Over 50 Legislative leaders were lobbied on February 28th by a coalition of organizations and activists on the 2023 priorities for the Adirondack Park!
Adirondack Park Environmental Lobby Day 2023 was held on February 28th at the state capitol in Albany. Activists from more than two dozen organizations and institutions trekked to Albany to lobby legislative leaders on a series of budget issues and legislation that will help to protect state lands, waters, Park institutions, and wildlife. This broad array of issues was pressed at many offices throughout the day.
The coalition lobbied to expand funding for the Adirondack Diversity Initiative, fully fund the Environmental Protection Fund, increase funding for the Visitor Interpretive Centers at Paul Smith’s and Newcomb, fund the Adirondack Watershed Institute, invest $2.1 million for Timbuctoo Summer Climate and Careers Institute, $500 million to fund water infrastructure projects, septic system repair and replacement, and road salt pollution prevention, support for State Lands stewardship and more Forest Rangers. Small lobby teams split up and hit visited with more than 50 Legislators and their staff on these issues and more. There’s a complete list of issues at the end of this article.
New York’s Adirondack Park is a national treasure. Today, the Park faces unprecedented challenges stemming from climate change, soaring recreational pressures on its trails and waterways, and a 50-year old Adirondack Park Agency Act that is ill-prepared for modern development pressures and climate-impacted wildlife. Adirondack Park managers and communities needs to get better at serving a more diverse constituency. We need new and courageous leadership in New York State to ensure that the Adirondack Park is well-protected now and preserved for future generations.
The coalition of organizations shown above has banded together to advocate for budget and policy measures that will promote clean water, green jobs, and climate-resilient wilderness lands this year. These include:
$4 million for a Survey of Climate Change and Adirondack Lakes Ecosystems: a three-year study of 400 lakes in the Adirondacks, to study carbon and greenhouse gas sequestration and climate impacts. A $500,000 down payment was approved in last year’s budget, but more funding is needed for this $6 million project.
$500 million for clean water: to fund water infrastructure projects, septic system repair and replacement,and road salt pollution prevention.
Fund Community Technical Assistance Programs: to support rural communities in navigating largewater infrastructure projects.
Double and Diversify the Forest Rangers: to protect natural resources from overuse and foster equityamongst those who protect our natural resources.
$2.1 million for Timbuctoo Summer Climate and Careers Institute: a CUNY/SUNY Partnership exposing high school students living on the frontlines of climate change to careers aimed at providing climate solutions.
$3 million for the Adirondack Experience at Blue Mountain Lake: to create a new exhibit on the history of African American experience in the Adirondacks.
Establish an Adirondack Park Affordable Housing Task Force: to overcome hurdles in providing workforce housing, and grapple with the unique challenges facing the Adirondack Park region.
Support a Green Adaptive Reuse of Moriah Shock and Camp Gabriels Shock Incarceration Facilities: to support local jobs and the need for a green workforce in the Adirondacks.
$400 million or more for the Environmental Protection Fund, with:
$40 million for Open Space Protection
$12 million for Adirondack and Catskill Wilderness Protection and Visitor Safety
$600,000 for a Visitor Use Management Framework
$20 million for Invasive Species Management
$5 million for an Environmental Research Account
$400,000 for the Adirondack North Country Association’s Adirondack Diversity Initiative (moved to Aid to Localities in the Executive Budget proposal)
$500,000 for Visitors Interpretive Centers at SUNY ESF Newcomb Campus and Paul Smiths College
$21 million for Farmland Protection
$2 million for Biodiversity and Landowner Habitat Conservation
$250,000 for the Adirondack Watershed Institute state-certified Laboratory
Pass ecological integrity, wildlife and open space legislation in the Adirondack Park this year: 4608 (Glick) – On this 50th anniversary of the legislature’s landmark Adirondack Park Agency Act of 1973, this 50th anniversary reform legislation is urgently needed to stop forest fragmentation and at the same time develop smartly in the Adirondack Park, protect private Adirondack forested open space, conserve wildlife habitats, and contribute to meeting the state’s Greenhouse Gas reduction and Climate Act goals.
Pass Legislation prohibiting Wildlife Killing Contests (S.4099/ A.2917): to protect endangered wolf populations and other important wildlife.
Confirm Strong Appointments to the Adirondack Park Agency and Lake George Park Commission: to foster greater diversity and add much-needed backgrounds in land use planning, legal safeguards and ecological integrity to these citizen boards responsible for protection of natural resources in the six-million acre Adirondack Park.