Officials Warn ADK State Park Vulnerable Due To Budget Cuts
Utica, NY (WIBX) - Budget cuts dating back to the Spitzer administration have left the Adirondack Park Agency vulnerable. That's the concern being raised by a representative from the Adirondack Council who is in Utica today to gain support for a major project to improve conditions in the Adirondacks.
"Ultimately, we're trying to educate the public statewide about this and we're just at the beginning of the education trip so we're pleased to be in Utica and happy to talk to folks who are so interested in the future of the park," said John Sheehan, Director of Communication for the Adirondack Council.
Sheehan says through a combination of legislation, the Cuomo administration can help improve the three weakest rules of the park agency. "One is with regard to water quality. We think there is a need to have better protection of shoreline areas, in terms of how many trees get cut and how much development happens right next to the water. We think that there is a need to better protect wildlife in the park. Too often we're building farther and farther into the woods when it is much more economical and ecologically better to build in places that already have some development. Where there already are roads and public facility available for people to use like water and sewer lines. And, lastly we think that there is a need to better protect the forest," he said.
He says Adirondack State Park is the largest intact insidious forest in the world that protects very important wildlife habitats. "And, it itself is an important resource in that a great deal of it--over 200,000 acres--has never ever been cut before, so it's still virgin forest or ancient old growth forest," he said. Sheehan goes on to say that the park is also an important scientific and environmental resource for the state. "Something that no other state in the northeast can talk about because they weren't able to safe any of their prime evil forests," he said.
The Adirondack Council official says there are currently no legislative plans in place to improve the park, and says that was done strategically. "Because the last time this debate took place in the Adirondacks, there really was not a good job done by the state, and including the local folks in the discussion. And, we don't want to see that happen again because it essentially blew up the last opportunity that we had by making people inside the park angry that they didn't have any kind of voice in what the new plan was going to look like and that was a mistake from the beginning, and one that we expect that this governor won't make this time around."
Sheehan says it's the perfect time to take another look at ways to improve the Adirondack Park Agency at the same time the Cuomo administration is analyzing state agencies and their structures. "And this one really has needed attention for quite some time, actually since back when his father was governor," he said.
To learn more about the movement to improve Adirondack State Park, visit, www.adirondackcouncil.org, or contact the group at, 800-842-Park (8182).