Promoting Sustainability of Ownership and Stewardship of Private Lands in the Adirondacks Since 1990.
The Adirondack Landowners Association is focused on the unique responsibilities, challenges and opportunities of owning private land in a region that in both principle and practice is a park. Learn more. Consider joining today.
ALA Spring Membership Meeting - May 13-14, 2016
The ALA will once again hold its annual Spring Membership Meeting at Minnowbrook Conference Center in Blue Mt. Lake. The location is beautiful and it has all of the resources needed to host a great meeting. The dates are Friday and Saturday, May 13th and 14th, 2016.
Our spring event will feature the traditional Friday evening social hour and dinner, a display of ALA member property ‘story boards’ and hopefully some interesting after dinner remarks from some of our special guests. For Saturday morning we have two terrific programs. First we are honored to have Joseph Schneider, Director of the NYS EnCon Police as our special guest. Joe will be joined by Captain Dan Darrah, Supervisor of the Region 5 ECO’s. They will make a presentation on the unique role that Environmental Conservation Officers play in protecting the land and waters of New York State.
Part two of our meeting will be a presentation by Mark Whitmore a forest entomologist at Cornell University. Mark will focus on the threats related to the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid and other invasive species that are impacting the forests of New York State. You can watch a presentation on his work below.
Here are some photos from our Fall 2015 meeting at Minnowbrook:
Adirondack Landowners Featured in the NYS Conservationist
The ALA was recognized recently in a feature story which appeared in the NYS Conservationist. This article has been several years in the making and we are pleased that the private landowners in the Adirondack Park are receiving some well earned ink. The unique role that private lands play in the Adirondack Park is not well known to those outside the Blue Line. We are grateful for this opportunity to spread the news about the special partnership that exists in this special place.
Expanded Public Support for Forest Tax Law Reforms Remains a Challenge
The Adirondack Landowners Association is disappointed that efforts to streamline and enhance the New York State Real Property Tax Law, Section 480-a have temporarily stalled. Despite the initial request of the Governor for stakeholders to come together with the Department of Environmental Conservation and develop a consensus solution, the revised plan did not make it into the 2016 State-of-the-State/Budget message.
The current RPTL 480-a helps to preserve open space and sustain the forest products industry by providing landowners with property tax relief in exchange for a ten year commitment to keep lands undeveloped and in active forest management. The program creates what is in essence a 'rolling easement', which is a very appealing option for landowners who may be reluctant to give up important rights in perpetuity. Unfortunately, the current program is underutilized. Out of roughly 50,000 eligible owners in New York, only 3,300 are enrolled. This translates into only 1.1 million acres enrolled out of a potential 7 million acres. In addition, the current program puts costly and unnecessary administrative burdens on both the participants and the DEC.
The Adirondack Landowners Association, along with many other groups, has played an active role in developing forest tax law reform efforts. These reforms would have encouraged the best forest management practices, increased the eligible acreage and promoted forest practices that enhanced wildlife habitat and other environmental benefits. We were looking forward to seeing a substantial increase in enrolled acreage, both in the Adirondacks and across New York State. There is still time for legislative action this session to implement needed reform in the Real Property Tax Law. In the mean time, the tax burden continues to be a problem and millions of acres of forest lands across New York that could have been protected under the reforms will remain vulnerable to subdivision and development.
From the ALA President,
Thomas E. Williams
2015 was an interesting and exciting year for the Adirondack Landowners Association. We celebrated our 25th Anniversary at a great spring meeting held at Minnowbrook Conference Center in Blue Mt. Lake. We were honored to have a number of special guests including, NYS Senator Betty Little and DEC Assistant Commissioner for Natural Resources, Kathy Moser. Our Friday nite social hour featured a display of ‘story boards’ about many of our ALA members. The Saturday morning meeting included a retrospective of our first 25 years, with presentations from Bill Hutchens, Sr., Peter Bertine, Wilbur Rice, Neil Skotarczak and Justin Potter. This entertaining review of where we came from, and what we have accomplished, set the stage for our fall meeting.
Building on the success of the spring meeting we really pulled out all the stops for the fall event, which was once again held at Minnowbrook in Blue Mt. Lake. Our Friday night program included a live and silent auction along with a great social hour and dinner. We were delighted to have Peter Walke, Assistant Secretary for the Environment as our special guest speaker. The Friday night festivities were followed by a very unique and educational Saturday morning meeting.
Members were asked to split into small ‘work shop groups’, each lead by an ALA board member, to discuss ideas and initiatives for the ALA in the years ahead. It was a very successful experiment that produced a variety of excellent suggestions on how the ALA can better serve its members and the Adirondack community at large.
One of the most important topics that has been discussed by the board, and also presented at membership meetings, is that of ‘participation’. An organization like the ALA needs the help and support of its members to truly be successful. We have dedicated committees for the following: Events, Communications, Stewardship, Legal Affairs and Membership...all of these committees need volunteers. I would encourage you to consider joining a committee and helping to make our organization more successful in the years ahead. So, if the future of the ALA is important to you...please reach out to a board member and let them know you want to help.
Our Spring Membership Meeting will take place May 13/14, 2016, at Minnowbrook Conference Center in Blue Mt. Lake. We will be sending out a formal meeting announcement very soon. I hope to see many of you there as we begin the next 25 years of the ALA.