Half Way Home
Protection of Split Rock Wildway is perhaps half complete. For the long-term viability of the wildlife corridor, at least 12,000 continuous acres from Split Rock to the Jay Range need protection. So far, New York State, Eddy Foundation, Open Space Institute, Adirondack Land Trust, Northeast Wilderness Trust, Champlain Area Trails and conservation-minded families have collectively conserved about 7000 acres.
Needed steps now include the state and land trusts acquiring strong conservation easements – or full-fee if available – on major holdings in the area; creating a revolving loan fund or land acquisition endowment, to secure critical properties that go on the market, including any sizable lands around Coon and Boquet Mountains; fostering farming with the wild principles (wildfarmalliance.org) and ecological forestry standards (protectadks.org) for worked lands in the area; and completing the footpath system that will link local villages and enhance the recreational economy. Champlain Area Trails has lately at least tripled trail mileage in the Wildway – carefully routing paths so as to afford hikers and skiers scenic views but not disturbing sensitive habitat – and has most of a trail linking Westport and Essex in place.
The biggest remaining challenge is to find financial and other incentives to enable land trusts to hold on to their lands permanently and encouraging all conservation-minded landowners to do the right thing. While property tax reform (to extract taxes from harmful practices, not from landownership) is a top priority, the best near-term hope for conservation landowners may be selling carbon credits for protecting wild forests. Beneficiaries will be natural and human communities for this and future generations, including that Mama Bear’s great grand-cubs (mentioned in the first segment Split Rock Wildway: A Critical Wildlife Corridor) and those of our children lucky enough to see them.
Note: The content in this blog post was repurposed and a revised version is included in John Davis’s book Split Rock Wildway: Scouting the Adirondack Park’s Most Diverse Wildlife Corridor published by Essex Editions on Nov. 21, 2017. Learn more about the book and where to buy it at essexeditions.com. Watch the book trailer below.
- Serpentine Splendors: Snakes of Split Rock Wildway (www.essexonlakechamplain.com)
- Split Rock Wildway: Creating and Protecting a Wildlife Corridor (www.essexonlakechamplain.com)
- Restore the Adirondack Wolf (www.essexonlakechamplain.com)
- The Eddy Foundation Protects Adirondacks (www.essexonlakechamplain.com)
- Songbird Mysteries (www.essexonlakechamplain.com)
- Snakes at Split Rock (www.essexonlakechamplain.com)
- Skinks at Split Rock Wildway (www.essexonlakechamplain.com)
- Split Rock Wildway: A Critical Wildlife Corridor (www.essexonlakechamplain.com)