"Before Leaving Office, Gov. Pataki Announces
Preservation of More Than One Million Acres; Northern Counties
Suffer Population Declines"-News
Brief, PRFA, March 2007
February 6, 2006
Space Plan Public Comment Time Extension Denied
- Letter from Susan Allen, Editor & Publisher, Adirondack
Park Agency Reporter, to Francis Sheehan, N.Y. State Dept. of
April 23, 2004
260,000-acres of International Paper Co. in Adirondacks to be
In celebration of Earth Day, April 22, 2004,
Gov. George E. Pataki announced the biggest acquisition of land
in the Adirondacks yet - 260,000 acres of International Paper
Co. forest in 9 counties and 34 towns within the Adirondack Park,
nearly all of IP's Adirondack holdings.
In a deal involving the Conservation Fund, the State will own
2,000 acres in fee simple and will acquire conservation easements
in 255,000 acres. Full
"Gov. Pataki's State of the State: The Land Acquisition
Threat Among Platitudes & Promises" - PRFA, January 2004.
Gov. Pataki announced that the State has now "protected
500,000 acres," of his targeted ten-year
goal of one million acres of land.
Pataki Announces Plan to Preserve an Additional One Million Acres
Space Plan Reveals the Same Old IllegalitiesDEC Fails to
Reveal Full Extent and Impact of its Land Acquisition Plans"
- Press Release (PRFA, November 13, 2001)
DEC Open Space Conservation Plan
The New York State Department of Environmental
Conservation, and Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation
have revised the land acquisition plan, "Conserving Open
Space in New York State 2001." The 485-page draft plan and
generic environmental impact statement describe the philosophy
of the two agencies and their wish lists for new government land
acquisitions, and gives the regional advisory committee reports.
Wants to Increase Funds to Buy Land"
"Vermont Study Affirms Short-term Protections
for Champion Leaseholders but Rejects Perpetual Protection for
the Camp Culture"
New York State Open
Space Conservation Plan
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
French-Canadian Residents Ousted from Their Land in
Indian Lake - Historian's report,
posted March 2005, originally attached to New York State's 1987
management plan for Siamese Ponds area.
The "Report of the Town and County Historian of
the Area Known as 'Little Canada'in the Town of
Indian Lake" by Ted Aber, Historian, January 25,
1982, tells how the French-Canadian residents were, "without
exception, ousted from their land" when it was sold
to New York State. In 1987, the APA Siamese Pond "Wilderness"
designation threatened access to the cemetery and abandoned settlement
on historic John Pond Road. The State closed the old road anyway.
Space in New York State1997 promulgated by New York State Department of Environmental
(This is the latest revision of the Open Space Conservation Plan.)
The Property Owner's
ExperienceNew York's Arbitrary and Excessive Environmental
Regulation of Private Land and Resources - Observation and Recommendations for Reform by
Carol W. LaGrasse (PRFA 1998)
Wilderness Corridors Masquerading as Land Management Refinements"
- By Carol W. LaGrasse, Reprinted from New York Property Rights
Clearinghouse, Vol. 15, No. 1 (PRFA, Spring 2011)
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation's
Strategic Plan for its 442 state forests comprising 786,000 acres
outside the Adirondack and Catskill Forest Preserves focuses
on ensuring connectivity for wildlife movement between large
"matrix blocks" of state forests maintained
as mature cover connected with wide, natural strips of land with
a high percentage of forest cover. This system would enhance
connectivity though deep forested areas from Ontario to Georgia.
Council Displayed Its Real Character - Letter to the Editor,
By Carol W. LaGrasse, Published in The Post-Star, Glens
The Adirondack Council displayed its real character with its
mean-spirited attack on the APA Local Government Review Board
when they passed a resolution against the State of New York acquiring
60,000 acres of sustainably harvested timber land formerly owned
by Finch, Pruyn Co. of Glens Falls.
to U.S. Representative Scott Murphy about importance of Federal
Fair Housing Act to deal with Adirondack housing issue, by Carol
W. LaGrasse, Property Rights Foundation of America, Inc., February
Letter by Carol W. LaGrasse follows up August 2009 letter
personally presented to Rep. Scott Murphy, and further urges
him to bring the federal Fair Housing Act to bear on the APA
and DEC obstruction of access to housing.
Camps to be Saved on Champion Conservation Easements"
- By Carol W. LaGrasse, PRFA, January 2010
Over ten years after Gov. George Pataki announced that all
298 hunting camps on the former Champion International lands
would have to be removed, the DEC has issued a revised conservation
easement to allow 200 camps on the easement lands to remain in
perpetuity. This will continue the long-standing cultural and
social tradition of allowing people to enjoy local hunting and
fishing clubs in the Adirondack region, according to DEC. The
original plan was "a mistake," the lands
and forests director said.
