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DEC Appointment Has Broad Impact

May 9th, 2007 · 4 Comments · News

Here’s an significant bit from the Post-Star regarding the appointment of Elizabeth Lowe as Director of DEC Region 5:

Typically, the regional director represents the DEC on boards of the Adirondack Park Agency, Olympic Development Authority and Lake Champlain Basin Commission.

First, let’s take a look at Region 5:

New York State DEC RegionsRegion 5 includes three-quarters of the Adirondack Park; over two million acres of Forest Preserve land; 5500 acres of state forests lands, 4500 acres of wildlife management lands, more than 3,400 lakes and ponds ranging in size from high altitude ponds of an acre or less to water bodies the size of Lake Champlain; 856 miles of Wild, Scenic and Recreational Rivers; over 530,000 year-round residents in 6 cities, 36 villages and 117 towns and millions of people that enjoy visiting and recreating in the Adirondack Mountains and surrounding areas.

That by itself is a JOB. Not to mention taking the helm of a ship run by hardened civil service veterans (Lowe used to work at DEC). I don’t believe anything there will be a surprise, but now she has to be the boss. Those other three responsibilities bear a further look.

While not officially a member of the Adirondack Park Agency Board of Directors, the Region 5 head has traditionally served as the designee of the DEC Commissioner. This is convenient as DEC Commissioner Grannis will more than likely rely on Ms. Lowe’s guidance for most things Adirondack anyway.

The Adirondack Park Agency administers the Adirondack Park Agency Act (Executive Law, article 27), the Freshwater Wetlands Act (Environmental Conservation Law, article 24) within the Adirondack Park and, for private lands within the Adirondack Park, the Wild Scenic and Recreational Rivers System Act (Environmental Conservation Law, article 15, title 27).

If your local, the importance of the APA seat needs no explanation. Otherwise, have a look at the Agency Regulations. It’s fair to say that most human endeavors within the Blue Line are regulated in some way by the APA.

Same deal with ORDA (Olympic Regional Development Authority) which has the “mandate to manage and promote the sports facilities used to host the 1980 Olympic Winter Games.” She’ll again be Grannis’ representative on this very important board.

Lake Champlain Basin MapLess known is the Lake Champlain Basin Program. This is another regional organization with a huge jurisdiction – parts of New York, Vermont, and Quebec. I’ve had the pleasure of working with the LCBP and can say that it is a super group of folks with a really important mission. Again, Ms. Lowe will be sitting on the Steering Committee of this organization.

The Lake Champlain Basin Program (LCBP) works in partnership with government agencies from New York, Vermont, and Quebec, private organizations, local communities, and individuals to coordinate and fund efforts which benefit the Lake Champlain Basin’s water quality, fisheries, wetlands, wildlife, recreation, and cultural resources.

My past interactions with Betsy Lowe have all been positive, but I must admit to having little knowledge of her background outside of her leadership in the creation and administration of the Wild Center. If you’ve ever visited the museum, you might say that it could be representative of her organizational style and philosophy about the Forest Preserve. It all sounds like an immense challenge, and I’m pretty sure this new addition to the mix will create some interesting new energies. Heh, heh.

This is a huge appointment for the Adirondacks and Betsy Lowe. Congratulations to Betsy and here’s wishing us all Good Luck!

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4 Comments so far ↓

  • Phil terrie

    You write, “It’s fair to say that most human endeavors within the Blue Line are regulated in some way by the APA.” To the contrary, it is not in the least “fair” to make that claim. The APA has minimal authority and in recent years has largely declined to exercise the authority it has. Very few “human endeavors” are regulated, limited, supervised, or otherwise managed by the Park Agency. Most people in the Adrondacks on most days don’t give the APA a passing thought, and they don’t need to.

  • TourPro

    Well, your right that they aren’t standing in your bedroom, but many areas they regulate have impact on the lives of those that live in/near the “park”.

    The assertion that people in the Adirondacks don’t think about the APA on a daily basis may be related to other factors. The unaware are the most easily regulated class of people.

    Are you indifferent to the existence of the APA or are you saying that they are a obsolete paper tiger? I like the idea of the “Blue Line”, and everything therein, but implementation can always be improved. Plus, “Forever Wild” has phenomenal marketing value – too bad we missed the boat on that one

  • Wren Novak

    Phil Terrie, what would you call the APA’s regulation of what color we can paint our roofs, whether or not we can take down a diseased tree in our garden, etc. etc.? Ask any Adirondacker who has been bullied and/or penalized for some such “infraction”. In the beginning, the mission of the APA was a noble and thoughtful one…to keep the Adirondacks forever wild. Now, after dogging Adirondackers for years over minor issues that should be the single domain of the property owner, APA acts like a streetwalker selling out to the highest bidder…more specifically the Adirondack Club and Resort.

  • TourPro

    Haha, did you just call the APA a prostitute?!

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