Supporters of SWD’s position can send written comments to the Regional Advisory Board, or attend the hearing in Avon (or any other regional hearing) to provide oral comments. Public comments will be accepted until 4:45 on December 17, 2014 via email to LF.Lands@dec.ny.gov. or by mailing to:
Open Space Conservation Program
NYS Department of Environmental Conservation
Albany, NY 12233-4250
Supporters making either written or oral comments can make the following points. And don’t forget to send us a copy at firstname.lastname@example.org or our Canandaigua mailing address.
- The former Depot has unique environmental features that justify working to protect it
- The white deer, rich birding venues and other wild life, potential hiking and horse riding trails, and other features of the former Depot are valuable resources for New York State.
- The State has the financial and administrative resources to acquire and operate an ecotourism center at the former Depot.
- The former Depot has attracted thousands of visitors during very limited touring opportunities, proving the Depot’s drawing power among tourists, as well as local residents.
- Tourism is one of the most important industries in New York State. At his Tourism Summit in May 2014, our Governor committed “$45 million to promote statewide tourism, create jobs, and attract even more visitors to the Empire State.” He has initiated “a new campaign specifically targeted to promote outdoor tourism including a partnership with the DEC and Parks.” This is a perfect example of what the Governor’s program should accomplish.
- Very limited development has taken place on the Depot over the past decade and a half, so substantial land that may never be suitable for industrial or commercial development is immediately available.
- The Army Corps of Engineers is currently completing restoration of the former Depot and is expected to leave the site and cease its management program for the white deer by the end of 2015. We need to take action before then.
Sample Letters are here:
Two short sample letters follow
Dear Regional Advisory Committee:
I’m writing to express my support for Seneca White Deer’s proposal to establish an ecotourism center on the site of the former Seneca Army Depot. An ecotourism center at the former Depot would protect vital open lands that are already on the public rolls, and make those resources available to the public.
This proposal would provide a means to manage the white deer that live on the Depot, a resource that is not found anywhere else in the world. Revenues from operation of the ecotourism center could support management of the habitat and diverse wildlife and maintain the fences that will slowly deteriorate if nothing is done.
The Governor has expressed his support for enhancing the tourism in New York and even visited the Finger Lakes last spring to announce his new tourism initiative. This project would not only be good for the environment, preserve open space and allow all New Yorkers to enjoy a public resource, but it would help the economy of the region.
I encourage the Regional Advisory Committee to do everything within its power to support this proposal as well. Please make a strong recommendation that funds be provided from the state’s Environmental Defense Fund to get this vital project underway.
I want to encourage the Regional Advisory Committee to support the Seneca White Deer, Inc. idea of developing an ecotourism center at the former Seneca Army Depot. The famous white deer and other wildlife are a valuable resource for the state, and the Environmental Defense Fund is supposed to be available for project such as this. Please use your influence to make this funding available and serve the people of New York State.
The Depot property is currently public land, but the public is denied access to it. If the funding were available through the Environmental Defense Fund, the State could buy a portion of the Depot and open it to the public. It would be a shame if our state stood by and watched as private developers turned the existing open space into factories or a hunting preserve for the rich and famous.
I think the State has a responsibility to protect this land and the Open Space Plan is just the way to do it. If you really care about your mission, you’ll do everything you can to support this ecotourism proposal.