Meaning of the Champlain-Adirondack Biosphere Reserve"
- By Peter J. LaGrasse, Chairman, Stony Creek Board of Assessors,
Thirteenth Annual National Conference on Private Property Rights
(PRFA, Lake George, N.Y., October 17, 2009)
The meaning of the Champlain-Adirondack Biosphere Reserve
is made clear by a study of the technical literature of proponents
and a map study of the state acquisition of land in the Adirondacks
since the designation in 1989. The core area, reserved to be
without human influence, is defined as all of the state-owned
land. The areas between the state-owned land in 1989 are rapidly
being filled in with fee simple state acquisitions and state
purchases of conservation easements. The Biosphere Reserve designation,
which is under UNESCO auspices, is at the heart of the goal to
depopulate the region.
Adirondack Park Agency Idea" - By Carol W. LaGrasse,
President, Property Rights Foundation of America, Inc., Thirteenth
Annual National Conference on Private Property Rights (PRFA,
Lake George, N.Y., October 17, 2009)
The idea of the Forest Preserve changed from one of protection
of the forest in the late nineteenth century to assure a benefit
to the state as a whole (primarily the protection of the flow
of water to assure commercial navigation on the Erie Canal and
the Hudson River) while extending fair policy to the local people,
to the current state policy of radical preservation, massive
state land acquisition, and a systematic program to cause the
depopulation of the local people in a vast region many times
the size of the original Forest Preserve.
Acquisitions for Adirondack Forest Preserve Have Monumental Hunting
Impact" - Two-page flyer published by Property Rights
Foundation of America, Inc., February 8, 2009
The Department of Environmental Conservation misleads the
public about the purpose of land acquisitions for the Forest
Preserve. State ownership does not to increase access, as claimed.
This flyer summarizes ten years of DEC's actions to impede
and close hunting access; eliminate hunting camps; lock out snowmobilers,
ATV's, and motorized vehicles; and close roads and state
campsites. A roster of major land acquisitions is also included.
Proposed State Tax Cap Would Be A Tax Outrage" - By
Carol W. LaGrasse, Property Rights Foundation of America, Inc.
Reduced size version (pdf) of advertisement that appeared in
the Adirondack Journal, January 31, 2009
A cap on the State payment of property taxes to localities
within the 6,000,000-acre Adirondack region would gradually cause
a damaging and destructive shift of the tax burden to the already
restricted and weak local economies. Fair play demands that the
Legislature's long-established doctrine to pay local taxes
Tax Cap Threatens 125-Year-Old Covenant to Pay Local Taxes"
- By Carol W. LaGrasse, Property Rights Foundation of America,
Inc., February 12, 2009
When the New York State Legislature established the Adirondack
Forest Preserve, the Legislature followed the recommendations
of the official commission, which concluded that because the
protection of the forest "would be chiefly for the
benefit of the rest of the State," the State should
"hereafter bear taxes upon its lands in the Adirondack
region." It may take 125 years, but with control
of much of the land, preservationists control the tax base and
in Opposition to Issuance of Tax-exempt Bonds to Finance The
Nature Conservancy Acquisition of the former Finch, Pruyn &
Co. Lands" - By Carol W. LaGrasse, President, Property
Rights Foundation of America, Inc., December 2, 2008 (Public
Hearing held by the Colorado Educational and Cultural Facilities
Authority, City of Glens Falls, N.Y.)
The proposed issuance of $45 million in tax exempt bonds by
the Colorado authority to refinance The Nature Conservancy's
borrowing to acquire the 160,540 acres of Finch, Pruyn &
Co. lands in the Adirondack "Park" should
be disapproved by the IRS because the transfer of this acreage
in fee simple and perpetual conservation easements will foreclose
forever the development of these lands, further desiccating the
economy and future of the communities. About 100 square miles
of the tract, the finest timber producing land, would be transmitted
in fee simple to become part of the "forever wild"
Forest Preserve, where logging would be prohibited.
on Granting The Nature Conservancy Tax-exempt Loan to Pay for
the Purchase of Finch Pruyn land in the Adirondacks, New York
State" - By Peter J. LaGrasse, Chairman, Stony Creek
Board of Assessors, December 2, 2008 (Public Hearing held by
the Colorado Educational and Cultural Facilities Authority, City
of Glens Falls, N.Y.)
