Follensby Pond in foreground ©Ken Rimany
Securing wild lands on all land ownerships is not a luxury, but a transcendent, critical obligation to current and future generations and Earth's biological systems which sustain all life.
Protected wild lands like the New York State Forest Preserve in the Adirondack and Catskill Parks do not exist in a vacuum. Indeed, while “Forever Wild” public lands represent the critical ecological core areas, they are part of a more comprehensive approach to conserving and enhancing wild lands, watershed qualities, wildlife and other values.
Adirondack Wild is experienced in promoting key state land acquisition and protection projects, advancing appropriate conservation easements which link private and public wild landscapes, and working collaboratively with private land owners who honor wild land ethics and values. Also, we will work to ensure that Forest Preserve units are merged in ways that make sense ecologically and administratively, expanding other wild units and, where appropriate, changing the classification of qualifying Wild Forest regions to Wilderness, Primitive or Canoe. We will work to see that linear greenways within the park's transportation and river systems are promoted to benefit local communities. We believe that green job growth in areas such as wildlife and heritage tourism, guiding, boatbuilding, outdoor education and skills development, and local hospitality and learning centers will benefit from an extensive wild land network.
Securing optimum protection in Forest Preserve and conservation easements for the 161,000 acres of the former Finch Pruyn forest lands at the heart of the Park, as well as the 14,000 acre Follensby Pond tract are good examples of wild land extensions critical to the future of the Adirondack Park. Adirondack Wild will evaluate and advocate for critical land protection projects, recognizing as we must the imperative to act before time, subdivision and other land use changes threaten. Wild lands are an extremely endangered, limited resource. Extending the wild is key to expanded habitat for top native predators like the mountain lion, or cougar, and large ungulates like moose.
To us, extending the wild means wildlife habitat and corridors for wildlife to move through, and environmental services of biological integrity, water quality, clean air, recreational opportunities, wildlife values, hunting and fishing where appropriate and scenic benefits.
Adirondack Wild: Friends of the Forest Preserve partners worked with Paul Schaefer in the late 1980’s and learned under his tutelage how to effectively advocate for the protection of the Finch Pruyn and Follensby Park forest lands, lakes and headwaters. Participating in the Department of Environmental Conservation’s Region 5 Open Space Planning Committee over many years, we collaborated in efforts to nominate key tracts in the state’s Open Space Conservation Plan. That listing resulted in the protection of hundreds of thousands of acres of land through conservation easements and acquisition as Forest Preserve.
Sound private land stewardship protective of endemic species of wildlife, plant communities and critical watersheds make the Park’s overall landscape more resilient and sustainable over time. Also, as more private land owners and park communities enter into a compact for wild lands through key stewardship planning and decision-making, the human-wild land relationship grows ever stronger.
Ours is the last generation to ultimately determine the final make-up between public and private lands within the Adirondack and Catskill Parks. Adirondack Wild is committed to advancing and extending wild land protection as an essential component of an integrated wild land vision and mission for these great mountain regions – regions whose ecology, culture, economy and future are inextricably intertwined with wild land values and benefits that we can pass down to future generations.
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