Monday, February 14, 2011

Indian Givers in the Adirondacks

The phrase "Indian Giver" is often thought to be a slur upon Native Americans but if you give any thought to it based upon history, the phrase should be seen as a slur upon the US Government and its treatment of Indians - broken promises, broken treaties when ever it is conveinient to screw the Indians.

A similar situation is taking place here in the Adirondacks.

A few years back, local governments (towns) approved a plan by The Nature Conservancy (TNC) to purchase over 160,000 acres of forest land from a paper company known as Finch Pryun. The towns needed to approve the deal because TNC wanted to resell a portion of the land as an easement to the state and sell the balance outright in fee to the state to make it part of the Forever Wild Forest Preserve. This was required because in the Adirondacks under current law, no one can sell their land to the state unless the local municipalities approve. Part of the deal on the easement lands was that those lands would be kept in timber production and the easement would allow free public access, including snowmobile trails that would connect the towns and provide much needed winter revenue to the towns.

It was largely because of the new and expanded snowmobile trail system that the towns agreed to sign off and approve the deal.

Fast forward to the end of last month when a group known as the Adirondack Park Local Government Review Board passed a resolution oppossing the fee purchase portion of the deal by the state from TNC just AFTER the state purchased the conservation easement to provide the snowmobile trails already in use and other expanded recreational opportunities to the public. Their argument is that lumbering jobs will be lost on the lands slated to become part of the Forest Preserve and the state, so the resolutions says, cannot afford to spend about $60,000,000 to purchase the land.

While it might be argued that the state might not currently have money to spend on land purchases in the Adirondack Park during difficlut economic times, the loss of logging jobs is highly questionable. But these arguments are beside the point because the main and never ending argument of the Review Board and many in local government is that the state shouldn't purchase any more land to be included the the Forest Preserve. In addition, if they could find away to do it, they would have the state start to sell off the Forest Preserve to second home developers and log all of the forerests in the Adirondacks until there is nothing left to log. They won't say this openly but this is what they wish would happen.

Forget about the wishes, dreams and other assorted fantasies of some in local governments and the special interest groups who lobby them, the fact of the matter is that the local governments did sign on to the deal and now after they got the snowmobile trails they wanted so desperately, are perfectly willing to renage on the deal - just like the Federal Government has done in the past and continues to do when it comes to Native Americans

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