The Adirondack Council, along with several local and state elected officials and other environmental groups, called for the state to keep maintaining the former prison complex in Moriah. The state had slated to stop upkeep on the facility, which closed in 2021. While particular uses for the facility are up for debate, a wide coalition believes the facility can be used for training, housing, and other uses rather than reverting to constitutionally protected lands that would need a constitutional amendment to develop into something new.
The New York State Legislative Session begins in just a few weeks, and while there is obviously a lot for lawmakers to work on – from housing to bail reform – climate and the environment are also hot agenda items. With the recent signing of 30 by 30 legislation, a larger than ever Environmental Protection Fund, and movement on renewable energy, the 2023 legislative session could have big impacts on the state of New York’s environment.
Near the end of 2022, the Adirondack Council went global with its message that the Adirondack Park does and will continue to play an integral role in battling climate change not just for New Yorkers, but for the global community as well. Forever Adirondacks Campaign Director Aaron Mair was in Egypt for the UN’s COP 27 summit, and Deputy Director Rocci Aguirre and Director of Government Relations traveled to Puerto Rico to highlight the importance of the Adirondack Park to lawmakers who may not be familiar with the Upstate region.
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation graduated its largest class of new forest rangers in early December, and while the increase in rangers is great, the state still needs to expand and further diversify the ranger force. As state lands, particularly in the Adirondacks and Catskills, face more use and increased threats from a changing environment, forest rangers will continue to be vital in protecting the wilderness, wildlife, and people that visit the Forest Preserve.
Zoe Smith was named as the director of Paul Smith’s College’s Adirondack Watershed Institute after Dan Kelting, who had been at the helm of AWI for years, was recently tapped to be the college’s interim president. Smith, who has been AWI’s deputy director for four years, is also a board member of the state Adirondack Park Agency. Prior to joining AWI, Smith worked for the Wildlife Conservation Society and the Adirondack Mountain Club.
This round-up of Adirondack conservation news is a collection of the most current events taking place in New York’s Adirondack Park, a unique national treasure and legacy we inherited over 100 years ago that we must protect for future generations. This regular feature provided by the Adirondack Council highlights threats and opportunities concerning the Park’s ecological integrity, wild character, and community vibrancy.
Photos, from above: officials at Moriah Shock Correctional Facility; New York State Capital Building; Aaron Mair at COP 27 summit; new Forest Rangers class; and Zoe Smith.