Press Releases

SNEAK PREVIEW of the 2022 State of the Park

TRAILERED BOAT INSPECTIONS BEGIN, LEGISLATIVE CAUCUS FUNDS CLIMATE CAREER INSTITUTE TO HONOR VOTING RIGHTS & NEW LAKE SURVEY  

Adirondack Council Issues Pre-Release Peek at State of the Park 2022 

Illustrated Annual Critique of Government Actions Due Out Next Week 

ALBANY, NY.  – The Adirondack Council’s annual State of the Park Report will be released to the public on Tuesday, Sept. 6, the organization said today, noting that the overall theme of the report would be Stressed and Challenged -- a reflection of the trying times the park and its communities have experienced over the past year. 

At the same time, the organization offered a sneak preview of three of the most important government actions and decisions that had an impact on the largest park in the contiguous United States over the past year.  The Council’s full 32-page report will review more than 100 government actions, rating each with a thumb up or down and an explanation of why it was rated that way.   

The report announcement comes one day after the organization celebrated on the shore of Heart Lake in North Elba with U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer.  They cheered the approval of the Inflation Reduction Act, which is Congress’s first action to address climate change.  It celebrated the act last week with U.S. Rep. Paul Tonko, D-Amsterdam in Albany. 

“The Inflation Reduction Act was the best thing Congress has done for the Adirondacks in 32 years,” said Adirondack Council Executive Director William C. Janeway.  “It will reopen all of the closed air quality monitoring stations, take a big bite out of carbon emissions and bring deeper reductions in acid rain.  Plus, the region will get lots of new, well-paid jobs.  That’s a big leap forward after a long period of standing still.”  

            In addition to the act, Janeway listed three important, but lesser-known government decisions that helped the park recently, including: 

  • This summer’s long-awaited and successful commencement of park-wide mandatory boat inspections to prevent the spread of invasive species; 
  • The new Timbuctoo Summer Climate and Careers Institute linking education for careers in climate science and wilderness conservation with an introduction to the Adirondack Park and its often-overlooked history of securing voting rights for Black citizens prior to an after the Civil War; and  
  • Seed funding of $500,000 approved by the Legislature for a new survey of Adirondack lakes that would measure the effects of air pollution, acid rain and climate change (total cost $6 million over three years). 

 

“Requiring all trailered boats to be inspected and decontaminated prior to launch in the Adirondacks is the single greatest victory in the entire war against invasive species in the Adirondack Park,” said Adirondack Council Executive Director William C. Janeway.  “We are proud to have been one of the chief advocates for this law.  We are pleased to see that most boaters were willing to spend a few minutes making sure they weren’t spreading an infestation.  It’s easy to stop the spread of non-native plants or organisms from a contaminated water to a pristine location.  Now there is a network in place to make the whole process quick and free.” 

The Timbuctoo Summer Climate Careers Institute grew out of the interaction of park residents and organizations with civil rights activists who, together, created the Adirondack Diversity Advisory Council. It later evolved into the current Adirondack Diversity Initiative. 

The Adirondack Council’s Forever Adirondacks Campaign Director Aaron Mair, himself a pioneer in the environmental justice movement in the Capital District, worked with Prof. Wallace Ford of CUNY’s Medgar Evers College in Brooklyn and Adirondack diversity movement veteran Prof. Paul Hai of SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Newcomb.  The careers institute will use SUNY ESF’s existing campus (near both the adjacent to the High Peaks Wilderness Area and Boreas Ponds) as the base of career introductions and instruction for downstate students.   

In addition to its goal of doubling and diversifying the Adirondack Forest Ranger force, the Council hopes to rebuild the Dept. of Environmental Conservation’s entire capacity to manage the Forest Preserve, he said.  The preserve is New York’s greatest asset in removing carbon from the air.  Black, Asian and Latino students need the skills and credentials to apply for and hold those jobs. 

“There will be an additional element of instruction as well,” said Janeway.  “Instructors will be reminding young people that the Adirondacks were not just a part of the Underground Railroad that helped to free enslaved people. It was also a place where black residents could overcome the laws that prevented Black men from voting in New York unless they possessed $250-worth of property.  By accepting land grants for Adirondack farms, Black men gained the right to vote and found a refuge from bounty hunters seeking to re-enslave freed people. There were many of these ‘suffrage settlements’ in Essex County and the one called Timbuctoo was right in modern-day Lake Placid.  A new historic marker is devoted to its location now on Old Military Road, not far from John Brown’s grave. 

“During their visit to the Adirondacks in 2021, the NYS Legislature’s Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic and Asian Caucus took an interest in suffrage settlement history and set aside $2.1 million in the state budget to cover the cost of getting the program started,” Janeway said.  “That was a great start.  We hope this is something that will expand to include other colleges soon.” 

Janeway said the approval of initial funding to design the new Survey of Climate in Adirondack Lake Ecosystems (SCALE).  The survey would build on the information gathered in the mid-1980s when the federal government funded chemical and biological testing of more than 1,800 Adirondack lakes prior to commencing the national acid rain reduction program (approx. 1990). 

“It has been far too long since we had a comprehensive look at how Adirondack lakes and ecosystems are faring,” said Janeway.  “After the first big survey in the 1980s, federal regulators have been content to limit the testing to a much small number of representative lakes.  That’s fine for measuring overall trends.  But we need to know how all of those lakes have reacted to the big drop in acid rain-causing pollution, and the surge in climate change, because some are not recovering the way others are.  We also need to better know how climate is speeding up or slowing down the recovery process and otherwise impacting systems.  Some data suggests that climate change is undoing some of the progress we made saving lakes and trout from acid rain.  We need hard evidence to guide specific follow-up actions on climate.” 

The Adirondack Park consists of both public and private lands, covering one-fifth of New York State.  It contains more than 3 million acres of protected forests. Unlike many other parks, it also contains 130 small, rural communities.  Its 11,000 lakes and ponds, thousands of miles of navigable river and 30,000 miles of brooks and streams are the source waters for most of New York’s rivers. 

The full State of the Park report will be available online and in print following Labor Day (Sept. 6), Janeway said.  State of the Park also includes a Report Card on whether officials accomplished the major priorities of the previous years, and a Spotlight section calling attention to the good deeds of individuals and other not-for-profit organizations.  

Established in 1975, 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. It is the largest environmental organization whose sole focus is the Adirondacks.  

The Council carries out its mission through research, education, advocacy and legal action. It envisions a Park with clean water and clean air, core wilderness areas, farms and working forests, and vibrant, diverse, welcoming, safe communities. 

For more information: 

John Sheehan, Adirondack Council, 518-441-1340 

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