A vast array of environmental organizations direct their efforts toward tying up private land in regulation and eliminating private property ownership in northern New York and New England. They continually generate new organizations and front groups, which has resulted in a confusing array of entities.
In addition, the movement in reaction has crystallized in a large number of organizations to defend private property ownership and traditional government, which offers constitutional protections for property owners and is a defense for the embattled local communities. Several of the activist organizations have dropped out, but information about them is often needed. Furthermore, trade organizations and numerous non-profit and civic groups have been drawn into the debate about the use of land in the North Country, some more actively than others. Some well-funded entities play a role in the battle indirectly, seeming to be non-partisan, but supporting programs that weaken private property rights, constitutional government, and home rule.
In addition to controlling several million acres of government-owned land, governmental agencies have immense power over private land. Some agencies that seem to have no direct power over private property actually are involved in an orchestrated effort to increase government control over private land and government land ownership.
This compilation was created in response to this confusing array of organizational entities. The directory is intended to include pertinent information about organizations and government agencies headquartered in the Adirondacks and elsewhere that have played or attempted to play a role in the treatment of private property rights, home rule, the economy, and environmental preservation in the Adirondacks and the northern New England Forest.
The directory contains material selected to be helpful in knowing the current, and perhaps future, areas of action of organizations with interests related to land issues in the Adirondacks and their true positions. Largely compiled between 1999 and 2001, the directory is being gradually updated. Although some entries are incomplete because of time constraints, this edition is published with the information omitted because this sort of background is so often requested. Much additional information is available from PRFA. The directory includes seventy active organizations, ten government agencies, and four defunct organizations, making a total of 84 entities.
For over a dozen years, the environmental preservationists have been dubbing the largely forested area stretching from New York State near Lake Erie to the eastern part of Maine at the New Brunswick border as one vast "Northern Forest" toward which they direct their preservation efforts. Because of that emphasis by the environmentalists, this directory includes a number of groups whose activities directly relate to the northern New England forest because of their common interests with Adirondack groups or, in the case of environmental groups, because they are actively involved in efforts affecting the Adirondacks both indirectly and directly.
Where information in quotation marks is not sourced, the material in quotation marks is directly from official publications that are meant to describe that organization and which are put out by the organization.
During late 1999, the production of certain repetitive categories of information for this directory was greatly facilitated. The web site "GuideStar" began publishing increased detail of financial information and data such as board of directors from IRS 990 forms that "publicly supported" 501(c)(3) non-profits have to file. Without this single web site, the systematic accumulation of such information about many of the organizations would have been quite expensive.
Cooperation in obtaining the annual reports of not-profit organizations from the State of New York has declined greatly since the beginning of the Pataki Administration. It can take several weeks just to find out the price of the copying involved. Guidestar relieves this problem when minimal information is sought.
Furthermore, organizations of both a supposedly "friendly" and unfriendly nature refused or simply failed to send their annual reports (which would include their finances and boards of directors) when requested. One nationally prominent "friendly" organization falsely said that it did not produce IRS reports and could not furnish any other financial information. Fortunately, much of the information for that organization was ultimately available from Guidestar.
The systematic information about the finances, the lists of boards of directors, etc., is largely drawn from official and cooperating sources. The other information, namely that about the history and activities of the organizations and their board members is also drawn from the files of the author, as well as from interviews and publications of the organization.
Most of the organizations from which information was directly sought were extremely helpful. It is impossible to thank each one individually, but their help was much appreciated.
Carol W. LaGrasse
Stony Creek, New York