ELIZABETHTOWN, N.Y. – The Marshall Family of Saranac Lake will be named “Conservationist of the Year” by the Adirondack Council at a gathering here on Saturday, in celebration of several generations of advocacy on behalf of the Adirondack Park’s wilderness and communities.
This year marks the 50th Anniversary of the federal Wilderness Act, which was written in the Adirondack Park and was modeled on its “forever wild” public Forest Preserve.
In addition, the Adirondack Explorer Magazine will be honored as part of the Adirondack Council’s annual Forever Wild Day celebration, which includes the organization’s annual membership meeting.
Founded in 1975, the Adirondack Council is the Adirondack Park’s largest and most influential environmental organization.
Spanning six million acres (9,300 square miles) the Adirondack Park is the largest park in the contiguous United States. It is roughly half public land, protected from logging and development by the NYS Constitution, and half private land, with 130 small, rural hamlets and villages. About 130,000 people live in the park year-round.
“The Marshall family’s roots in the Adirondack Park run very deep,” said Adirondack Council Executive Director William C. Janeway. “Louis Marshall drafted and championed the ‘Forever Wild Clause’ of the NYS Constitution, which has protected the Forest Preserve from logging, sale and development since 1895.
“He and his wife Florence built the Knollwood Club, a multi-family great camp on Middle Saranac Lake designed by William West Durant,” Janeway said. “Their children – George, James, Robert and Ruth — were among the founding directors of the Adirondack Council, the Natural Resources Defense Council and The Wilderness Society. They were the first Adirondack 46ers, having climbed all of the Adirondack peaks above 4,000 feet in elevation.
“We named our wild lands complex and wilderness proposal in the west-central Adirondack Park in honor of Bob Marshall, who first expressed the idea of a wilderness there in the 1930s,” Janeway noted. “Bob’s niece, Ellen Marshall Scholle, served on our board until very recently, when she was succeeded by her granddaughter, Liza Cowan. Each generation of the Marshall family has made significant contributions to the health and well-being of the park, its wild character and its communities.”
The Adirondack Explorer Magazine issued its first edition in 1998, and has become a must-read publication for anyone who cares about Adirondack Park conservation and recreation.
“The Explorer has dedicated itself to the careful use, public enjoyment and lasting protection of the Adirondack Park,” said Janeway. “Six issues a year cover the people, places and politics of the region with a special emphasis on the Park’s wildlife, natural attributes, conservation needs and recreational opportunities. More recently, the Explorer teamed up with the online news blog AdirondackAlmanack.com to present fast-breaking news and to provide a forum for the discussion of Park issues.”
The Explorer will receive special recognition for excellence in journalism and education helping people understand, explore, protect and celebrate the Adirondack Park.
The Conservationist of the Year award was first issued in 1984, making the Marshall Family its 31st recipient.
Each year, the Conservationist of the Year award is presented by the Adirondack Council Board of Directors to a person or organization that has made an exemplary contribution to the Park’s well-being. The award is a museum-quality, hand-carved statue of a common loon – a symbol of Adirondack wilderness featured in the Adirondack Council’s logo.
The Adirondack Council’s 2014 annual membership meeting and Forever Wild Day celebration will take place at the Adirondack History Center Museum on Hand Avenue in Elizabethtown, across the street from the Council’s office Attendees will have free access to the museum from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m.
The awards ceremony and luncheon will begin at noon. There is a $25 charge for lunch. Adirondack Explorer Editor and author Phil Brown will present a slide show entitled “Bob Marshall in the Adirondacks” following lunch, from 2:30 to 3:30. Call 1-877-873-2240 for reservations and details.
Previous Conservationist of the Year award winners include:
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson (2012); the Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program (2011); Governors George E. Pataki and Mario M. Cuomo; New York Times editor John Oakes; NYS Attorney General Dennis Vacco, NYS DEC Commissioners John P. Cahill and Erin Crotty; Senate EnCon Chairman Carl Marcellino, Assembly EnCon Chairman Richard Brodsky; Assembly En Con Chair Maurice Hinchey; Adirondack Park Agency Executive Director Robert Glennon; Adirondack environmental activists, including Peter Borrelli, the late Clarence Petty, the late Paul Schaefer and the late State Senator and Public Service Commission Chairman Harold Jerry; John and Margot Ernst of Elk Lake; and, Adirondack Harvest.
The Adirondack Council is a privately funded not-for-profit organization whose mission is to ensure the ecological integrity and wild character of the Adirondack Park. The Council envisions a Park comprised of core wilderness areas, surrounded by farms and working forests, as well as vibrant, local communities.
The Council carries out its mission through research, education, advocacy and legal action. Adirondack Council members live in all 50 United States.