Our Fall 2022 Annual Members Meeting at Paul Smith’s Visitor Center was a great success thanks to all who joined Adirondack Wild on a lovely fall day. You all imparted a sense of renewal and hope, as well as celebration of our deserving award recipients. Many of you showed great interest in our discussion about Cooperative Stewardship of Adirondack Lakes. After the meeting, our advisor Sunita Halasz wrote about the lakes conversation:
”It was a really excellent part of the annual meeting. During Q&A so many people weighed in with their thoughts. Adirondack Wild attracts a high-powered audience with a lot of good opinions, and I think it energizes people to talk and share.”
Indeed, it does! With the help of Sunita and many others, Adirondack Wild is pursuing matters proposed fifty years ago which remain highly relevant. How should the capacity of our lakes to withstand various uses be evaluated during climate change – and by whom? With what effect? In 1972, the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan placed responsibility for a comprehensive study of Adirondack lakes to maintain their ecological, natural and aesthetic qualities squarely on the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation.
Today, with staffing at the NYS DEC and Adirondack Park Agency stretched to the breaking point, how we can we all act more collaboratively to achieve that goal? And what happens on a busy summer day on Lake Placid or Lower Saranac Lake or Lake Pleasant when dozens of pleasure craft of all sizes are moving, waves are breaking on sensitive shorelines, and nobody appears to be in charge?
Meanwhile, DEC and APA issue permissions for expanded marinas and boat launches on certain lakes and ponds when neither agency has employed known tools and methods to study the capacity of these waterbodies to absorb a lot more recreational use by all of us. This is a classic case of the Tragedy of the Commons.
We are pursuing more dialogue on these questions with the help of experts like our Board Director Chad Dawson. Meanwhile, Adirondack Wild is also taking direct action. We are joining shoreline owners on Fish Creek Pond to insist that a proposed major private marina expansion there does not take place as presently designed because it would have negative ripple effects throughout that sensitive area.
We have joined the Sierra Club to file a Friend of the Court brief to argue that on nearby Lower Saranac Lake (and elsewhere) the state is legally obligated to classify lakes surrounded wholly or partially by Forest Preserve, and to study their carrying capacity as part of necessary park planning, permitting and management.
This is the Adirondack Park, and the health of our interconnected water resources are crucial for the Park’s integrity, nesting loons, and local and regional economies.
Of course, what goes on in upland forests of the Park directly and indirectly affects our downstream rivers and lakes. So, we are also closely monitoring the Adirondack Park Agency’s review of a Miami, Florida developer’s proposed 120+ resort development above the Ausable River in Jay, Essex County.
Will APA insist on good conservation subdivision design ? Will the tract’s forest habitats be needlessly fragmented and eroded to construct second homes? Will APA hold a public hearing on this controversial development?
Adirondack Wild is determined to hold the APA’s feet to the fire. This Miami developer must be subject to a public hearing and held to the highest standard of the APA Act and APA’s Large-Scale Subdivision Review. If APA fails to require a thorough analysis and less damaging design alternatives, that is just more evidence that amendments to the APA Act are urgently needed.
Common sense, well-studied legislation “to preserve ecological integrity, wildlife and open space in the Adirondack Park” is pending. Last year, the bill passed the NYS Assembly and our support for the measure was cited by the sponsor. That’s progress. Adirondack Wild will make every effort during 2023 to have the NYS Senate pass this measure and send it to the Governor’s desk.
With your financial and moral support, we have reason to close 2022 with hope for the year to come.
We have set a goal of raising $25,000 during our Fall-Winter Campaign for Wild Lands and Waters.
Won’t you please help? We cannot do this work for wilderness without you. Please consider giving generously to this appeal and please also consider giving a membership gift to a friend, family member or co-worker who would value what we do, and what you support.
Every donor becomes an Adirondack Wild member. We have no “dues” or membership categories. We trust every donor to give as generously as they can during our two annual appeals. We are just 40 donors away from reaching 1000 donor-members!
During this season of giving, thank you for considering Adirondack Wild and for making a generous gift and becoming more involved with an organization whose focus is not only the ecological integrity of the Adirondacks, but also the intrinsic value of wilderness for its own sake.
In advance, thank you so much for your consideration.
In forever wild friendship,
David Gibson, Managing Partner