Photo Credit: Jerry Monkman

Remembering Henry Diamond, A Champion for Open Space and the Environment
Former DEC commissioner Henry Diamond on a bicycle leaning a

NEW YORK, NY — February 23, 2016 — Henry L. Diamond, the first Commissioner of the New York State Department of Environmental and a champion of open space, parks and wilderness died yesterday. “Henry Diamond literally led the charge for open space in New York and nationally” said Kim Elliman, President and CEO of the Open Space Institute, “He was especially fond of the Hudson River Valley and his imprint is forever etched on the landscape.” 

In 2015 Mr. Diamond was awarded the Secretary of the Interior’s Lifetime Conservation Achievement Award, the Department’s highest honor, by Secretary Jewell in recognition of his dedication over the past 50 years to the conservation of lands and waters across the Nation and for his direct support to the mission of the Department of the Interior.

Mr. Diamond first attracted public attention in 1962 when he edited the report by the Outdoor Recreation Resources Review Commission for President Kennedy. This report led to the creation of the Land and Water Conservation Fund, the national system of wilderness areas and wild and scenic rivers. Twenty years later he chaired a task force that pressed for a timely review of land and water conservation, which prompted President Reagan to establish the President's Commission on Americans Outdoors. 

Mr. Diamond was a close associate of late Laurance S. Rockefeller and the two worked in concert on a variety of conservation issues. Mr. Diamond served as Executive Director of the influential 1965 White House Conference on Natural Beauty, which Mr. Rockefeller chaired. He served as a member and then as chairman of the President’s Citizens’ Advisory Committees on Recreation and Natural Beauty and Environmental Quality. He also served Governor Nelson Rockefeller as his first environmental commissioner for the state of New York and spearheaded passage of a $1.2 billion environmental bond act in 1972. As Commissioner, he led a 533 mile bicycle ride across New York State draw attention to the Bond Act. Mr. Diamond served on more than 30 other boards and commissions, including Resources for the Future, Environmental Law Institute, The Woodstock Foundation, the Jackson Hole Preserve, Inc. and Americans for Our Heritage and Recreation.

 “Henry Diamond will be missed” said OSI’s chair John Adams, “But his environmental legacy will last forever.”  




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