New York State has targeted 80,000 acres of valuable and productive forestland in the Adirondacks for acquisition, for addition into the “Forest Preserve”. The plan calls for a “fee title” purchase, which would cause the land to be permanently governed under constitutionally mandated “forever wild” guidelines. This means that forest management and protection would be prohibited forever, and dozens of important Family Recreational Clubs would be forced to close.
The forests on this land are sustainably managed to the highest standards with Forest Stewardship Council certification and the resulting forest products operations are quite significant to the state’s economy, accounting for over $35 million in annual revenue for New York’s GDP.
The recreational clubs, many of which have been around for nearly a hundred years, are some of the most important small businesses in the region, bringing tens of millions of dollars to the rural small towns, many of which are on the brink of economic destitution.
A “fee title” purchase would cost the taxpayers $60 million in the first year, and over $400 million in the first ten years, when property tax payments, management expenses, and lost opportunity costs are considered. A conservation easement purchase, on the other hand, would cost the state only $18 million, with no ongoing expenses or lost opportunity costs.
A conservation easement purchase would protect the land from development, would allow reasonable public access, would help keep the recreational clubs intact, and would promote sustainable and healthy forest management and forest protection practices.
The “fee title” plan was designed, promoted, and supported by wealthy and strong special interest environmental groups. Their lobbying efforts are well-funded and powerful. The plan has little to do with “protecting nature”, but more to do with funding portfolios for their big contributors. The plan is economically irresponsible, environmentally unsound, and morally unjust.
So far, our voices have fallen on deaf ears. We are the towns and villages of the Adirondacks, the businesses, families, outdoorsmen and women, conservationists, naturalists, environmental stewards, concerned constituents, and taxpayers. We want our state to do the right thing for our economy, for our environment, and for our access to nature.
Use this petition to help Governor Cuomo understand there is a better decision. Tell him that a conservation easement purchase is better for New York. Compel Governor Cuomo to direct DEC to change the plan to a conservation easement purchase.