Environmental groups may merge

TICONDEROGA - The Residents Committee to Protect the Adirondacks (RCPA) and the Association for the Protection of the Adirondacks (AFPA) are exploring combining forces.

The discussions remain in their early stages and the two organizations have set no deadlines.

At this point, both the AFPA and RCPA recognize that the two organizations have complimentary missions, policies and programs. AFPA was founded in 1901 and revised its strategic plan in 2005 to comprehensively tackle advocacy and educational missions for the Adirondack Park's wildlands, human communities and private land stewards.

The RCPA was formed in the 1990 by Adirondack Park residents to protect the Adirondack Park thru advocacy, and to directly contribute to the well being of the Park's natural and human communities.

The RCPA brings an in-park presence of board, staff and office; promotes working forests with an Adirondack timber certification program under the Forest Stewardship Council.

Its Adirondack Lake Assessment Program monitors the water quality of over 80 lakes.

The AFPA brings its 107 years of advocacy for wilderness and the "forever wild" Forest Preserve, an experienced staff, advocacy and educational programs such as its Adirondack Park stewardship training, and an Adirondack educational facility in Niskayuna, New York which includes the Adirondack Research Library. Both organizations closely monitor the Forest Preserve and the Department of Environmental Conservation, as well as the Adirondack Park Agency's actions concerning land use and development, and promote viable communities within the park.

An ad hoc exploratory committee of trustees from each organization has been constituted.

"The whole purpose of these discussions is to try to become more effective, to combine our forces in a strategic and synergistic fashion," said Charles Clusen, president of the AFPA Board of Trustees.

"We found that we share the very same goals and objectives, and that we may be able to accrue significant efficiencies by combining our forces." said Bob Harrison, chair of the RCPA Board of Directors.

Both organizations are committed to strengthening their programs for the continued protection of the Adirondacks, and to help secure the ecological integrity and mutual well being of the natural and human communities of the park for generations to come.

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