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Tackling environmental threats necessary to protecting the Park
December 28, 2018

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We'd like to thank all the environmental groups and state agencies that participated in our series, "Top 5 Environmental Threats to the Adirondack Park."

The following groups gave us their top threats, and we created a list based on the ones that appeared more than others: Adirondack Council, Adirondack Mountain Club, Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program, Adirondack Wild, Paul Smith's College Adirondack Watershed Institute, Protect the Adirondacks, and the state Adirondack Park Agency and Department of Environmental Conservation.

The top 5 environmental threats to the Adirondack Park - based on our non-scientific survey - are the following:

1. Invasive species

2. Climate change

3. Pollution

4. Lack of state funding for protecting the natural resources

5. Overuse of the Forest Preserve

We tried to explore the history of each threat, how it affects the Adirondack Park and why it's important to solve the problems created by the threat. We proposed solutions and asked, "At what point will it no longer be a threat?"

For some - such as pollution, climate change and invasive species - we've come to the conclusion that they will always be an environmental threat to the Adirondack Park. Recognizing that they will never go away, we are left with dealing with these threats the best ways we can on the local, regional, state and federal levels.

Since the Park was created in 1892, we've always known this is a special place on Earth and that the natural resources are worth protecting. We knew it in 1894 when the Forever Wild clause was added to the state constitution; now known as Article XIV, it brings the state-owned Forest Preserve lands under the state's highest level of protection. We knew it in 1971 when the APA was created to develop long-range land-use plans for the Park's public and private lands.

Just look at images of the Adirondack Park from space, and you will see a 6-million-acre green oasis surrounded by gray shades of development. The Park is surrounded by threats coming from all sides - north, south, east and west - on the ground, in the water and from the air.

While we call the Adirondack Park's boundary the "Blue Line," there is no bubble keeping threats out. Some - such as climate change - are simply out of our control. Others - such as the threat from road salt distribution on highways - can be managed within the Blue Line.

We applaud the groups and state agencies who have taken on the task to protect the natural resources of the Adirondack Park.

We ask the state of New York, which created the Park, to offer more finances and staffing to the DEC and APA in order for them to protect the natural resources more thoroughly. But money won't solve every problem. State and federal political will and legislation will help. The threats will only get worse. Now is the time to double down on New York's environmental commitment.

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