Posted by
Property Rights Foundation of America®

They've Got a Little List

by Susan Allen
P.O. Box 718
Keene Valley N.Y. 12943
518/576-9861

As someday soon it will happen that the state will have some dough
They've got a little list, a not so little list
Of parcels that they want, and for answers they won't take no,
They want the entire list, no, nothing must be missed.

The Plan is really thick and it takes some time to read.
But it's vague and repetitious — a non-plan indeed.
It never says how much it wants, or what it ought to spend.
How could such a lengthy volume say so little in the end?
"Just name it if you want it," the poo-bahs all insist.
It's nothing but a never never ending wishing list.

Let's look at all the parcels that New York has bought to date.
Three hundred thousand acres plus, but there's much more on their plate.
And where's past public comments? I know I've made my share.
They seem to have disappeared into the thinnest air.
No comments shall exist, unless you're adding to the list.
The DEC and OPR won't allow you to resist.

They have partners in their mission, like the Nature Conservancy,
Who say they are non-profit, but they sure make more than me.
Or Conservation Fund or Open Space Institute,
Who buy this land and sell it back for lots of extra loot.
They're the ones behind the list — they're co-authors of the list.

There's people on those Committees that have been there since Year One.
They're on the Committee list, the permanent Committee list.
The financial interest question is one I'd ask of some
Who profit by this list, that fact cannot be missed.
They're all the organizations that guide the state's pursuits
Though New York State denies it, they're all in cahoots
To get things on that list, the ever-expanding list.

In 1992 the first of these Plans came out.
The title changed to "Open Space," but it means "Acquisition," have no doubt.
There were seventy-five priorities then not such a little list!
But now there are one-thirty-one, they just kept adding to that list.

They've purchased Sterling Forest, a priority in '92.
Seventeen thousand acres — but now what do they do?
Take it off the list? No! Replace it on the list.
To shrink the list is heresy, you'll hear them all insist.

Region 2, if you don't know it, refers to New York City.
They have their little list, they have things on their list.
They have their very own "Open Space Committee."
They'd like their share of this for their eight million populace.
But what happened to Fort Totten, with its tunnels underground?
And historic Governors Island, with the bay that laps around?
They're gone from the list, with no explanation at all for this.

There's City kids that need more parks where they can run and play.
They can't afford to travel to the Canal Recreationway.
And what I heard about the World Trade Center provides an extra shock.
The new State Park along the river had no place for fireboats to dock.
They have to remedy this, despite environmentalists.

There's twenty-three categories of land the State can buy.
They put those on a list, a separate little list.
But in the Adirondacks, any land can qualify.
There's no escaping this, all Region 5 is on that list.

First there was a project that they called the "Northern Flow."
The next round it was purchased, but the listing didn't go.
It morphed into a bigger piece that still had to be bought.
The State is never satisfied, no matter what it's got.
Land purchase must persist, New York just can't desist.
When buying Adirondack land, not an acre must be missed.

And I never knew one property was the object of such lust,
Until it caught the eye of a wealthy land trust.
Unknown how many acres, unknown what is the price,
But the State just has to have it, nothing less will suffice.
So something that ten years ago I didn't know existed,
All of a sudden now, "Bog River Complex is listed.

And I don't know who's using all the land that's been acquired.
Is it the Same hikers who have hiked until they're tired
Of land that they already have, and wanted even more?
Or are new people using it, we really ought to know for sure.
But DEC and OPR don't look beyond the list.
The usefulness of any land is an unimportant twist.

And what about our history, that should be well preserved?
There's categories for this, but the funds are not reserved.
The local towns and cities have to scrape up a matching grant.
But for thousands of Adirondack acres, the State never says, "We can't."
They have money hand over fist for Adirondack land on their list.

And there's provisions in the Plan to keep farmland being farmed.
It's on the "Open Space" list, the "Working Landscapes" list.
But where's the proof that farms are saved, and economies not harmed?
The State will just insist, "It's proved — it's on the list."

And forestland and hunting land, they also must be saved.
But all those owners want is for their taxes to be waived.
They want to be on the list, but can't the rest of us resist?
Their taxes have to shift to those not on the list.

I know I'm being negative, I proudly don't deny.
But there's so many other things that New York State could buy.
Like health care and housing and libraries and food,
Things that really would improve all lives for the good.
I'm not a pessimist, I'd support such a list.
Buying land in my view makes New York a misanthropist.

Apologies to Gilbert & Sullivan, "I've got a little list..." from "The Mikado"

 

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