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Don’t open up state‘s new wilderness land to motorized vehicles

Wednesday, February 13, 2013
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Don’t open up state‘s new wilderness land to motorized vehicles

Re Jan. 28 article, “‘Wild Forest’ urged for tract”: Thanks to Steve Williams for his thorough coverage of how best to manage the magnificent new Adirondack wilderness tract that New York state just acquired from the Adirondack Nature Conservancy.

These tracts, the Essex Chain of Lakes and Upper Hudson River, are 18,000 acres in size and diverse in terms of topography, water features, habitats and capacity to withstand significant amounts of human recreational use. Thanks to Gov. Cuomo’s quick action, it’s all now part of our publicly owned forest preserve and must be “forever kept as wild forest land” (state constitution). How it is managed, however, makes a difference.

In recommending a wild forest classification for the chain of lakes, DEC wants to encourage a higher degree of motorized access by pick-up, snowmobile and float plane. Yet the guidelines in the state land master plan (part of the executive law) state that natural resources on our state lands are the paramount consideration, and recreational uses, while important, must not impair or degrade them.

These lakes are undeveloped, with boggy shorelines, rare plants and a valuable trout fishery easily polluted through introduction of bait fish or invasive plants and animals.

Given such sensitive resources, it seems apparent that wilderness management is called for, best achieved by a wilderness or canoe classification (see definitions in the master plan at www.apa.ny.gov). Motorized access should end some distance from the lakes, special fishing regulations should be adopted, and visitors should have to expend physical effort to reach the lakes by foot.

Use of lightweight canoes and kayaks to explore the chain of lakes will prove popular. Under the master plan, a wild forest classification makes more sense to the north of the lakes where the access roads are, and where snowmobiling, motorized access for hunting, and mountain biking can best be accommodated.

There is a range of yearly recreational opportunity and economic advantages from tourism. But the true and lasting value of these tracts is not to be measured in degrees of access today, but in the knowledge that this wilderness exists in New York state by those who may never set foot on it, and the “forever promise” to coming generations in our state constitution.

David Gibson

Ballston Lake

The writer is a partner with Adirondack Wild: Friends of the Forest Preserve.

Re Jan. 30 AP article, “In Malian city, Islamists hunted down”: More U.S. soldiers shipped off to another country for war!

As horrible as the headline sounds, there are Islamic extremists taking control over multiple towns in Mali. While the government is trying to take back their country, they ask for reinforcements. Soldiers from France, Chad and now the United States are coming to Mali’s aid. The Pentagon even signed an agreement pledging its help and money.

Having family and friends who are, or have, served our country, I know how difficult it is to send off your loved ones.

I think we should recall our troops from Mali and just help them financially. Mali has enough troops. While we are trying to help overseas, our own country is in need and could use troops back home, cutting the money we are spending sending them to other countries and helping the United States out of its unemployment and debt.

The wars have gone on long enough, and there is nothing to show for our benefit.

Emmali Cabral

Burnt Hills

Muni needs Jeffers, not a full-fledged PGA pro

As a frequent player at the beautiful Schenectady Municipal Golf Course, I read with interest about the loss of the pro, Brian Damon.

We all know that Schenectady is stressed for funds. Since the golf course produces much-needed positive cash flow for the city, I would like to propose a cost-saving alternative to the hiring of a full-fledged PGA [Professional Golfers’ Association] pro.

Brendon Jeffers, a young Schenectady native, has served as an assistant at the course for the past two years. He is a fine player, popular with the clientele, has capably administered the weekly “Loop” tournament for at least the last year and is totally familiar with all the workings of the golf course.

Brendon, who doesn’t know I am writing this letter, is a graduate of Schenectady High School and resides in the city. He has a love of the game of golf, and I am sure he could use this opportunity as a stepping stone to full-fledged PGA pro status, and eventually, bigger and better things.

We patrons of the course would get the services of a bright and capable young man eager to put in the long hours necessary to keep Muni a contributor to city finances and a crown jewel of the Schenectady recreation scene.

I hope the mayor and City Council will consider this alternative and interview Brendon for the position.

Richard Alvarez

Schenectady

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