Press Releases

Council Praises Governor's Transformational Adirondack Plans

Urges Him to Optimize Economic Development Effort with Wilderness Protection Nearby

For more information:
John F. Sheehan
518-441-1340 (cell)
518-432-1770 (ofc)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, January 12, 2016

NORTH HUDSON, N.Y. -- The Adirondack Council today praised Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s State of the State message, saying some of his initiatives could bring great progress on environmental and economic needs, as long as they are coupled with wilderness protections for the Park’s most sensitive places, including the Boreas Ponds.

“The Governor’s plan to invest in a $23-million partnership to create a recreational hub at Northway Exit 29 – the former Frontier Town in North Hudson – is an example of the transformational initiatives he promised to the Park’s communities,” said Adirondack Council Executive Director William C. Janeway.  “The investment would help the surrounding communities realize an economic benefit from the state’s purchase of new Forest Preserve in the High Peaks region, including the Boreas Ponds tract.  It would make North Hudson and Newcomb more vibrant and sustainable.”

 Hundreds of wilderness advocates recently urged such a plan and public private partnerships to develop a visitor’s center, support services and recreation businesses at Exit 29, while also calling for protecting the state’s largest high-elevation wetlands complex at Boreas Ponds, just down the road.

“For everyone to realize the full benefits of this investment at the North Hudson Northway Exit, the most sensitive areas of the Boreas Ponds tract must be protected from motorized uses and invasive species,” Janeway said.  “The only way to ensure that is to classify the ponds, and a mile-wide buffer to the south, as wilderness.” 

“Given the language in the State of the State that says: ‘DEC will construct infrastructure at Boreas Ponds in the Adirondacks,’ we have cause to be alarmed,” Janeway said.

Janeway said environmental organizations are concerned that the Governor's Adirondack Park Agency might be directed to follow a political agenda to secure options for motorized recreation, rather than develop a classification plan that protects the Boreas Ponds based on science and law, public input, and New York's long legacy of protecting the wild character of the Adirondacks.

To be a progressive leader and set an example for the country, it’s critical the Governor apply his commitment to science and facts to environmental protection decisions and direct his Adirondack Park Agency to do the same he said.

Janeway said Exit 29 could become the gateway into the High Peaks Wilderness Area – the most popular wilderness in the Northeast.  If the Governor adopts a plan to expand the High Peaks Wilderness to fully include the Boreas Ponds and connect to the Dix Mountain Wilderness, the expanded wilderness would begin just across the Northway from the new visitor complex.  It would also be close to a snowmobiling network planned by the state.

It would become a stopover for hikers, cyclists, canoeist, snowmobilers, anglers and even people looking for a place to get their boat inspected for invasive species before putting into an Adirondack lake, Janeway said.

“We are also very encouraged by the Governor’s plans for further reducing the state’s carbon emissions through the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, his commitment to a $300-million Environmental Protection Fund, his additional $2 billion in Clean Water Infrastructure funding, his proposal for forest preservation and his bike route proposal for the Champlain Valley,” Janeway said.

Specifically, further reductions in greenhouse gas emissions and expanded use of renewable energy will help combat climate change and protect gains made reversing the negative impacts of acid rain on the Adirondacks.

A second consecutive year of $300 million in appropriations for the state Environmental Protect Fund will support land acquisition, farmland protection, state land stewardship, local community Smart Growth grants, Climate Smart Communities initiatives, parks and clean water projects. 

The additional $2 billion in Clean Water funding over five years will provide a huge boost in available grants to communities for drinking water and wastewater infrastructure, and could help address impacts of road salt. 

The proposal to enhance forest preservation appears to be a much-needed update to the timberland tax abatement program (sections 480 and 480a of the state property tax code) to provide greater incentives for sustainable forestry practices.  Enhancements could encourage greater private open space conservation, while protecting local governments from property tax revenue impacts.  The bike trail proposal can help connect more people with the beauty and rural communities of the Adirondacks, Janeway said.

Janeway noted that the details of these plans will matter, although little detail was available yet from the Governor’s office.

The Adirondack Council is an independent, privately funded, not-for-profit organization. 

The Council’s mission is to ensure the ecological integrity and wild character of the Adirondack Park. The Council envisions an Adirondack Park comprised of large, core Wilderness areas, surrounded by working forests and farms and vibrant local communities.

The Adirondack Council carries out its mission through research, education, advocacy and legal action. Adirondack Council members live in all 50 United States. 

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