Hatchbrook group, not Adirondack club, closed Cathead trail
In his Nov. 2 letter, John Van Patten argues that the Adirondack Mountain Club (ADK) is somehow responsible for the closing of the trail to Cathead Mountain in the Adirondacks. Nothing could be further from the truth.
ADK has no power whatsoever to open or close that trail. The trail is on private property owned by the Hatchbrook Sportsman’s Club, of which Mr. Van Patten is a member. It is the Hatchbrook Sportsman’s Club that closed the trail and continues to bar hikers from using it.
A little background: The Hatchbrook Sportsman’s Club (aka the Thomas Gang) purchased the property knowing full well that it was landlocked, surrounded by Forest Preserve land, designated wilderness and inaccessible by motor vehicle. The club later sued the state Department of Environmental Conservation to gain a right of way through state land, but lost.
The club closed the trail to hikers in an attempt to put pressure on DEC. Later the club proposed an amendment to the state constitution to allow a land swap with the state that would provide them with motorized access to their property. The club sought ADK’s support for the proposal, but after careful consideration, ADK’s Conservation Committee and board of directors concluded it would set a bad precedent.
In the past, ADK has supported constitutional amendments with a clear public benefit, such as the Piseco airport extension and the Raquette water supply. No previous amendment of the “forever wild” clause has authorized road access for the benefit of a single private landowner.
The Adirondack Mountain Club is a hiking club, but it has always been more than just a hiking club. Since its inception in 1922, ADK has been dedicated to protecting the natural resources its members use and love. We are now the oldest and, by far, the largest organization dedicated to the protection of the Adirondack Forest Preserve. No organization has done more than ADK to open and maintain hiking trails in the Adirondacks, the Catskills and other natural areas of New York state. Each year, ADK staff and members spend thousands of hours working on hiking trails.
Neil F. Woodworth
The writer is ADK’s executive director.
Rotterdam budget cuts were for the better
Re Michael Godlewski’s Nov. 21 letter, “Rotterdam budget changes approved without public input.”
It is true that council members Matt Martin, Nicola DiLeva, and Gerard Parisi proffered amendments to the budget significantly reducing the tax burden on all residents of Rotterdam, without the input Supervisor Frank Del Gallo and Deputy Supervisor Robert Godlewski. Those board members were forced to act as they did to benefit all residents of the town because the supervisor and deputy supervisor refused to involve the other members of the board in the budget process.
I personally witnessed each council member’s request that the supervisor require department heads to be at agenda meetings. These requests were denied. In addition, at Town Board meetings and through e-mails (which I have personally seen), council members requested to have meetings on the budget with department heads in order to provide the public with the most efficient budget possible. These requests were also unanswered.
For the first time, elected officials were willing to ignore partisanship and worked on behalf of the residents. A Republican, a Democrat, and a Conservative demonstrated that working together works.
I fully support Martin, DiLeva, and Parisi in future elections as these three individuals exemplify the definition of public service.
Frank S. Salamone
The writer was an unsuccessful GOP candidate for Town Board earlier this month.
Mohonasen turns back on Pop Warner football
Re Nov. 23 article, “School project, ambulance votes set in same week”: My dream of playing college football started in 1998, when I started flag football with Rotterdam Pop Warner. My experiences not only gave me a love for football that would grow stronger throughout the years, but helped create a desire to give back to the community in which I live.
As I got older, volunteering my time to help coach and maintain the field gave me a greater appreciation for all that was done by volunteers before me.
Hearing of the sale of the Remsen Street building, which has been the home of Rotterdam Pop Warner for well over 20 years, has once again shown me that the Mohonasen school district values its own agenda rather than the welfare of the kids who attend its school.
Mohonasen and Rotterdam Pop Warner should be working side by side to ensure a better football program for Mohonasen’s future.
As I have found through personal experience, “Mohonasen Pride” (our school motto) is not always a good thing.
The writer is a Mohonasen senior.
Reject bigger gov’t by saying no to REMS
Saying “no” can be helpful. It helps govern behavior and restrict excessive actions.
For example, the words “shall not” appear four times in the Bill of Rights and nine times in the 10 Commandments. Parents know all about limiting the behavior of their children. Teachers try to instill self-discipline in their students.
On Dec. 14, Rotterdam homeowners should say “no” to the expansion of government in our town by rejecting a call to establish a government-run ambulance company — especially when there are private companies ready, willing and able to provide services.
We’ve heard that the projected tax increase is minuscule. This layer of government, like all others, will only grow over time. It will never sunset.
Proponents are using fear tactics to advocate for higher taxes. Regarding their “Save our EMS!” claim, for example: Ambulance service is not threatened; government-run ambulance service might be, but not ambulance service.
REMS [Rotterdam Emergency Medical Services] employees (many of whom moonlight for Mohawk Ambulance) will not lose their jobs. The town will not lose ambulance service. Another ambulance company will provide service to the town and will hire those workers. They will need them.
This decision boils down to whether or not you want the government or a private company to get you to the hospital and if you want to pay for it by adding yet another layer of taxation.
As nationally syndicated radio talk show host Dennis Prager says, “the bigger the government, the smaller the citizen.”
Vote no on Dec. 14.
Historical archives worth preserving
At whatever stage in life we realize that the past is part of who we are, the genealogy bug bites and we are rarely the same again.
To find records of some of my German farmer ancestors, I visited the Montgomery County archives in the beautiful old Fonda courthouse that I remember as child. What a privilege! The staff was exceptionally knowledgeable and very welcoming. Among the people I found in the records was an ancestor, a Civil War soldier who served in the 153rd New York Volunteers. But what was truly amazing was that correspondence in his own hand was offered up to me as though it were written yesterday!
In these difficult economic times, it is of course important to take stock of what we can live without, and it’s all too easy to lump things like local archives and libraries in that category. Even though they’re not fire trucks or snowplows, archives provide us with a vital and credible link to the past. This link must not be broken.
As one who works in city government, I am reminded almost daily of the importance of allowing past actions to inform decision-making. I have also come to revere my colleagues in the archival profession who, like the dedicated staff in Fonda, believe in their hearts that we must keep the richness of history alive for future generations.
Tara Hime Norman
The writer is Naples’ city clerk.
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