We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
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Tuesday, February 6. 2018
Over the years, the 800-acre Plum Island in the outer part of Long Island Sound has been the site of several forts, and in recent decades, the site of the federal Animal Disease Center.
The latter is moving to Kansas, and for ten years the feds have wanted to sell the mostly-wild island to the highest bidder (most likely developers). Perfect place for a high-end resort with a helicopter pad and a links golf course - but...
There are very few precious plots of undeveloped coastal land in southern New England, and most of those are so frequented by people that they are unsuited for nesting shorebirds or breeding seals, etc.
The feds just want the $, and NY State seems uninterested. My preference would for the island to become a NWR or something like that. Or for the Nature Conservancy to buy it (but they aren't buying much land outright any more).
My other choice would be for somebody conservation-minded to buy it as a private preserve as Louis Bacon did with Robin's Island and as Hank Paulson did with Little St Simon's Island in Georgia (11,000 acres, 32 guests). We love to visit LSS.
Here's the site for Preserve Plum Island
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I suppose there is some tiny chance of Plum Island becoming a NWR or park but I expect developers already have their eyes on it and NYC and state politicians can't resist more tax income. As far as LSS and Robins Island you may as well kiss them goodbye as well. I'll bet as soon as the current owners die they will become developments also.
Usually they put the development rights in a trust. It's like a legacy.
Who puts them in a trust? The current owners? Only if their interest in the land extends beyond their deaths. It's possible but almost all the old, privately owned Sea Islands are covered with condos and golf courses now. I would much prefer Kiawah, Seabrook and Hilton Head Islands to have remained as they were when I was younger but it couldn't happen and won't. Way too much money at stake for them to be private enclaves much longer.,
My choice is always for someone else to buy a beautiful piece of undeveloped property and operate it as a park instead of turning a profit off it. I'd do it myself, but I'm a little short this month, and it's too much trouble to go round up a bunch of like-minded people who might pool their resources with me.
The Bamberger Ranch in Blanco County in the Texas Hill Country went beyond preservation to restoration.
Then and Now: A Natural PerspectiveThe trumpeting of supplying water for "four households, our center and two cabins" refers to 5,500 acres, over 8 square miles.
Bamberger Ranch’s original purchase of 3,000 acres in 1969 is where the majority of the cedar clearing took place. The remaining 2,500 acres was purchased in pieces over the next several years to what is now a 5,500 acre habitat restoration and wildlife preserve.
Early bird surveys 45 years ago documented under 50 species. As birds are good indicator species, you can glean an idea of what kind of condition your land is in. The current species list (PDF) is up to 213 species, demonstrating diversity and vast improvement in habitat conditions.
When the ranch was predominantly a cedar brake, that is basically one type of habitat: forest. When you clear out and add native grasses, you basically expand your habitat range to greater diversity: forest (as there is still about 5-10% of the ranch in a cedar brake type of condition), grassland, riparian, and then “edge” habitat — that transition area of one habitat type to the next, which is very important to wildlife.
Total counts now include the bald eagle and the golden eagle, but probably more important for the Texas Hill Country, we consistently have nesting pairs of two endangered song birds: the Golden Cheeked Warbler and the Black cedar thickets Capped Vireo — both of which were not documented here prior to habitat restoration. More than 25 total sightings of nesting pairs of the GCW were documented in 2005.
Deer harvested over 40 years ago had an average field dress weight of 55 pounds. The deer were very small and unhealthy, due to lack of forage diversity. Bucks now consistently field dress at an average of 115 pounds with the record in 2013 being 156 pounds....
Most importantly, prior to habitat restoration, there was no surface water or live creeks on the ranch when Mr. Bamberger purchased the property. He even tried to start his own water well drilling business — drilling 7 wells around the ranch 500 feet deep and did not get a drop of water.
After restoration, there are now 27 stock tanks (or ponds and lakes) and countless springs. Eleven artesian springs are “cased” to utilize for domestic purposes or livestock.
Being at the top of its watershed, Miller Creek originates on the Bamberger Ranch. Our stretch runs year-round except in times of extreme drought conditions. But even in times of drought, the most important springs that supply all the water to four households, our center and two cabins have never gone dry since habitat restoration.
I was under the impression this was a mostly conservative website.
The buyer should be able to do what he or she pleases with the property as long as it's within the law.
Want to keep it natural? Cut a check.
"We suggested that, did we not?"
It appeared you suggested OTHER people step up and do it.
I have agreement. I am wondering why people in Alaska or South Dakota should care what happens to Plum Island.
However this is what conservatism is in emotion if not always in principle - to make sure that good things are conserved, so that those who live after can know them as well. I'm not sure it is that easily separated from the desire to preserve Western Civ in a grander sense.
I don't think I am as tied to places as much as other New England conservatives.
Having grown up in a NE farmhouse that had three sections built over three centuries, I have no objection to a brand new house. The old ones always need something. It never stops. If it's not one thing, it's another. A childhood friend replaced all the wood siding in her 300 year old house several years ago- and is getting leaks around her new windows.
Regarding land preservation, I would observe that my hometown has more land in forest than it did when I was growing up. In my lifetime, fields used to grow corn or hay have reverted back to their natural state. The retreat from New England farms has been going on for over 150 years.
An island was an excellent choice for an animal disease center.
Moving an institution that handles highly contagious organisms, such as the hoof and mouth pathogen to the middle of cattle country??
What could possibly go wrong?
As for the island. 800 acres is what? 1 1/4 square miles? That won't make a statistical difference to wildlife proliferation in the grand scheme of things. A resort is likely highest and best use of the property.
Finally, and I am sorry if this causes any distress, but it always annoys me one wishes the property of another be declared a wildlife refuge.
Also, "highest and best" use generally means "generates the most taxes"
Make it into a wind farm. That'll supply power and take care of the nesting birds in one fell swoop, so to speak.
I wonder why they want to move a dangerous laboratory from an island to Kansas. It seems to me that they would be better off leaving it there. That way, all of Dr. Moreau's half-humans will have a nice place to run around. Two legs good!
When I read Plumb Island, I thought of the day I spent at Plumb Island on the Massachusetts north shore, decades ago. When I found out the article referred to PI off Long Island, I wondered if my memory was faulty. Plumb Island Massachusetts.
Except as a natural habitat for the endangered piping plover, the argument for preserving this island as a wildlife preserve seemed quite weak to me. Coincidently, Plum Island in MA appears to be a more critical habitat for this bird's long-term survival.
I've a friend who keeps a sailboat near New Suffolk. Plum Island makes a great navigation beacon when heading south out of Buzzard's Bay, with Montauk Point on the port side, Plum to Starboard, and Gardiner's Island in the middle. Even with all the beaches and surprising amount of development out that way, the trees and rocks stand out and are a pleasing sight.
It won't be the same with a $23 million mansion on East Point on Plum Island. And you know there will be a mansion there, and in all likelihood, the owner will bitch to the state to get NonMario to do something about all the vessel traffic wrecking his view... I am not sure if it is really progress.
Some might dare question the infinite good of conservation set asides. I'd be one to resist another click of the ratchet where government at any level, increases it's ownership of land. Hailing from Upstate, NY where there are thousands of acres of state land burdening the state government with payments to local townships with Payments in Lieu of Taxes for highly regulated seldom used real estate, I'd encourage property auctions for land as well as rescinding a whole bunch of National Monument declarations.
Y'all want this stuff, get your money together, buy the land and pay taxes; don't use the power of the government to get others to subsidize your feel good wishes.
Public land represents the loss of private sector opportunity and brings an unending financial obligation to the public at large (government).