For Immediate Release
January 10, 2020
Contact: David Gibson, 518-469-4081
Adirondack Wild Applauds Cuomo’s Restore Mother Nature Bond Act;
Support Needed for Rangers, Wilderness Stewardship, Private Forests,
Adirondack Wild: Friends of the Forest Preserve today applauded Governor Andrew Cuomo’s proposed $3 Billion Restore Mother Nature bond act for its potential to help chronically underfunded stewardship of the New York State Forest Preserve, private forests, and streams in the Ausable River, Sacandaga and other watersheds. “Mother Nature badly needs the Governor’s helping hand,” said Adirondack Wild’s David Gibson. “Not since 1996 has a New York governor proposed such a vitally needed and important environmental funding initiative. We pledge our strong support.”
“While the Governor’s bond act will help environments across the state, in the Adirondacks and Catskills there are huge efficiencies. A relatively small dollar investment in stewardship here can yield big and positive impacts for our wilderness, private forests, rivers and streams,” said Adirondack Wild’s managing partner David Gibson.
Adirondack Wild specifically is calling for targeted investment in the state’s Forest Rangers, Forest Preserve, private forests and in river and stream restoration.
- “The Governor’s bond act proposal calls for more durable trails, controls on overuse and education in the High Peaks Wilderness area. On the front lines of all of this are the DEC Forest Rangers. They are communicating stewardship to the public and responding to public safety in the Forest Preserve, yet their numbers – just 106 field rangers statewide – are stuck where they were 50 years ago. Without more Forest Rangers, none of what the Governor seeks in the High Peaks and on other public lands is sustainable. The bond act must help.” “If DEC were to pilot limited entry or permit reservation systems in targeted areas of the High Peaks Wilderness, that would be a very efficient and educational way to manage overuse and comply with wilderness guidelines,” said Gibson.
- Also, the governor’s bond act calls for conserving more private forests. “Current benefits under Forest Tax Law 480a are long outdated because they are exclusively focused on forest cutting and extraction. Small private landowners want tax incentives to conserve their forests for carbon benefits, climate mitigation and wildlife conservation but current law makes these owners ineligible. The governor’s bond act could help expand tax incentives to keep private land in forest cover, provide these net benefits and avoid more subdivision and development,” said Gibson.
- Finally, the governor’s proposal seeks to reduce flood risk and reclaim natural floodplains. “In the Ausable and Sacandaga River watersheds alone, there are dozens of damaged river sections dating to Hurricane Irene and a similar number of old, undersized culverts which pose future downstream flood risk and which block fish and other aquatic life. A relatively small investment in stream restoration could really help a large portion of the Adirondacks to reduce future flooding and restore trout and other aquatic life,” said Gibson. “Thanks to the Ausable River Association, we have an Ausable River Watershed Management Plan to efficiently target bond act investments in the health of this watershed.” Adirondack Wild: Friends of the Forest Preserve is a not-for-profit, membership organization which acts on behalf of wilderness and wild land values and stewardship throughout the region. More on the web: www.adirondackwild.org.