Proposition 5 is a ballot question up for vote on Nov. 5 that seeks approval to exchange 200 acres of forever wild forest preserve in the Adirondack Park with a mining company. This is a raw deal for the forest preserve and should be voted down.
For more information about why Proposition 5 is a bad idea, see the website saveforeverwild.org.
There are four primary reasons to vote down Proposition 5, which seeks to amend the state constitution to remove 200 acres of forever wild forest preserve lands in the Jay Mountain Wilderness in eastern Essex County.
Proposition 5 sets a terrible precedent because it would be the first time that forest preserve lands were swapped for a private commercial benefit. Recent forest preserve amendments were for public benefits such as protecting public water supplies, power lines, cemeteries or making airports safer.
Proposition 5 will open a Pandoras Box because it basically puts the forest preserve up for sale. The 200 acres of forest preserve lands to be given to the mining company contain old growth forests dominated by many 200-year-old trees.
These 200 acres came into the forest preserve in the 1890s, and New Yorkers have paid property taxes on these lands every year since. This is a dynamic old growth forest dominated by trees over 100 feet tall, vernal pools and rich wildlife habitat.
By contrast, lands to be given to the state are heavily cut-over forests. Such a land exchange is a 150-year step backward for the forest preserve.
The mining company thats looking to buy these forest preserve lands has sought and received numerous state permits for a second mine one mile away. The state has bent over backward to give this company a series of permits for a new mine, which has at least a 25-year supply of ore.
There is no legislation that details the land swap process. Another constitutional Amendment, Proposition 4, on this years ballot included passage of enabling legislation that detailed the land exchange process. There was no enabling legislation for Proposition 5.
Any talk about replacement lands is mere hype. There is no legislation that authorizes the details of this exchange.
If Proposition 5 passes, it means that our forever wild forest preserve is now up for sale. It will also mean that forever wild is no longer forever nor very wild.
The writer is executive director of Protect the Adirondacks.