Conservation Archive

Conservation Report

January, 2010

Vice-Chair, Conservation: Peter O'Shea, 315-848-2178

Addressing a crucial need, the St. Lawrence Land Trust has recently been formed in our area. The St. Lawrence Valley had been one of the last areas in New York State to not have a land trust. Currently the NYS Open Space Plan has no provision to protect land along the rivers and waterways of the region. The founding of the Land Trust partially addresses this omission. Several important tracts have already been protected by the Land Trust along the Oswegatchie and Raquette rivers. The rivers of the valley have been projected as vital wildlife corridors between the Adirondack Park and large provincial parks in Canada. Those interested may contact Erica Barthelmess at 379-9915 or Richard Grover at 379-9697.

The APA board has overturned the proposed designation of the water bed of Low’s Lake as Wilderness. The wilderness designation was strongly supported by ADK but the political opponents of the concept of wilderness prevailed in overturning the original vote. This unfortunate decision sets a negative precedent and could even imperil the chances of the Bob Marshall Wilderness ever coming to fruition.

Another possible negative precedent was set when DEC proposed an amendment to the Champion Conservation Easement allowing 220 hunting camps that were set to expire in 2014 to remain in perpetuity. Environmental groups are alarmed at this proposal; many feel this action is illegal. In addition to possible illegality and negative precedent this amendment sets the stage for potential confl ict with other recreational users of these lands. NYS did receive from the timber owner approximately 2600 acres to be transferred from Conservation Easement to Forest Preserve and State Forest, but most feel this is nowhere near the value of the leasing fees for the 220 hunting camps that the owner will now receive in perpetuity.

Meetings are now being held between town offi cials and the APA which could expand the land areas of Adirondack hamlets and increase the densities of buildings allowed in the hamlets. Is this in anticipation of rapid population growth when high speed Internet is available throughout the Adirondack Park? The environmental groups are carefully monitoring the situation because the expansion of the existing hamlets would be a sure-fi re recipe for suburban-style sprawl in the Adirondack Park.