR was a local elected official, and Lani was a leader of CAP-21 in Old Forge. The founders realized that there was a need within the Adirondack Park that wasn't being addressed. The Adirondack Park is six-million acres of both private and public land and is national landmark. There had been a long history of disagreements getting more attention than areas of agreement. No outlet existed for local government, economic development and environmental stakeholders to come together to discuss issues. In order to ensure that the Adirondack Park continues to thrive and that the values were being represented in Albany, the founders realized there needed to be a way to bring stakeholders from across the Park together to allow for discussion and collaboration, and to create a common ground agenda for the Adirondacks. The CGA is now a diverse network of dedicated people who focus on addressing issues that affect the whole Adirondack Park: its communities, institutions, people, and environment.

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What CGA has accomplished in the past

Many successes for the Adirondack Park have come from the Common Ground Alliance. One of the earliest successes of CGA was fighting off a proposal by the state to change the way taxes are paid to local governments on state Forest Preserve lands. Also, CGA members and others were instrumental in the Constitutional Amendment approved by the voters last year to create the Health and Safety Land Account. Stakeholders worked side-by-side to ensure this amendment addressed the needs of local governments and the communities while ensuring the Forever Wild protection of the Constitution was upheld.

Why your voice matters

Stakeholder input is key to the work and success of CGA, and each summer, the Common Ground Alliance Forum is held. It brings members of the CGA and others together to foster communication, seek collaborative solutions, set the stage for constructive action, develop shared visions and strategies, and communicate with one voice. In order to share the ideas discussed at the forums, the CGA developed a report entitled Blueprint for the Blue Line. This document, which is updated most years, outlines the opportunities for action and budget needs so policymakers can be informed of where agreement exists among stakeholders. The 2018 update for the document includes action items such as capitalizing on success, managing overuse, using science to preserve the natural environment and leverage economic development in communities, and budgetary needs for things such as combating terrestrial and aquatic invasive species threats.

The agenda for each of the CGA forums is influenced by feedback received from a survey the CGA distributes. Stakeholders have an opportunity to speak up about what issues in the Adirondack Park they think need to be addressed.

This summer, the CGA Forum is being held on July 19 in Lake Placid, and input for the agenda is needed.

Some of the topics listed in this year’s survey to consider are:

  • Environmental and ecological changes to the Adirondacks from climate change.
  • Expanding the conversations beyond the Blue Line: Learning from and partnering with adjacent regions.
  • Managing for Success Part 2: Opportunities and challenges in managing the growing use in High Peaks and other backcountry areas.
  • Review previous forum recommendations, actions taken and next steps to prioritize.
  • Working forests and agriculture: Role of private lands and natural resource base in the future economics and stewardship of the park. The responsibility of private landowners, government, investment and community. Policy changes, reforms, smart growth programs and incentives for landowners and communities.

We encourage you to fill out the survey and make your voice heard at this year’s Common Ground Alliance Forum. The deadline in Friday, May 11.

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Dana is our Advocacy and Outreach Assistant working in the Council’s Albany office, and assists with outreach and government relations efforts. She began working with the Council in December of 2015 as our Clarence Petty Intern and then served as our Canvassing Coordinator during the summer of 2016. She is a 2015 graduate of the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry and is currently a graduate student at Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy where she is pursuing a Master of Public Administration. In her spare time, Dana enjoys traveling, hiking and spending time with her family.

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