NEW YORK, NY - February 2, 2004 - The Open Space Institute, The Nature Conservancy and the Adirondack Council applaud the Bush Administration's proposal to provide a record $100 million for the United States Forest Service (USFS) Federal Forest Legacy in the proposed FY'O5 budget. If passed, the President's plan would allocate $2.5 million in federal funding for the Tahawus Tract, a 10,000-acre property in the heart of the Adirondacks.
The congressionally authorized Forest Legacy program enables the Federal Government to work with states and private landowners to enhance the management of America's forest resources. A partnership between the Forest Service, state governments and private landowners, the program protects ecologically important forest habitat through land acquisition or the use of conservation easements, which protect working forests while meeting important conservation goals.
The 10,000-acre Tahawus Tract has long been a priority acquisition for New York State. Adjacent to the High Peaks Wilderness, the tract includes Mount Adams, a popular hiking destination, and the 450-acre Henderson Lake, the source of the Hudson River. In August, the Open Space Institute acquired the property with the intent of selling it to the State of New York. “If the President's Forest Legacy appropriations are passed, the State of New York will have greater flexibility to pursue its statewide land acquisition goals. And that's great news for New Yorkers,” said Joe Martens, president of the Open Space Institute. “Forest Legacy funding will play a critical role in helping the State add approximately 6,000 acres of the Tahawus Tract to the Adirondack Forest Preserve while keeping nearly 4,000 acres in working forest.” Martens noted that federal funding for the Tahawus Tract will be matched 3-to-1 by additional funds from state, local and private sources.
According to Henry Tepper, director of The Nature Conservancy of New York, the Tahawus Tract is a prime candidate for Forest Legacy funding because of its diverse natural resources. “The Adirondacks harbor some of the best remaining examples of hardwood forests, bogs, lakes, rivers, alpine summits, and spruce-fir forests typical of the 31-million-acre northern forest that spans New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, and parts of southern Québec,” said Tepper. “The Tahawus tract adds to a larger protected landscape, keeping important habitat unbroken. Appropriating $2.5 million in Forest Legacy Funding toward this project is great for the Adirondacks and terrific for New York State,” Tepper continued.
The Tahawus Tract provides critical habitat for rare species of wildlife. “The Tahawus Talus, a cliff-bottom rock formation covered in moss and forest, at the northern end of the parcel, is home to the long-tailed shrew and the rock vole. Permanent protection of this land will guarantee these rare and elusive species a better chance of survival in a world where their habitat is rapidly disappearing,” said Brian L. Houseal, Executive Director of the Adirondack Council. “We are grateful that the President has gone out of his way to take note of the importance of the Adirondack Park and to assist in completing this vital conservation project,” continued Houseal.
Log on to http://www.osiny.org/ for more information about the Tahawus Tract and the Open Space Institute's Northern Forest Protection Fund. Or visit http://www.nature.org/ to learn about The Nature Conservancy, a worldwide science-based conservation organization whose efforts in the Adirondacks alone have led to the protection of more than 282,200 acres. Visit The Adirondack Council online at http://www.adirondackcouncil.org/ to hear more about the largest citizen environmental group in New York State working full-time, on a daily basis in the Adirondack Park, in the state capital and in Washington to preserve this six-million-acre treasure.