Press Releases

Adirondack Council Praises Governor's Vision for "Restore Mother Nature Bond Act" & Wilderness Preservation

Proposal Would Seek Voter Approval for $3 Billion Plan for Forests, Streams & Wetlands

ALBANY, N.Y. -- The Adirondack Council today praised Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s bold agenda and announcement that he would tackle overuse of state-owned wilderness lands in parts of the Adirondack and Catskill Parks, and that he would seek voter approval for a $3-billion bond act to restore the health and vitality of fisheries, forests, lakes, streams and wetlands across the state. 

The Council also praised the Governor’s plan to provide $9.4 million in state grants to assist the Adirondack Village of Lake George to rebuild its aging sewage treatment plant, which is expected to cost $25 million, and several other initiatives.

“We applaud the Governor for recognizing the need to address overuse, preserve and provide access to popular wilderness trails and destinations in the Adirondack Park, and build much-needed 21st Century infrastructure,” said William C. Janeway, Executive Director of the Adirondack Council. “He has appointed a task force to prepare a comprehensive response. His plan includes new trail crews, making trails more durable, public education and new ‘visitor flow solutions,’ for ‘a more enjoyable, less congested user experience.’ He also said he would do the same to protect the Catskill Forest Preserve too. We are pleased to see that he recognizes that an investment in wilderness preservation is an investment in the local economy.”

Janeway said the bond act proposal was also very encouraging. 

“The Governor’s proposed bond act is part of an ambitious agenda to address climate change and would help to address the long list of lakes and ponds where harmful algal blooms have occurred and are likely to occur in the near future,” said Janeway. “This will provide a significant amount of money to invest in storm water runoff prevention, stream restoration, fisheries restoration, wetland protection and forest preservation. 

Janeway said it was important for Governor Cuomo to supplement the Environmental Protection Fund, which provides $300 million annually for environmental capital projects, but has not increased since Fiscal Year 2016-17.

“We are also thrilled to see the Governor closing the gap between what it will cost to rebuild Lake George’s wastewater treatment system and what the 890 citizens of Lake George can afford,” Janeway said. “The lake is an important part of the Lake Champlain watershed and serves as a gateway to the Park for millions of visitors. Its health sets the tone for the waters into which it flows and provides the public with its first glimpse of the six million acres of natural wonder beyond the Park’s southern border.”

Other Adirondack initiatives announced in the State of the State Address:

High Peaks Strategic Planning Advisory GroupThe Governor appointed a panel of local experts to assist his agencies in preparing a plan to revitalize and better manage the highest-use areas of the Adirondack Park. The Governor’s formal State of the State message (book form) notes that he will appoint a similar task force in the Catskill Park.

New Lodge at Whiteface Mountain – In addition to the $180 million provided to the Olympic Regional Development Authority for new facilities, the Governor announced he would replace the mid-slope ski lodge at the state-owned Whiteface Mountain Ski Center, which burned down late in 2019. The new lodge is expected to cost $14 million.

Internet and Cell Coverage – The Governor set as a new goal to “bring cell service to every corner of the state.” The Adirondack Council and others support doing this without compromising the scenic beauty and economic draw of the Adirondack wilderness.

His plan calls for the appointment of a State Cellular Coverage Director within the Empire State Development Corp to develop “wireless coverage implementation plans” for areas of the state with significant gaps or unreliable service, including a focus on “1,950 miles of major roadways lacking service.”

The Governor’s plan calls for the director to work with the Adirondack Park Agency (APA) when developing the implementation plans. The APA has had an excellent standard in place for permitting cell towers since 2004, which provides coverage without allowing towers to dominate the landscape or spoil scenic views.

The Governor’s budget proposal is slated to be released later in January. It will provide the details on funding for these and other important state and Adirondack priorities.

The Adirondack Council is a privately funded not-for-profit organization dedicated to ensuring the ecological integrity and wild character of the Adirondack Park. The Council envisions a Park with clean water and clean air, comprised of core wilderness areas, surrounded by farms and working forests, and vibrant communities. 

The Adirondack Council carries out its mission through research, education, advocacy and legal action to ensure the legacy of the Adirondack Park is safeguarded for future generations. Adirondack Council advocates live in all 50 United States.

For more information:

John Sheehan, Director of Communications, 518-441-1340

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday, January 8, 2020


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