News Brief - February 2001:
Gov. George E. Pataki's Executive Budget recommendations for the DEC increases land acquisition funding by $21.5 million, from $33.5 to $55 million, and decreases stewardship funding by $2 million.
In February, the 2001-02 budget proposal was immediately opposed by supervisors in Hamilton County in the heart of the Adirondacks, where DEC under the Pataki Administration is spending $ millions annually to acquire large tracts of the remaining private land.
The Hamilton County News quoted Wells Supervisor Brian Towers' complaint during a meeting of the County Board of Supervisors: "For a long time we have been saying DEC should take care of what they already have. Apparently they are not listening."
Another supervisor, Frank Mezzano of Lake Pleasant, said that his town has been trying to get DEC to hook up its campground on Sacandaga Lake to the town sewer lines since 1998.
The Board passed a resolution asking the Governor to amend his budget recommendations to transfer $21.5 million from the land acquisition fund to the stewardship fund, but the Governor did not make the change. The State's final budget must be worked out between the two houses of the Legislature and the Governor.
The Hamilton County News reported separately that DEC's proposed "Unit Management Plan" for the area including 20 of the campsites on islands in Indian Lake would not allow the campsites to be in "Intensive Use" category, where the current camp facilities including picnic table, fire ring, and outhouses could be kept in place and maintained by DEC maintenance staff. Instead, DEC's proposed plan would maintain the currently erroneous category of "Wilderness," where all facilities would have to be removed, and maintenance staff would stop visiting the islands to remove garbage and so on. This change would be likely to return the campsites to an unsanitary condition that existed before the facilities and maintenance were put in place in 1960. Wilderness classification of the campgrounds would permit only unpopular "primitive" camping, causing an economic loss to the local town.
For Further Information:
Contact Governor George E. Pataki, Executive Chamber, Albany,
NY 12224, your New York State Senator (Albany, NY 12247) and Member
of Assembly (Albany, NY 12248) for State budget information.
Contact the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation web site for Unit Management Plan updates.