ADK is please to report that the final budget supported a fully funded, $300 million Environmental Protection Fund (EPF). This includes ADK priorities such as $35M for Open Space / Land Acquisition, $32.7M for State Lands Stewardship ( which funds ADK’s professional trail crew) and $13.3M for Invasive Species. The EPF protects open space, revitalizes waterfronts, supports recycling, preserves farmland, enhances water quality, and helps connect New Yorkers with the outdoors. The program, financed primarily through New York’s real estate transfer tax, has also contributed to economic development and generated thousands of jobs for New Yorkers. The EPF provides funding to acquire and steward New York State public lands, including support for trail building, maintenance, and for summit and trail stewards. The final budget also supports the Catskill Park, including funding for critical maintenance, access, and stewardship projects. The final budget also includes support for the Maurice D. Hinchey Catskill Interpretive Center, and for protecting hemlocks and the forests that ensure good drinking water quality for the New York City water supply. Catskill Park programs conserve open space, steward our existing recreational resources, protect and improve water quality, promote responsible forest stewardship, build community resilience, and create new trails and public access. ADK is also grateful that the Governor and legislators removed several controversial items including the State Land Tax Cap and Pilot Proposal which could have put future state land acquisitions in jeopardy, and changes to the definition of ATVs which would have allowed larger heavier machines without the needed protections in place.
DEC is conducting a scoping session in Newcomb, on Tuesday, April 3rd, to outline the Unit Management Planning (UMP) process for this newly configured region. The wilderness classification of the McIntyre East and West tracts, along with the Casey Brook Tract will link the Dix and High Peaks Wilderness areas into one 280, 000 acre wilderness area, the third largest such area east of the Mississippi. 11,000 acres of the Boreas Pond tract, including the Pond will be included into this new wilderness area. The remaining 9, 000 acres of the Boreas Pond tract will be added to the Vanderwhacker Wild Forest.
Initially Ed Ellis, President of the Iowa Pacific Railroad, the owner of the Saratoga & North Creek Railway, said he planned to generate income by storing several thousand rail cars on the 30 miles of the Tahawus Lines aka Sanford Lake Spur. He was able to contract with Berkshire Hathaway for the storage of about 80 DOT 111 obsolete tank cars on the 2.9 miles of double track siding along the Boreas River. Strong opposition by Governor Andrew Cuomo, Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, the Department of Environmental Conservation, Essex and Warren Counties, and the environmental community convinced Berkshire Hathaway to request that its 80 cars be returned to them. This transfer has thus far been prevented by snow and ice, but will be accomplished later in the year. On March 29, Ed Ellis told the Public Works Committee of the Warren County Board of Supervisors that he plans to shut down the Saratoga & North Creek Railway’s summer tourist and winter ski trains permanently unless Warren County, the state, or someone buys the Tahawus/Sanford line from the Iowa Pacific for $5 million. Ellis claimed that he would not be willing to attempt to ship stone out of the Tahawus mine site unless he received the $5 million in advance. Ellis told the Supervisors that he paid $1 million for the Tahawus/Sanford line and invested an additional $2 million, and that he was willing to entertain lower offers for the Tahawus line. The Iowa Pacific attempted to haul commercial rock out of the former titanium mine at Tahawus in 2017, but was unable to make a profit doing so. The new owner of the mine has indicated to DEC that he currently plans to ship the rock by truck. ADK believes the state should negotiate a fair price for the Tahawus railway line and buy it from the Iowa Pacific. ADK also believes that the concept of turning this railroad corridor into a multi recreational use rail trail could be a very worthy project which should be closely studied and evaluated. Hikers, cyclists, Nordic skiers and other recreationists using this rail trail could bring dollars into the Towns of Johnsburg, Minerva and Newcomb.
LAND AND WATER CONSERVATION FUND (LWCF)
America’s most important conservation and recreation program will expire in less than a year unless Congress acts. For 52 years, the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) has protected national parks and open spaces in every corner of the United States. But in less than 52 weeks, it could be gone forever and along with it, future protection of the places we love. Over the past half century, thousands of acres of public lands and millions of dollars for projects in public access, conservation, and recreational improvement have been provided to New York. Municipal, state, and federal parks and forests, have been purchased and stewarded with the help of the LWCF.
Send the letter below to your Congressional Representative and U.S. Senator.
Ask them to support permanent LWCF reauthorization legislation in the House (H.R. 502) and Senate (S. 569 & S. 896).
The Honorable Kirsten Gillibrand
Washington, DC 20510
The Honorable Charles E. Schumer
Washington, DC 20510
The Honorable _______
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515
The Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) has been our nation’s most successful conservation and recreation program for 52 years, and in less than a year this program will expire unless reauthorized by Congress.Â LWCF has invested funds in every state and nearly every county of the U.S. including New York State. New York has received $326.6 million in LWCF funding over the past five decades, protecting places such as the Gateway National Recreation Area, Sterling Forest, and Wertheim National Wildlife Refuge. LWCF state assistance grants have further supported hundreds of projects across New York’s state and local parks from the Coney Island Boardwalk in Brooklyn to the Confluence Park and Chenango River Promenade in Binghamton. Forest Legacy Program (FLP) grants are also funded under LWCF, to help protect working forests. The FLP cost-share funding supports timber sector jobs and sustainable forest operations while enhancing wildlife habitat, water quality and recreation. For example, the FLP contributed to places such as the Adirondack Lakes in Hamilton County and Ticeteneyck Mountain in Ulster County. The FLP assists states and private forest owners to maintain working forest lands through matching grants for permanent conservation easement and fee acquisitions, and has leveraged approximately $12 million in federal funds to invest $34 million in New York’s forests, while protecting air and water quality, wildlife habitat, access for recreation and other public benefits provided by forests.
Active outdoor recreation is an important part of the New York economy.Â The Outdoor Industry Association has found that active outdoor recreation contributes $41.8 billion annually in consumer spending to New York’s economy, supports 313,000 jobs which generate $14 billion in wages and salaries and produces $3.6 billion annually in state and local tax revenue. Additionally, U.S. Census Bureau reports that each year over 4.6 million people participate in hunting, fishing, and wildlife watching in New York contributing over $4.5 billion to the state economy. The LWCF creates opportunities for Americans to play outside at their local playgrounds and ballfields, visit iconic landscapes at our national parks, national forests and wildlife refuges, and experience America at historic and cultural sites. Eliminating LWCF would break the long-standing promise to the American people to invest a small portion of revenues from offshore energy development in lasting natural infrastructure: our land, outdoor recreation economy, access to hunting and angling opportunities, water resources, and the history and culture of our great nation.
There must be permanent reauthorization and full, dedicated funding enacted during the 115th Congress.Â LWCF reauthorization legislation in the House (H.R. 502) and Senate (S. 569 & S. 896) must be reauthorized to fund this important program. The Land and Water Conservation Fund is a vital program to millions of Americans across the country. New York communities, businesses, and constituents need the certainty that it will remain as a robust and flexible set of conservation tools for future generations. We must sustain this important commitment to our land and water, our wildlife, our history and our way of life.
For a listing of locations that received LWCF State and Local Assistance grants from 1965 to 2011 click on the following link, which can be sorted by county, amount, etc.
You can find much more information on the LWCF at https://www.lwcfcoalition.com