Story of a Biosphere: The Champlain Adirondack Biosphere Reserve (CABR)

December 18, 2002

By Dale French

Vice-president, Private Property Rights, Alliance For America

Adirondack Solidarity Alliance

Crown Point, New York

Our region, Northeastern New York and western Vermont, was designated a
Biosphere Reserve in 1988, the Champlain Adirondack Biosphere Reserve (CABR).

It is the fourth largest in the world and has the largest population of all
of the designated reserves.

No local residents (except a few "stakeholders") or local government
officials were aware that we had been 'nominated' by the Department of State
for this distinction.

When people became aware in the early 1990s, there was significant
opposition. The opposition was so wide spread, in fact -- especially on the
New York side of Lake Champlain -- that since about 1995 the CABR has been
listed, by the Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Program, as "inactive."

Our Essex County Board of Supervisors, of which I am a member and current
chairman, adopted resolutions opposing this designation.

When the Catskill Mountain region of New York State was to be nominated for
Biosphere Reserve designation, the House of Representatives Resource
Committee, chaired by Congressman Don Young of Alaska, held hearings in the
Catskills. I was invited to testify by our then-Congressman, Jerry Solomon.

The pro and con sides were clearly divided: Pro Biosphere
Reserve/Environmental organization spokespeople, social planners, and
government bureaucrats. Anti: Local government representatives, Property
Rights spokespeople, Land owners.

The school auditorium where the hearing was held was filled with local
citizens opposed to the designation. The testimonies that were given and the
show of opposition to the MAB Program clearly won the day, and the Catskill
region was withdrawn from consideration.

Those supporting the MAB program claim it is harmless -- just an honorary
designation. In fact, it is a treaty whereby this nation pledges to enforce
such UN provisions as core areas, buffer zones, etc.

In some countries, the Biosphere Reserve designation and its restrictions has
meant the removal of the local population, such as in India for tiger

In effect, our government gives up -- has given up -- sovereignty over these
areas to the United Nations.

Even though our government, in most instances, has not chosen to strictly
enforce this treaty, it is nevertheless on the books and someday those living
in one of the 28 or so reserves in this country will know what it means to
have this honorary designation.


(Note: A point to consider -- when 'our government' gives up our lands to a
foreign government's restrictions and regulations, i.e., the United Nations,
has it not given also our sovereignty into the hands of that foreign entity?
This Guest Editorial makes some excellent thinking points to help galvanize
others in to action to regain our sovereignty. It is painfully clear that
'our government' is not going to do it for us!)


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