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We Can Do The Math – ARISE Guest Commentary

January 10, 2011 by · 1 Comment 


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We Can Do The MathARISE Guest Commentary
By Mark Moeller, ARISE Member and Tupper Lake Businessman

We consider ourselves as pragmatic conservationists. We believe that a community can harvest some forest or animal products from our natural environment on a regular basis without compromising the long-term health of the ecosystem. We believe that nature and man can coexist and that both can even thrive. We believe that this is the model for the Adirondack Park, and we are not alone. Search, for example, wikipedia.org and adirondackalmanac.com

We want to conserve the Adirondacks for everyone to enjoy now and into the distant future. But make no mistake – we are different from so-called environmentalists and their groups that operate within (many without actually “living” within) the Blue Line.

Simply put, environmentalists are conservationists who can’t do, or probably more likely choose to hide or distort, the math.

Allow us to provide the following examples.

Environmentalists contend that development in the Park will “fracture the back country.” Apparently they can’t count into the hundreds – which is the number of logging roads already cut into our forests. These roads have been there for decades and have historically been used to responsibly harvest while at the same time serving as the backbone of the local economy.

Environmentalists claim that the Adirondack Club and Resort is just “too big.” The Adirondack Park is 6,000,000 acres in size. The Adirondack Club and Resort will encompass 6,300 acres. So the ACR will be .00105 the size of the Adirondack Park. Furthermore, the ACR will disturb only 4% of the available land it will own. Four percent. For the math challenged, that means that 96% of the ACR’s land will be left undisturbed. Four percent of .00105 equals .000042. That’s how much of the Adirondack Park will be disturbed by the ACR. That’s what the Adirondack Council called “overblown.” To further put it into perspective, if the entire Adirondack Park consisted of one acre, which has 43,560 sq. feet, then this “overblown” project consists of 1.8 sq. feet. The entire skiable area of Whiteface Mountain is 336 acres (www.whiteface.com). The entire ACR project will only disturb approx. 252 acres. You be the judge, but facts are facts. Perhaps regulating the private business sector is more important than self-regulation.

The Adirondack Club and Resort will create hundreds of full and part time jobs when it is up and running and hundreds more jobs in the construction trades through years of construction. That could mean approximately 500 more private jobs than we have here in Tupper Lake today. Those jobs will be created on a piece of property which to date only generates $76,000 in gross property taxes. At build out, the project will generate $6.4 million to our school and $2.25 to the Town of Tupper Lake.

So let’s review. Four percent of .00105 will produce 500 jobs and an increase of 109.5 times ($8.65M/$76,000) the amount of tax revenue. Now that’s what we call higher math!

Environmentalists do like math when it comes to dollars. This is where they think big and outside the box. Environmentalists think that $30,000,000 is an appropriate price for the over burdened taxpayers of New York State to spend on an EASEMENT, not a sale, but for just a promise to use the forest when we are already surrounded by wild forests! $30M for an easement! Do you know how many North Country salaries that would support? Given all the problems that we face, why would a cash strapped state spend $30 million on an easement? Apparently politicians are math challenged too.

And just how many non-Nature Conservancy jobs were created by that last minute, year-end shady deal? Zero. Any unemployed Adirondack resident understands that math. Let’s do some high finance now. If the State of NY was expecting a modest 4% return of investment, $30 million should generate $1,200,000 in additional input into the economies of Long Lake, Newcomb and Indian Lake. Let’s wait and see – or perhaps we should think about better ways to stimulate the economy and save North Country jobs.

Stated simply – entrepreneurs and private employment create the most valuable jobs in our society. While government jobs are important, as far as payback to society is concerned, and to retain a sustainable, self-sufficient community, they just don’t compare to the private sector. When a private sector job is created, society makes money. When a public sector job is created, it costs society money.

We have a suggestion. At the end of the Pataki Administration, $5M that was promised to the Tupper Lake area to repair our rail lines simply vanished. Given that precedence, we suggest that the State of New York rescind the $30M designated for “renting” more land in the Adirondacks and then restore the $5M owed Tupper Lake and then use the remaining $25M to rehabilitate our infrastructure and keep Sunmount, local schools and prisons properly staffed. Those take priority over the self serving desires of environmental groups.

To account for the increased tourism that the Nature Conservancy promised by the $30M easement, we also suggest that they open up the 14,600 acres of the Follensby pond and forest to the public and create an access point directly to the Tupper Lake community. That piece of wilderness partially resides within the Town of Tupper Lake, is adjacent to the High Peaks Wilderness Area, Saranac Lakes, the Raquette River and is within a stones’ throw of the Natural History Museum of the Adirondack, aka the Wild Center. If we add in a totally renovated Big Tupper ski slope as part of the ACR and the proposed Adirondack Public Observatory- talk about a boost to tourism! Tupper Lake would become a Mecca to outdoor enthusiasts.

We know that the Nature Conservancy bought this piece of property in order to “flip it” to New York State. Ca-ching! Why not open it to the public now? Here is a quote from the Nature Conservancy’s website (www.nature.org/wherewework/northamerica/states/newyork/preserves/art25874.html) “We look forward to the day when college professors can hold sessions in an outdoor classroom so rich in meaning and history, and families can enjoy these hallowed grounds. Until then, unauthorized access is considered trespass.” Howdy neighbor.

Think about those facts the next time you open up your checkbook to do some math of your own. Keep these facts in mind the next time you hear an environmentalist lament that the ACR project is just too big. Think about the true intentions of the environmental groups here to “help us” and in turn, help them do some math that truly helps the North Country.

Comments

One Response to “We Can Do The Math – ARISE Guest Commentary”
  1. ForwardLookingTLer says:

    WOW! WOW! WOW! So well said, Mark! You can’t argue with these numbers!

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