Public Lands Policy

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Questions? Need an updated map? Email me andy@andyarthur.org.

Map: Pine Lake

Map: Pine Lake

168-acre lake near Kane Mountain in the Shaker Mountain Wild Forest. There is public access to Pine Lake from the end of Pine Lake Road, off of NY 10/NY 29A. The one end of the lake is highly developed with camps and the private Pine Lake Campground.

Cougars Officially Declared Extinct in Eastern U.S., Removed from Endangered Species List

"Eastern cougars once roamed every U.S. state east of the Mississippi, but it has been eight decades since the last confirmed sighting of the animal. Now, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has officially declared the subspecies extinct and removed it from the U.S. endangered species list."

"The decision, announced Monday, is the result of years of deliberation. The agency conducted an extensive review of the eastern cougar in 2011, and recommended it be removed from the endangered and threatened species list in 2015, Reuters reported. The species, also known as pumas, are the genetic cousins of mountain lions in the Western United States and of Florida panthers, which are now found only in the Everglades."

DEC-OPRHP Land Acquired (by Fee), 1990-2016

The commissioners of DEC and OPRHP annually report to the Governor and appropriate legislative leaders their land acquisition activities for the preceding calendar year, as required by State Environmental Protection Fund Legislation. The reports document land acquisition activities undertaken using funding from multiple sources such as the Environmental Protection Fund, the Natural Resources Damage Fund, Clean Water/Clean Air Bond Act, Court of Claims and Federal Forest Legacy Funds.

Data Source: Annual Land Acquisition Reports. http://www.dec.ny.gov/lands/63650.html, Accessed via. https://data.ny.gov/Energy-Environment/DEC-Land-Acquisition-Annual-Reports-Beginning-1990/jwv3-emfz/data

I am opposed to wilderness areas and public parks because I believe they overly restrict public use of public lands, banning many uses of public lands and restricting public access to the lands that were purchased for taxpayer dollars. Parks and wilderness areas are opposite sides of coin – intensively developed or preserved lands that limit public use and enjoyment. Many public uses are restricted in parks or require payment of fees, while other public uses are banned in wilderness areas. Wilderness areas and parks are de-funded lands, that provide no useful materials to mankind to cover the cost of their administration and maintenance (unless of course they charge user fees).

Opposition to wilderness and public parks does not mean opposition to public lands or public use of lands. Nor does mean that one is pro-development or primarily concerned with the extraction of timber or mineral resources. Wilderness and parks opposition in contrast stands in support of sustainable use of public lands, one that sees a role in the state actively managing the land for a wide variety of primitive, rustic uses of the land.

In opposition to wilderness and parks, I support multiple use of public lands as implemented in our National Forests and State Forests. As Gifford Pinchot would say, “the greatest good, for the greatest number of people, over the greatest amount of time.” Well-managed forests can not only provide timber in support of the wood products and paper industries, it can provide multi-successional growth to produce a diverse and healthy forest habitat. Cows can keep fields open and habitat for birds and wildlife. Oil and gas wells that are properly regulated can provide an immense amount of wealth to government land managers that can invest it back into the land, building things like trails, roads and bridges. Natural resources harvested from the land are much like advertisements on commercial television — necessary to keep the free service up and running.

Public lands should be free, wild and rustic in character. While public use should be encouraged, our forests should not become developed parks. Forest roads should be dirt, campsites should be spread out and lightly developed – no more then a fire ring, a picnic table, and a pit privy. Let users bring their own equipment and set it up as they like. If they want to shoot guns, play loud music, have bonfires, knock down some cold ones, all the more power to them – as long as they restore the land to how they found it when they got there. Trails should be lightly developed, maintained to limit mud and provide reasonable crossings across rivers, using bridges made out of wood or darkly painted steel. Signs should be limited and of rustic character. Boat launches should be gravel with no extensively developed features.

Forest infrastructure should be designed to discourage people from aggregating in any one particular area, even if certain vistas or natural features may be naturally attractive for people. Spreading out campsites and providing a variety of trail routes is one to keep farther apart to protect the wilderness character. Different roads can provide different places to explore and the people should be educated about different options to explore. At the same time, by limiting infrastructure to dirt roads, limiting signege and promotion of land, it can keep public use down to a sustainable level.

By limiting infrastructure and implementing sustainable harvests of natural resources, public lands can remain funded and free for public use.

State Forests over 4,000 Acres

There are 39 state forests in New York State that are more then 4,000 acres.

State Forest Acres
Frank E. Jadwin Memorial State Forest 20,576
Brasher State Forest 19,748
Lesser Wilderness State Forest 13,819
Tug Hill State Forest 12,296
Deer River State Forest 12,274
Burnt-Rossman Hills State Forest 10,629
Sugar Hill State Forest 9,234
Winona State Forest 9,231
Pharsalia Woods State Forest 9,154
Charles E. Baker State Forest 9,060
Grant Powell State Forest 8,144
Danby State Forest 7,495
Titusville Mountain State Forest 7,483
Beartown State Forest 7,205
Beaver Creek State Forest 7,179
Hemlock-Canadice State Forest 6,885
Mcdonough State Forest 6,837
Stewart State Forest 6,650
Five Streams State Forest 6,371
Beaver Meadow State Forest 5,814
Rocky Point Pine Barrens State Forest 5,786
Sears Pond State Forest 5,704
Melondy Hill State Forest 5,657
Steam Mill State Forest 5,608
Chazy Highlands State Forest 5,538
Cuyler Hill State Forest 5,494
Shindagin Hollow State Forest 5,305
Morgan Hill State Forest 5,290
Bear Swamp State Forest 5,136
Terry Mountain State Forest 4,812
Turnpike State Forest 4,765
Lincklaen State Forest 4,629
Taylor Valley State Forest 4,610
Fall Brook State Forest 4,480
James Kennedy State Forest 4,440
Summer Hill State Forest 4,416
Wolf Lake State Forest 4,360
South Valley State Forest 4,255
Charleston State Forest 4,030

Acres of State DEC Land by County

Roughly 1/3rd of the DEC's State Land is located in Hamilton and Essex Counties. The Adirondack and Catskill Forest counties are other top locations for state lands, e.g. Herkimer, Warren, Franklin, St. Lawrence, Lewis, Ulster and Greene counties. Chenango, Delaware (partially Forest Preserve), Clinton (partially Forest Preserve), Oswego, and Allegany are top non-forest preserve counties for state land.

Could drilling rigs pop up in Bears Ears National Monument in Utah?

There has previously been some drilling inside the monument but the last well stopped producing in 1992. Now, there are dozens of old, abandoned oil and gas wells still there. But Ruple is skeptical that drilling could start back up in any serious way.

“That area is just too inaccessible. The oil and gas potential is very low and the cost of getting any product out to a refinery and to market would be very high,” Ruple said.