Vice-Chair, Conservation: Peter O'Shea, 315-848-2178
Referenda There will probably be two ballots of referendum on changes to the NY State Constitution that will be of interest to us in the November election. One is the Township 40 land on Raquette Lake claimed by NY as Forest Preserve land but having been built on during the past 100 years. It is now time to settle this issue. The private parties residing on the land have collected a fund to purchase lands of similar value to add to the preserve in exchange for the state relinquishing its title to the land. The environmental groups are supportive of this ballot initiative with the caveat that the land to be conveyed to the forest preserve be identified. After last two ballot initiatives were approved by voters (the Raquette Lake water supply and the Tupper Lake power line), the lands to be conveyed as Forest Preserve have still not been turned over!
The second possible ballot referendum concerns the taking of 100 acres of Jay Mt. Wilderness and turning it over to active mining. This will probably not be supported by environmental groups.
Land Purchases The opponents of state acquisition of the Finch-Pruyn and Follensby lands currently being held by the Nature Conservancy for slae to NY State have mounted an Internet campaign in an effort to thwart the addition of these magnificent landscapes to the Forest Preserve. Peter Bauer, recently named Executive Director of Protect the Adirondacks, has initiated a counter-offensive on the Internet coordinating the various conservation groups in the park to blunt the opposition to sale.
Champion Lands The final re-adjustment to the Champion Easement lands has been implemented, allowing the retention of approximately 200 hunting camps plus the building of additional ones. In the St. Lawrence County portions of the easement land, new roads have been bulldozed through the forest to newly-built camps. This revision of a completed easement sets an extremely poor precedent. There is a danger these “camps” will morph into de facto second homes because they are now being assured of a lease. The 2100 acres of land for the Forest Preserve received in exchange for the camps is also not what it appears, because this parcel was already under a conservation easement prohibiting development and providing for public access!