‘Forever wild’ park land should remain just that
Proposition 5 on the Nov. 5 ballot would amend Article 14 of the State Constitution to allow NYCO Minerals Inc. to mine wollastonite ore on a 200-acre parcel, Lot 8, of the Adirondack Park Forest Preserve in the Lake Champlain Valley. Lot 8 has an estimated eight years of mining left. It is next to one of NYCO’s two existing mines, the Lewis mine, which will run out of ore in about five years. (Two miles away, the other mine, Oak Hill, has 25 years or more of mining left.) NYCO would pay for Lot 8 with 1,500 acres of private cutover land.
The Sierra Club, Protect the Adirondacks and Adirondack Wild – friends of the Forest Preserve – all urge a “no” vote because the proposal is completely inconsistent with the intent, purpose and letter of the “forever wild” provision in the State Constitution, which says that Forest Preserve lands “… shall be forever kept as wild forest lands. They shall not be leased, sold or exchanged or taken by any corporation public or private, nor shall the timber thereon be sold, removed or destroyed.”
Since 1894, when passage of “forever wild” slammed the door on abuses of the Forest Preserve by the state, such as selling it to lumbering companies, there have only been 22 amendments, all for a public purpose, never just to pad the bottom line of a private company. With NYCO, the state has forgotten once again that as steward of the Forest Preserve the integrity of Article 14 comes first.