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.
A Note from ALA President Tom Williams
As I write this, winter has appeared once again. Following the big storm in March, we are getting an April’s Fools event which has covered the Adirondacks in a nice blanket of wet snow. But, it won’t be long until spring finaly takes hold and we can focus on opening camp, catching some ice out trout and the annual ALA Spring Meeting at Minnowbrook.
2016 was a busy year for the ALA…we hosted two meetings along with the presentation of our 2016 ALA Stewardship Award to the Adirondack Lakes Alliance. Our membership grew, as we added 4 new regular members to our growing list of Adirondack landowners. I had the pleasure to visit the Livingston Lake Club for their annual 4th of July meeting…it was great to spend time with one of our founding members.
The ALA board and our Senior Advisor Ross Whaley, have been busy keeping tabs on various legislative items, along with a great deal of work on one of our major priorities, a new 480b Forestry Tax Law. Budget negotiations and the usual last minute juggling in the legislature leave many items in question…hopefully we will know more in the very near future.
I hope to see many of you at Minnowbrook in May…it is always great to see old friends and perhaps make some new ones. We have invited Town of North Hudson Supervisor, Ron Moore and Rob Davies, Director of Lands & Forests for DEC to be our special guests along with a number of key Adirondack leaders.
Please make an effort to attend the spring meeting, encourage your fellow members to do the same…your voice and participation are critical to the success of our organization.
2017 ALA Spring Meeting
The annual spring membership meeting was held at Minnowbrook Conference Center on May 5th and 6th. Minnowbrook is a great setting and the folks there, really go out of their way for us. Prior to the meeting a number of our members enjoyed a tour of the Adirondack Experience [formerly the Adirondack Museum].
We had a great turnout for the Friday night reception and dinner as well as the Saturday morning meeting.
Friday evening was a memorable gathering…great food and conversation along with some interesting after dinner discussion. We were honored to have a number of Adirondack officials in attendance including; Assemblymen Marc Butler, Bill Jones and Dan Stec along with Senator Betty Little. Also in attendance were Bill Farber, Fred Monroe and Sherman Craig. Our guest speaker on Friday night was North Hudson Town Supervisor, Ron Moore. Ron talked about the new Exit 29 “Gateway Project” that is being developed in his town. NYS is planning to invest $32 million dollars to create a new tourist camping and recreational complex.
The Saturday morning meeting presentations focused on forestry related issues. Our first speaker was Rob Davies, NYS DEC Director of Lands and Forests. Rob was followed by Tom Gillman of F & W Forestry and Tom Bielli, District Conservationist for the USDA. All three speakers presented important information on private forestry and stewardship practices which was well received by our membership. This was followed by the members only portion of our meeting during which our Senior Advisor, Ross Whaley gave a detailed report on a number of important legislative issues facing the Adirondacks. Additionally, we welcomed 4 new associate members to the ALA.
Overall the meeting was successful, well attended and informative. The ALA will meet again the last weekend in October, 2017 at the Adirondack League Club.
Progress on Forest Tax Law - Maybe
The current Real Property Tax Law Section 480A provides New York State landowners with a property tax reduction of up to 80% if they commit to sustainable timber harvesting and put what is essentially a 10 year rolling easement on the enrolled property. Many members of the Adirondack Landowners Association are enrolled in the program. However, the number of eligible properties that are in the program is very low, and the program creates a lot of work for the Department of Environmental Conservation, which administers the program. Reform of the program to encourage greater participation, reduce the workload for DEC, and ensure that local towns are fully reimbursed has been desired for years.
In 2015, the DEC worked with stakeholders to work out the key details of reform to 480A. However, when Governor Cuomo announced his 2016-2017 budget there was no mention of reform. This year, however, Governor Cuomo announced it in his budget, calling it the “Empire Forest for the Future Initiative.”
The reforms have the support of the Adirondack Landowners Association and numerous other groups, including Audubon New York, The Nature Conservancy, New York Forest Owners Association, and the Empire State Forest Products Association, among others.
However, a big hold-up is the fact that funds have not been allocated to reimburse local municipalities affected by tax breaks given to landowners. We expect to have some movement on this new program during this legislative session…stay tuned.