Using the example of the eradication of development potential
in a selected section of Stony Creek by TNC's planned
sale to the State of New York of either conservation easements
or fee simple title, the chairman of the board of assessors of
the Town of Stony Creek explains his opposition to the grant
of the tax-exempt bonding bailout of The Nature Conservancy to
reduce its cost of borrowing to acquire the former Finch Pruyn
- John Maye Personal Statement
Against Tax-exempt Bonds for The Nature Conservancy - Transcript
from public hearing held by the Colorado Educational and Cultural
Facilities Authority at City Hall, Glens Falls, N.Y., December
After John Maye and his wife moved into their camp, The Nature
Conservancy approached the couple several times to sell their
property, but they weren't interested. "The
Nature Conservancy was aware of the conjured up violations by
APA and DEC to force the sale of my property
March 28, 2008
my total maximum penalty was $2,962,000
enforcement penalty was dropped after four years, but the toll
on his health remains great.
in Opposition to Tax-exempt Bonds for The Nature Conservancy
to Acquire Land in the Adirondacks - By Howard Aubin, Councilman,
Town of Black Brook, N.Y., E-mail to Frederic H. Marienthal,
Attorney for Colorado Educational and Cultural Facilities Authority,
November 25, 2008
Requirements of IRS Code Sec. 147 for local government approval
have not been met. In addition, The Nature Conservancy contacted
an elderly couple this summer to buy their property and when
the couple refused to sell, the Adirondack Park Agency threatened
the couple with a $2.962 million fine. "Giving such
a bond to the Nature Conservancy only helps them to terrorize
more people within the Adirondacks."
Tax-Exempt Bonds for TNC's New York Land-Grab" - By
Carol W. LaGrasse, PRFA, November 2008
The Nature Conservancy is looking to the Colorado Educational
and Cultural Facilities Authority to rescue it from the level
of interest payments it is experiencing on $45 million that it
borrowed to acquire 160,540 acres of forestland in the Adirondacks
from paper manufacturer Finch, Pruyn and Co. to flip to the state
as "Forever wild" Forest Preserve and
- "Property Rights
Around New York" - By Carol W. LaGrasse, President,
Property Rights Foundation of America, Inc. (Speech to the Building
& Realty Institute of Westchester and the Mid-Hudson Region,
White Plains, N.Y., September 11, 2008)
On the anniversary of 9/11, the insidious attempt to repeal
new building code protections of high-rise office occupants that
were the culmination of the work of the best minds in fire protection
and engineering points to the true need for government that would
protect the economy and property rights of New Yorkers by dealing
with dictatorial historic preservation, NIMBY obstruction of
local development, utility obstruction, warrantless rental inspections,
overzealous wetland protection, free-wheeling eminent domain,
and limitless preservation-oriented land acquisition.
Brook Wins First Round in Fight to Block Land Acquisition"
- by Carol W. LaGrasse (PRFA, April 30, 2008)
Acting Clinton County Supreme Court Justice Patrick R. McGill
ruled on April 21, 2008 that the State of New York could not
justify its motion to dismiss the lawsuit brought by the Town
of Black Brook and Howard Aubin, personally, to assert the local
veto power of the State's acquisition of 15,000 acres
of Finch Pruyn lands within the town. The veto power was established
by the Environmental Protection Fund act in 1993.
Strangling the North Country" - by Carol W. LaGrasse
(PRFA, March 18, 2008)
The Governor should reject the privately negotiated land deal
between the DEC and The Nature Conservancy to acquire 57,699
acres of productive land that was formerly owned by Finch, Pruyn
and Co. of Glens Falls for the "forever wild"
Adirondack Forest Preserve and 73,627 acres of conservation easements,
the bulk of the rest of the Finch, Pruyn land. Adding these vast
acreages to the 3 million acres of Forest Preserve and nearly
700,000 acres of DEC conservation easements will further squeeze
the economy and future of the North Country
- "Taxes on State
Lands," excerpt from Report of the Comptroller to the
New York State Legislature, 1885 Assembly Document #36, (January
23, 1885, pp. 21- 24)
This excerpt, entitled "Taxes on State Lands,"
from the Report of Comptroller Alfred C. Chapin to the Legislature
is the result of the work of a commission appointed pursuant
ty the Legislature in 1884 to "investigate and report
a system of forest preservation" related to the "forests
covering the Adirondack Plateau and the relations which these
forests bear to the commercial and industrial interests of the
State." The recommendations of the commission, known
as the Sargent Commission, were of paramount influence in establishing
the state's Forest Preserve policies, including that for
State payment of taxes on the Forest Preserve lands. The commission's
principle concern was the effect of forest devastation on "the
water-sheds of the principal streams of the State."
v. State of New York, Threat to Adirondack Tax Base"
- By Peter LaGrasse, Chairman, Board of Assessors, Town of Stony
Creek (March 3, 2008)
This paper shows the results of Peter LaGrasse's research
into the history and law involving the case Dillenburg v.
State of New York. The historical documents demonstrate the
motivation of the framers of the 1886 legislation providing for
the state payments of taxes on the Forest Preserve land on the
basis of statewide benefit. However, LaGrasse expresses concern
with the State Supreme Court Chautauqua County (which is under
appeal) decision because this court precisely followed a State
Court of Appeals case.
