When it comes to Adirondack Park, the future remains unwritten.
According to the Adirondack Council’s annual report, the upstate New York forest preserve still faces serious challenges. Despite Governor Andrew Cuomo’s efforts to protect the park, outside interests stand poised to stake claims in the land, designated “forever wild” by New York State.
In particular, a plan by Chicago-based company Iowa Pacific Holdings to store up to 500 oil tank trains in the region has garnered condemnation from environmental groups.
The report praises Governor Cuomo and state lawmakers for their efforts to protect the park, including allocating $200 million for clean water projects over the next three years, and plans to buy 70,000 more acres for the preserve.
Director William Janeway, however, notes that other issues still loom in the background, with the Department of Environmental Conservation pushing to expand recreation in areas previously forbidden to development.
The report concludes that Adirondack Park has come to a crossroads. Although the potential exists for future growth, the Council says, the park could regress if further action is not taken. The report also notes that the park remains under-staffed.
Governor Andrew Cuomo has been both applauded and criticized for his perceived support – or lack thereof – for Adirondack Park. Some environmental groups have highlighted his role in recent land acquisitions, while others have argued that his focus has rested to squarely on economic development.
In 2012, Governor Cuomo made headlines with the largest Adirondack land purchase in over a century after buying 69,000 acres from timber company Finch Pruyn and the Nature Conservancy.