The following was submitted by member Dennis Money:
Comments will be accepted until December 17
As many of you are aware, these hearings provide an opportunity to protect valuable land, water or historic places in NYS. The hearings generally only occur every 3-5 years so the hearings this fall are especially critical for the former Seneca Army Depot.
With the Army poised to leave some time in 2016 (and this time frame is pretty firm) that will mean the end of maintenance (primarily the fence which is sliced by poachers) and the management of the deer herd which has been happening for nearly 50 years. The owner of the depot, the Seneca County Industrial Development Agency has already stated it wants nothing to do with managing the deer or continuing to maintain the fence. It wants commercial development period.
Open Space hearings critical to the former Seneca Army Depot
Enter the 2014 Open Space hearings. The Seneca Army Depot is listed as a priority area for the 2014 hearings. It is running against over 130 other locations in the nine regions of the state. Add on to that the traditional rivalry between upstate and downstate for final selections, a reluctance by both the DEC and NYSParks to take on any more property for management, and we have quite a difficult situation to have the Depot selected to be acquired in these hearings with Environmental Protection Fund $$.
Our organization, Seneca White Deer Inc. (www.senecawhitedeer.org) is working very hard to educate the public and the political leaders of Region 8 (plus Schumer and Gillibrand) about the value of the Depot to both New Yorkers and people from out of state. The Depot, from our experience conducting very successful tours many times, we feel very positive that the Depot could become a world class tourism destination. So we are running TV ads, newspaper ads and sending out notices to over 2500 members to ask for their support. However, we also know that the final selection process is highly political and for the DEC and Parks to change their minds will require a lot people/organizations contacting the Open Space selection committee, both Commissioners etc....you get the drift.
This could be the last chance to protect the wildlife resources of the Depot
To help SWD in this huge effort we would appreciate whatever you can do to both announce the importance of these hearings and to suggest to your readers, members, viewers, that they send in a letter or an email in support of selecting the Depot. This could very well be the last chance we have to protect the unique and abundant wildlife resources of the Depot and its military history. They could also actually attend a hearing and make a statement. Once again that info is on the DEC attachment.
If you need ideas on what to say please take a look at our 'testimony', actually our statement which I will present on Oct 22 in Avon. Feel free to use any of the statement or call me at 585-394-1287 and we can talk live if you prefer.
The Depot is unique in the world. It is the largest remaining contiguous land parcel in the Finger Lakes. It has something for any person who loves the outdoors. Please help SWD in its mission so that all New Yorkers will reap the benefits of protecting over 7000 acres of land....and the white deer.
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