Public Lands Policy

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It’s bad and it’s everywhere: Harmful algal blooms plague Owasco, Skaneateles, Cayuga lakes

"Prestigiacomo said the hub is looking at temperature, light availability, nutrients, salinity, pH and other kinds of data to try and determine what might be triggering the blooms. He referred to storms in July, which created "episodic pulses of nutrients followed by long, warm, kind of stagnant conditions like we're seeing now," a good formula for creating blooms. The forecast for at least the next week looks much the same."

Never Privatize Those Lands: An Open Letter To Steve H. Hanke

"The concept of privatizing public lands is a losing proposition for many reasons not the least of which is culture and heritage. There are those of us who still believe in the freedom of the American West and its wild places. It has value economists could not possibly equate to dollars and cents. I do not fault you for what appears to be a disconnect with how some of us might feel about something like public lands and all that goes with it. I do take issue with you and others who see no more value in it than some economic multiple “if only it were in the hands of the private sector.” Again I am a big believer in the private sector in the proper time and place, this isn’t it."

"Sadly, your view is missing a value beyond comprehension when it comes to what public lands represent and what they actually support in terms of rural values and the most successful wildlife system in the world. We could discuss management of public lands or the lack thereof in places but that is for another day. Public lands must remain public if we are going to have any chance of keeping our American wildlife system alive. It is that simple."

"Once the vastness of our American public lands is gone, it’s gone forever. And one thing I suspect about economists is at some point in the future they will be on to something else to generate a new multiple and the once public lands will be yesterday’s inventory. I invite you to come experience what our public lands offer, maybe you will see it differently. Come on out to the West and see from the ground what our public lands offer."

Glamping at Boreas Ponds: Not Your Grandfather’s Cabin Tents

"A key adjective in the current hut proposal is the word “temporary.” By this, we are to assume that whatever glamping structures are erected at Boreas Ponds will be removed every year on the shoulder seasons, thereby sidestepping the constitutional barrier that defeated Porter-Brereton. The 1932 proposal would have opened the door for permanent buildings, but a yurt or canvas tent can be put up or taken down as needed. “Temporary.”

"The state employees who are receptive to this idea will tell you as much, citing the fall hunting camp tradition as precedent. Every year, people routinely secure DEC permits to put up seasonal camping structures on state land, ranging from canvas cabin tents to parked trailers — enclosed structures that may remain in place for weeks or even months. If these temporary structures are permitted, then what can possibly be the objection to other temporary structures for summer use?"

"For starters, there is a difference between a warm tent put up every November for someone’s personal use, versus a tent put up on public land for commercial purposes. Because to be clear, the “luxury camping” envisioned by state officials and ACTLS is not the first-come walk-up convenience of a lean-to, but a curated camping service for which people will pay to stay. This already seems to run afoul of DEC’s regulations, which explicitly state that “use of State lands or any structures or improvements thereon for private revenue or commercial purposes is prohibited,” with certain exceptions."

"But the “temporary” nature of these proposed structures is also highly doubtful. Brendan Wiltse, my colleague at Adirondack Wilderness Advocates, was also the Johns Brook Property Coordinator at ADK for several years. During that time he became very familiar with the requirements of managing a backcountry, off-the-grid enterprise. In his experience, health regulations would likely make it impossible to provide “temporary” conveniences, because of the significant investment in infrastructure and maintenance."

Rural parks and wildlife areas, 1945-2007 in NY State

ERS has been a source of major land use estimates in the United States for over 50 years, and the related U.S. cropland used for crops series (Summary table 3 below) dates back to 1910 and is updated annually. The Major Land Uses (MLU) series is the longest running, most comprehensive accounting of all major uses of public and private land in the United States. The series was started in 1945, and has since been published about every 5 years, coinciding with the Census of Agriculture. Data Source:

The Endangered Species Act may be heading for the threatened list. This hearing confirmed it.

"In a comment to a former U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service director who testified at the hearing, Sen. James M. Inhofe (R-Okla.), repeated a point made by Barrasso that of more than 1,600 species listed as threatened or endangered since the act’s inception, fewer than 50 have been removed."

That’s about 3 percent of the total, the chairman said. “As a doctor, if I admit 100 patients to the hospital and only three recover enough to be discharged, I would deserve to lose my medical license,” Inhofe said.

This is a valid point. I suggest the use of federal quick-take eminent domain to take lands needed for protection of species. The federal government seizes the land, then the parties go to court to work out fair market value after the taking. We use quick-take eminent domain a lot for expressways and even things like office buildings, malls, pipelines and power plants, but not so much for conservation purposes.

DEC Exploring Lodging and Dining Facilities at Boreas Ponds

This is a terrible idea. I don't think there should be developed areas within the forest preserve. I oppose the creation of all new intensive use areas, because we don't need to be turning our woods into new city parks. If people want to go to developed city-like parks, I suggest they try the developed parks maintained by NYS OPRHP outside of the Adirondack Park.

If the state needs more money to maintain these areas, they should open them up to controlled logging and natural gas production, like with the state reforestation areas. Logging is a sustainable business that provides an essential economic product. It doesn't bring large crowds to the woods, nor does it generate much waste or pollution. It helps maintain a young, vibrant forest that will attract a wide of species. Such revenue should be dedicated solely towards the maintenance of state lands, such as trails, roads, parking areas, docks, primitive campsites, picnic tables and outhouses.

Pennsylvania's Department of Conservation and Natural Resources should be NY State's model. They maintain 2.2 million acres of state forest but also harvest it for timber and natural gas -- and put that money back into maintenance of rustic facilities for all of the public use. Their lands are litter free, their primitive parks are clean and well maintained, their roads are pothole-free and trails kept in top shape.