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Martens Named Conservationist of the Year

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John F. Sheehan
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Monday, July 11, 2016

Martens Named Conservationist of the Year
Former NYSDEC Commissioner, Open Space Advocate Honored at ‘Forever Wild Day’

NORTHVILLE, N.Y. – Nearly 200 Adirondack Council members and supporters turned out to congratulate former NYS Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joseph Martens for earning the title of Conservationist of the Year at the Forever Wild Day celebration, held at the Inn at the Bridge here.

“We were very pleased to thank Joe Martens for all he has done to protect the Adirondack Park, both as a state official and as an advocate for wild lands at the Open Space Institute,” said Adirondack Council Executive Director William C. Janeway.  “Joe did great conservation work under two governors.  He has been an exemplary advocate as a private citizen and his return to OSI will allow him to direct his attention to national climate policy.” 

The Adirondack Council’s Forever Wild Day celebration featured a luncheon and membership meeting, as well as walking tours of the Northville business district and nearby Sacandaga Park.  The Council moves its Forever Wild Day event to different communities each year to ensure its members visit as many of the park’s villages and hamlets as possible.

The lunch was catered by Michael and Lorrie Intrabartola, owners of the Inn at the Bridge.  Town Historian Gail Cramer kindly opened the museum for the start of the business district tour.  Her husband Larry conducted the tour.  John Ferguson guided the tour of Sacandaga Park.

Conservationist of the Year Martens’s first work in the Adirondack Park came as assistant secretary and deputy secretary for energy and the environment under Gov. Mario Cuomo.  He later served as chair of the board of the Olympic Regional Development Authority.

Currently, Martens is a Senior Fellow at the Open Space Institute where he is focusing his efforts on national climate change policy and new strategies for promoting smart and effective land conservation in combating climate change.

Martens served as Governor Andrew Cuomo's Commissioner of the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) from March 2011 to July 2015. Among his accomplishments were new additions to the “forever wild” Adirondack Forest Preserve, as well as new conservation easements to protect private forests from fragmentation and development. 

He worked to expand access to the state's open spaces, restore environmental funding, and launch initiatives to improve air and water quality and reduce greenhouse gasses.

Martens also led the Department's response to hurricanes Lee and Irene. Following an exhaustive review, Commissioner Martens issued a Findings Statement in 2014 concluding that high volume hydraulic fracturing should not be allowed to proceed in New York State.  While there was little chance of drilling inside the Adirondack Park, large-scale gas development south of the Adirondack Park would have increased methane and other air pollutants that cause acid rain, smog and poor visibility.

For his efforts, Martens received a life-size, museum quality, hand-carved common loon – an iconic symbol of the Adirondack Wilderness, represented on the Adirondack Council’s logo.

The Adirondack Council is a privately funded not-for-profit organization whose mission is to ensure the ecological integrity and wild character of the Adirondack Park.  The Council envisions a Park comprised of core wilderness areas, surrounded by farms and working forests, as well as vibrant, local communities.

The 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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