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Nature Conservancy, Open Space Institute, and Adirondack Council applaud Senators Clinton and Schumer for senate forest legacy $2.5 million for Tahawus

NEW YORK, NY - September 16, 2004 - The Open Space Institute, The Nature Conservancy and the Adirondack Council applaud U.S. Senators Hilary Rodham Clinton and Charles Schumer for working with Congressman John McHugh to secure, within the Senate United States Forest Service Federal Forest Legacy FY'O5 budget appropriation bill, $2.5 million to help the State of New York and the Open Space Institute protect the fabled 10,000-acre Tahawus Tract in the Adirondacks. 

The congressionally authorized Forest Legacy program enables the Federal Government to work with states and private landowners to enhance the management of America's forest resources. A partnership between the Forest Service, state governments and private landowners, the program protects ecologically important forest habitat through the acquisition of land and conservation easements, which protect working forests while meeting important conservation goals. 

The 10,000-acre Tahawus Tract has long been a priority acquisition for New York State. Because of its outstanding natural resources and historic value—Theodore Roosevelt's famous “Midnight Ride to the Presidency” began at Tahawus—the property and its long-term protection has been championed by conservationists According to Open Space Institute president, Joe Martens, Governor Pataki has been a keen supporter of the Tahawus acquisition, which OSI acquired in 2003, and requested Forest Legacy on behalf of New York State. Ultimately, OSI will transfer the majority of the Tahawus Tract to the State of New York. 

Adjacent to the High Peaks Wilderness, the tract includes Mount Adams, a popular hiking destination, and the 450-acre Henderson Lake, where the headwaters of the Hudson River are formed “If the Senate's Forest Legacy appropriation is passed, the State of New York will have greater flexibility to pursue its land acquisition goals in priority areas like the High Peaks Wilderness. And that's great news for New Yorkers,” said Martens. “Forest Legacy funding will play a critical role in helping the State add approximately 6,000 acres of this land to the Adirondack Forest Preserve while keeping more than 3,000 acres in working forest.” Martens noted that federal funding for the Tahawus Tract will be matched 3-to-1 by additional funds from state, local and private sources. 

Henry Tepper, director of The Nature Conservancy of New York, said he “applauds the efforts of Senators Clinton and Schumer to work with Congressman McHugh to insert $2.5 million in the Senate budget for this project. The Tahawus Tract is a prime candidate for Forest Legacy funding because of its diverse natural resources. The Adirondacks harbor some of the best remaining examples of hardwood forests, bogs, lakes, rivers, alpine summits, and spruce-fir forests typical of the 31-million-acre northern forest that spans New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, and parts of southern Québec.” “The Tahawus tract adds to a larger protected landscape, keeping important habitat unbroken. Appropriating $2.5 million in Forest Legacy Funding toward this project is great for the Adirondacks and terrific for New York State,” Tepper continued. 

"We are pleased that both the House and Senate have decided to fund this worthy project," said Adirondack Council Executive Director Brian L. Houseal. "Since 1988 we have been advocating for the protection of the rare wildlife habitat and magnificent water bodies contained on the Tahawus property, a key acquisition to complement the High Peaks Wilderness. Now Congress must settle on an appropriate dollar amount, which should be at least $2.5 million for this once-in-a-lifetime addition to the Forest Preserve." 

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