Wednesday, June 17, 2009

APA, DEC and Tall Grass

If you live in the Adirondack State Park you almost certainly have nothing good to say about the Adirondack Park Agency (APA). The APA was created in 1971, by a law enacted by the New York State legislature, to oversee land development in the Adirondacks.

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation was created in 1970. Their mission is "To conserve, improve and protect New York's natural resources and environment and to prevent, abate and control water, land and air pollution, in order to enhance the health, safety and welfare of the people of the state and their overall economic and social well-being"

I would guess that most people living in the State of NY and elsewhere in the country would support the mission of these two agencies, although not necessarily how they go about carrying out their missions. Who, in their right mind, would be in favor of unregulated development of one our National Parks (other than maybe staunch Bush supporters).

The Adirondack Park, on the other hand, is unlike the National Parks in that people live in the Adirondack Park. A significant portion of Adirondack State Park is privately owned. This causes problems.

One of the biggest problems in the last few weeks, seems to be the tall grass growing outside the DEC and APA buildings in Raybrook, NY. Local people seem to be incensed about this, if the calls into "Talk of the Town" the last 3 weeks are any indication. That's right, one of the bigger problems facing the State of NY is that two major environmental agencies are allowing the grass in front of their building to grow wild. You would think the local world as we know it is coming to an end.

What are the grass complaints really about? Simple, locals HATE the APA. Locals do not want to be regulated, especially by "downstaters". Rather than taking the time and energy to really investigate a valid basis for their hate of the APA, it is much easier to call talk of the town and complain about unmowed grass. So two agencies whose purpose is to protect one of the last great stands of forest and wild areas in NY are allowing the area outside their buildings to grow wild. It's ironic that people are so incensed about this considering the real areas of visual pollution that exist in the local area. But then again, those areas are privately owned by people who believe they should not be regulated. That makes those dumpy properties A-OK.

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