‘Restoration’ of Pine Bush Preserve is a crying shame
Is anyone crying for the Pine Bush? I am.
I have been horseback riding in the Pine Bush Preserve for 25 years. At that time, I had to bring clippers to clip my way through. I had to bring a hand saw to cut deadfall — it was bush. The only “barrens” were under the NiMo power lines. We had to stay off those dunes because in the summer it was a desert. In the winter you could ride in the woods on the coldest day because the bush kept the cold wind at bay overhead.
I attended the “scoping” meetings to discuss who could use the trails. Many user groups did the same. We worked out the plan to allow us all to share the trail system. Soon the Pine Bush Commission began to restore the dunes, clear-cutting several areas. It seemed a shame, but not too impactive. I watched, little by little, more “restoration.” Those areas now have regrowth five to six feet tall.
Two years ago I watched the large stand of locust trees on Kings Road being clear-cut and the logging trucks and trailers haul away thousands of dollars of timber. Where did the money go? The regrowth there is now three to four feet tall. Recently, a couple of areas parallel to power lines have been “restored to barrens” next to the previously desert-like power lines where the natural canopy has filled in under the power lines. It’s comfortable to traverse because the sand is covered.
I rode again recently. A new area by Willow Street has been marked by a forester for “harvest,” for more “restoration.” All the lovely 100-plus-year-old money pines had been sprayed for “harvest.” More area marked for clear-cut. Who will get that money? Again, perhaps thousands.
Why is this called “restoration?” The Pine Bush doesn’t “want” to be restored because it keeps regrowing. Now, it’s regrowing popular trees along with the scrub pines and scrub oak. If it were truly “restoration,” it would be restored — not regrowing. The only way it will stay restored is to have someone mow down the new trees which are regrowing — no one is. It’s restoring itself to the Pine Bush — not the Pine Barrens. It’s well accepted that to regrow trees takes a minimum of 20 years. And the 100-plus-year-old pines will take another 100 years.
Who likes to walk in the hot sun on hot sand? Not me and not my horse. I protest the “destruction.” I protest the taking of these thousands of dollars of timber to fund — what? Perhaps the dune-like landscape project at the commission headquarters? Did you notice the tall, single pine that was lighted for Christmas every year was chain-sawed and bulldozed for a “dune” berm?
Neither I nor my horse can stand the new restoration of the Pine Bush. Is anyone else crying with me at this loss? When I ask those I pass, I’m told, “I didn’t notice.” Do you notice? I’ve noticed. I’m crying for the Pine Bush.
Collaboration will give teachers free tech training
Our children grow and flourish when they are presented with real-world opportunities in school, created by collaboration among educators, corporate citizens and community leaders. Together, we can make possibilities available so students can build the technology skills needed for the jobs that are helping the Capital Region evolve into Tech Valley.
One such creative partnership is now getting off the ground in this area. The SEMI High Tech U is an industry-quality math- and science-based career exploration program for middle school and high school teachers, presented by industry professionals, using the latest research-based curriculum. It’s co-sponsored by NYSUT [New York State United Teachers], General Electric, the Air Products Foundation, the SEMI Foundation and the Workforce Consortium for Emerging Technologies. This July, at the initiative of those principal sponsors and many supporters, this innovative effort will be offered at NYSUT, at no cost to educators or school districts.
This is a program that can help shape our region’s future. Classroom educators will have the unique chance to experience hands-on learning about microelectronics and the renewable energy industry, a particularly vital topic now.
Our hope is to integrate this free program into a year-round partnership among school districts, higher education institutions and regional and global industry leaders. Several local school districts — including Albany, Shenendehowa, East Greenbush, Saratoga Springs, Ballston Spa, North and South Colonie, Schoharie and Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake — have signed on to pilot this program. We’re excited about the benefits that our area will gain from this ground-breaking collaboration that will ensure our region’s economic viability.
The writer is vice president of NYSUT.
Naive to think criminals will comply with gun laws
I read with interest the June 13 editorial [“Albany tragedy compounded by gun story”], regarding the tragic death of a young girl in Albany. My heart goes out to the parents and other members of this family.
I mean no disrespect to her or her family, but I would like to have someone explain, in a language that I can understand, how stricter gun control could prevent a tragedy such as this. The gun control proponents state that with stronger gun control laws, gun killings would decrease. Stricter gun control simply means that the average American citizen loses another of their constitutional rights.
Do these bleeding-heart, spotted owl-kissing liberals really believe that the criminal element is going to comply with gun laws in the first place? If they are really that naive, then I can arrange a really good deal on some oceanfront property in Nevada or Vermont — depending on the type of weather they prefer.
Contrary to popular opinion, the ostrich doesn’t really bury it’s head in the sand — unlike some of our elected officials.
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