by Peter Paden Published April 4, 2014 in the Register-Star
Conservation: A Solid Strategy for Economic Development
I have a great idea to bolster economic development in Columbia County: we should as an entire community renew and redouble our commitment to conservation. We should collaborate to create as many publicly accessible parks, forests and nature preserves as possible; we should aggressively work to construct a system of interconnecting trail corridors; we should conserve as much good farm and forest land as quickly as we can.
Seriously? Yes, seriously. CONTINUE READING
by Peter Paden Published March 7, 2014 in the Register-Star
More Power Lines In Our Future?
Power line proposals are in the headlines in Columbia County these days. A couple of years ago NYSEG proposed to construct a new power line across more than 11 miles of farms, wood lots, wetlands and scenic public spaces in Ghent. More recently, serious discussion is underway of proposals arising out of Governor Cuomo’s so-called “Energy Highway” initiative that could significantly expand major power line corridors already bisecting large portions of our county, leading to the condemnation of hundreds of acres of privately-owned land, including productive farmland, healthy forests and other sensitive ecosystems, and creating an enormous visual blight across a broad and lengthy swath of our landscape. CONTINUE READING
January 9, 2014
Radio Interview with Executive Director Peter Paden about CLC’s Recent Accomplishments and Ongoing Projects
On Thursday, January 9th CLC’s executive director Peter Paden met with hosts Ellen Thurston and Tom DePietro of WGXC’s Afternoon Show to answer questions about the Columbia Land Conservancy’s recent news and accomplishments, as well as projects for 2014. In particular they discussed the recent closings on seven conservation easements as well as the ongoing North Bay Project. To hear or to download the interview, click here.
by Peter Paden
Published January 3, 2014 in the Register-Star
Cost Efficient Conservation: Congress Has Another Chance
Eight years ago, in 2006, Congress enacted a simple change in the law that substantially increased the pace of private land conservation. It did this by significantly expanding the availability of a tax deduction for people who choose to conserve their property. But the change was only designed to last for two years, so the issue had to be revisited again in 2008. Despite an overwhelming bi-partisan consensus that the change made sense and should be made permanent, it was renewed only for another two year term. The same thing happened in 2010. And in 2012.
So here we are, once again. The provision, often referred to as the enhanced conservation easement incentive, expired on December 31, 2013. Once again, there is strong bi-partisan support for making the provision permanent. The question, once again, is whether Congress will finally get it together to unconditionally codify the change, whether it will enact a retroactive two year extension, or perhaps simply fail to do anything at all.
by Peter Paden
Published November 30, 2013 in the Register-Star
Columbia County Trail Network: A Good Plan for the Future
Two weeks ago I had the pleasure to participate in a ribbon cutting to open a new section of the Harlem Valley Rail Trail. A hearty and enthusiastic crowd turned out on a chilly Saturday afternoon to celebrate another milestone in the epic journey toward creation of a 46 mile-long trail stretching from Wassaic to Chatham. The ceremony marked the opening of a 1.3 mile section extending from the hamlet of Hillsdale southward to Black Grocery Road.
The opening was “informal.” Thanks to the herculean efforts and volunteer labor provided by the Harlem Valley Rail Trail Association (HVRTA) and staff from the State Office of Parks Recreation and Historic Preservation (OPRHP) this section of the former rail bed has been cleared and made walkable. The long term plan calls for an engineered asphalt pathway. Although the design work has been done, the paving and associated improvements are dependent on fundraising efforts that are in progress. But anyone who is up for a hike on a perfectly passable trail through scenic countryside doesn’t need to wait. I encourage you to give it a spin. CONTINUE READING