Energy Issue Requires a Rational Approach
Letter to the Editor
Published in The Post-Star, Glens Falls, N.Y., November 13, 2008
The joint letter by Ken Williams and Don Keech (Post-Star, Nov. 7) rightly encourages the government to create jobs by harvesting the Adirondack forest.
But the writers refer to only to "thousands of acres" of Adirondack forest. Within the Blue Line are actually three million acres of privately owned forestland, most of which are productively managed, and a roughly equal number of acres of state-owned forestland. The irony is that, amid the expressions of concern by state officials about the cost of heating homes in the North Country, none dare to tackle the sacrosanct "forever wild" status of the state-owned lands.
In addition, none of the state officials are standing in opposition to the deal being cut between the DEC and The Nature Conservancy, which acquired Finch, Pruyn and Company's 161,000 acres this year. The Conservancy intends to funnel 57,699 acres of the most productive forestlands from these holdings to the state as "forever wild," never to be harvested again.
Few people today realize that the "forever wild" amendment was passed for commercial purposes. The legislative hearing record prior to the amendment's passage in 1885 reveals that the measure was an emergency action to protect navigation on the Erie Canal and Hudson River, where summer water levels were dropping precipitously because of radical cutting of the watershed.
Forestry experts thought that when the emergency passed the amendment would be modified to allow modern forest management of the state-owned lands. That time has long arrived.
Today, the energy issue urgently demands a rational approach to forest management. The time has come for the legislature to revisit the "forever wild" clause.
CAROL W. LAGRASSE