Millions Are Ready For Wilderness

By Emily Liebelt, Clarence Petty Intern
September 26, 2016

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The Adirondack Council, on behalf of the BeWildNY Coalition, just released a video advertising campaign urging New York’s Governor Andrew Cuomo to protect over 30,000 acres of new public land as motor-free Wilderness. The video, narrated by acclaimed actress and environmentalist Sigourney Weaver, displays the magnificence of the recently purchased Boreas Ponds tract of public land. Found within the biodiverse Boreas Ponds region are pristine forest, ponds, and rivers, threatened fisheries, moose, bobcat, loons, and the endangered Bicknell’s thrush.

See the video here!

Adding the Boreas Ponds to our existing public Wilderness would create a 280,000 acre contiguous tract of “forever wild” land, connecting the High Peaks Wilderness to the Dix Mountain Wilderness. The Adirondack Council’s Executive Director, Willie Janeway sees this addition to Wilderness as a benefit to both the environment and the culture and community of the Adirondacks. “Creating new Wilderness would be a powerful attraction to a national tourism audience,” Janeway explained.  “Wilderness is very rare, especially in the Northeast. Outdoor enthusiasts travel thousands of miles to find the natural beauty, peace and solitude that only Wilderness can provide.” Surrounding communities will benefit as gateways and hosts to an exciting new venture, creating opportunities for new businesses and new jobs, he said. Visitors will need food, lodging, Public lands are protected as “forever wild” by the New York State Constitution.

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Bicknell's Thrush

If the Boreas Ponds are protected as Wilderness, still less than 50 percent of the Adirondack Park’s public land will be managed as motor-free. These portions of Wilderness are a rarity in the world we live in today. They are some of the last remaining places where the mechanical noise and pollution of human society is absent, and where true solitude and nature in its purest state can be found. “There are only two places with significant wilderness acreage in all of the Eastern United States,” Janeway noted. “They are the Florida Everglades and the 21 Wilderness areas of the Adirondack Park. The Adirondack Wilderness System remains incomplete.” The addition of the Boreas Ponds would bring it a big step closer to completion.

Now is the time for friends and supporters of the Adirondacks and Wilderness everywhere to take action. Governor Cuomo’s Adirondack Park Agency is preparing to announce a series of public hearings on wilderness (motor-free) and non-Wilderness (with motorized- and mechanized-use options) classification alternatives for the Boreas Ponds and surrounding lands and waters recently acquired by the state. The BeWildNY coalition is seeking Wilderness protection for the most sensitive waters, wildlife habitat and forests.

This is where we need your help. The Governor needs to hear from thousands of people like you who want to protect our Adirondack legacy and support Wilderness. This is a once in a life-time opportunity to expand the Adirondack High Peaks Wilderness!

Please write Governor Cuomo by October 15.

Also, please sign the petition today!

Protect our Adirondack Legacy – Stand up for Wilderness!


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Emily Liebelt is the current Clarence Petty Intern working in the Council’s Elizabethtown office with a special focus on climate change communications. Emily is a recent graduate of St. Lawrence University, where she received a BA in Anthropology with a minor in English. This summer, Emily will examine public attitudes toward climate change, understand the impacts on local communities and help communicate climate policy, actions and programs. As someone who grew up in the park, Emily has an enthusiasm for the outdoors and an appreciation for local culture. During her spare time Emily enjoys playing the bassoon, camping, skiing, and gardening.

The Council’s internship program seeks to carry on the legacy of beloved Adirondack conservation activist Clarence Petty (1904-2009) by training and inspiring the next generation of conservation leaders


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