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.
The Adirondacks Loses a Favorite Son
The Adirondack Landowners Association mourns the loss of George Canon, a true legend in the local government arena of Adirondack politics. George served as the Supervisor of Newcomb, NY from 1990-2015…a quarter of a century of public service.
George began as Supervisor during the contentious days of the 21st Century Commission on the Adirondacks…a time of great debate and controversy. He was one of the co-founders of the Adirondack Association of Towns and Villages, better known as the AATV. His record of hard work and devotion to the issues impacting the local communities in the Adirondacks during the last 25 years is unequaled. George was a lightning rod and was often at odds with the Albany politicians or leaders of various Adirondack advocacy groups. But, despite the political differences, he always tried to be respectful of the process and of those who he didn’t agree with….that is part of his legacy.
George was a friend to the ALA and to the cause of private property rights and sound environmental stewardship…he attended a number of our meetings over the years. Most recently the ALA recognized George along with Fred Monroe, for their 25 years of public service. George attended our 2015 spring meeting with his wife Monica, we were honored to have them be part of the event.
So, we mourn his passing, but we also celebrate his life and his contributions to the Adirondacks and to everyone who called him ‘friend’…he will be a hard act to follow.
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.