Sound, Consistent Policy" - "Worth Commenting"
By Carol W. LaGrasse, PRFA, January 2008
Since 1886, the State has paid real estate taxes on its Adirondack
Forest Preserve, now amounting to three million acres contained
within the six million-acre "Blue Line"
of government and private land in northern New York, because
the State-owned lands provide a statewide benefit of, first,
watershed protection, and, additionally, more recently, environmental
preservation envisioned by statewide residents. The economic
sacrifice of the 100-plus towns and villages in the Adirondacks
has been recognized for over a century, as well. Legal action
to end these tax payments, in Dillenburg vs. State of New
York, is not justified.
Growth' to the Rescue" - By Carol W. LaGrasse (PRFA,
July 27, 2007)
The Spitzer Administration announced on July 17 that it was
setting aside $1 million for "smart growth"
planning to revitalize the economy of the Adirondack region.
But the Adirondack region already suffers from the groundbreaking
1973 smart growth-style Adirondack Park Agency Act. The economic
difficulty of the of the 12-county Adirondack region is caused
by the State Adirondack Park Agency's radical land use
controls and the State's voracious appetite for land,
driving up the price of real estate beyond local means and leaving
little land for any practical use.
Radical Preservation" - By Carol W. LaGrasse (Reprinted
from New York Property Rights Clearinghouse, Vol. 11,
No. 2, Spring 2007)
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, known
as DEC, has (with the State parks office) finalized its new Open
Space Conservation Plan, dated November 2006, but available only
during spring 2007. The plan reveals that the State currently
owns 4,327,000 acres in fee simple plus 731,000 acres in conservation
easements to save "open space," or a
total of 5,058,ooo acres. All government "open space"
land ownership in New York, in both fee simple and conservation
easements, totals 5,486,500 acres. In 424 pages plus nine appendices,
the plan describes the means of government ownership and control
to preserve open space and the countless new goals to acquire
and control more land.
York Property Rights Directions"-Speech by Carol W.
LaGrasse, Cato Institute Conference-"Property Rights on
the March: Where from Here," December 1, 2006, Washington,
An overview of where property rights stand in New York, what
the directions are, and where the work for our cause has been
effective: focusing on the battle to keep land in private hands,
holding off extreme land-use regulation, the issue of conservation
easements, regional preservationist land-use battles, ubiquitous
zoning conflicts; and eminent domain.
Space Plan Announces Another Feeding Frenzy on Private Property"-By
Carol W. LaGrasse (PRFA, February 2006)
DEC's 2005 Draft Open Space Conservation Plan is based
on unjust treatment of rural New Yorkers, insider relationships
with land trusts, and violation of environmental law. The plan
should be revamped and reissued in draft form to comply with
environmental law, revealing government land ownership and protection
inventories for each political subdivision and with the full
extent of the ultimate acquisition plan divulged for the state
and each political subdivision.
Unjust, and Irresponsible" - by Carol W. LaGrasse (PRFA,
January 17, 2006)
DEC 2005 Draft Open Space Plan fails to reveal full extent
and impact of its land acquisition plans, violates the principles
of environmental justice and good government.
- "They've Got a Little List"
- An original poem by Susan Allen. The poem was read at the DEC
hearing for the Open Space Plan at Ray Brook, New York on Nov.
14, 2001. Inspired by The Mikado, with apologies to Gilbert
Announces Acquisition of over 26,000 acres of International Paper
Company land in Adirondacks" - PRFA Bulletin, October
In early October, DEC circulated Governor Pataki's
announcement that the State and The Nature Conservancy (TNC)
have agreed to preserve 26,562 acres of land in the Adirondacks
primarily in Hamilton County, that TNC recently acquired from
International Paper Company (IP) for $10.5 million. The land
deal appears to be a mix of fee simple and conservation easements,
modeled after the Champion International acquisition.
Announces Preservation of Adirondack Tracts" - Reprinted
from New York State Environment, published by the NYS
Department of Environmental Conservation, October 2001 (dated
Official press release about deal to acquire 26,562 acres
of International Paper Company land.
Justice in New York StateStatement to the DEC Environmental
Justice Advisory group, July 12, 2000, Albany, NY - by Carol W. LaGrasse,
President, Property Rights Foundation of America, Inc."
This statement, which was presented in Arbor Hill, Albany,
called attention to the DEC policy of deliberately pursuing policies
in the Adirondack North Country of massive land acquisition that
are eliminating the economic resource base and serving to accomplish
the extreme environmentalists' aim of de-populating the
area. In response to questions posed in the public invitation
to testify, the statement includes recommendations for environmental
acquisition push gains steam" - by Carol LaGrasse, reprinted
from Hamilton County News, Feb. 18, 1992
An array of programs created by environmental preservationists
are aligning to effectively promote government acquisition of
Adirondack land. (This February 1992 article, posted in May 2009,
sheds light on two decades so far of
land acquisition policy.)