A government watchdog agency is calling for recreation fees at parks and other public lands to be more coordinated. Lester Graham reports it could affect how you much you have to pay to get into parklands:
A government watchdog agency is calling for recreation fees at parks and other public
lands to be more coordinated. Lester Graham reports it could affect how you much you
have to pay to get into parklands:
For the past nine years, agencies such as the National Park Service, and the Fish
and Wildlife Service have been allowed to come up with new fees and fee collection
programs, with the idea of improving visitor services at certain sites.
The Government Accountability Office studied how recreation entrance fees and user
fees are applied and used. The GAO found that some sites were bringing in more money
than they could use and others didn’t pull in enough money to keep up basic
maintenance. The report also indicated that a new annual visitor’s pass that would allow
you to get into sites regardless of which agency owned it was to be issued starting the
first of next year, but the agencies still haven’t come up with a price for the pass.
Finally, the GAO says many sites don’t have proper controls or audits on collected fees.
Sites say they trust their staff to handle the money properly, but the GAO indicates that’s
not quite good enough.
For the Environment Report, this is Lester Graham.
Bruce Banninger's RV replete with solar panels in California. (Photo courtesy of Bruce and Yvonne Banninger)
With the return of summer comes the return of Recreational Vehicles, or RVs, from their winter homes in the South. Nicknamed “road whales,” most of those homes on wheels have a bad reputation as gas guzzlers, but some of them are saving energy once they’re parked.
Solar systems mean the RVs don’t plug in to use electricity. Instead, they get some of their power from the sun. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s Cari Noga reports:
With the return of summer comes the return of recreational
vehicles – RVs – from their winter homes in the South. Nicknamed
“road whales,” most of those homes on wheels have a bad reputation as
gas guzzlers. But some of them are saving energy once they’re parked.
Solar systems mean the RVs don’t plug in to use electricity. Instead,
they get some of their power from the sun. The Great Lakes Radio
Consortium’s Cari Noga reports:
Michigan RV owners, Bruce and Yvonne Banninger, take all the comforts of home along when they hit the road. Their big RV has a flat screen TV, surround sound, and even an electric bread maker. But they don’t have to hook up to power at an RV park, or start up a portable generator. To run all those appliances from the remote places they like to park, the Banningers rely on three solar panels mounted on the roof of their RV. Bruce Banninger says he wouldn’t want to motor home without the panels.
“We do a lot of boondocking, they call it, or not being plugged in. We like to just park out along a stream or a lot of places like that and you need power, and I don’t like running the generator all the time. And so the solar panels pretty much take care of it. On a sunny day.”
The Banningers have had solar since they got their first RV in 1992. Bruce Banninger says the fairly low cost, lack of maintenance, and the environmental benefit are the biggest reasons why RV owners like solar.
“I figure that for every panel that we have – solar panel – we can save running the generator one hour a day. And so when you figure out long term, that’s quite a savings. And you’re not burning a non-replaceable fuel. The sun, hopefully, will shine a long time yet.”
The Banningers have relied on their solar panels everywhere from California to the Everglades and on up into Canada. They found most U.S. National Parks don’t have electrical hookups, making solar pretty handy there.
“There’s something neat about being able to park out anywhere, and have all the power you need. It’s a good feeling; you’re self-sufficient.”
There’s not a lot of data on how many RVs use solar panels. But solar suppliers and RV manufacturers agree that it’s an option more RV-ers are choosing these days. The independent Michigan supplier who sold Banninger his panels has seen it. John Heis says most of his work is on homes, but people in his line of work in the South can earn a living just off the RV market.
“There’s a quite a market there to be done with RV people, certain parts of the United States where RV-ers live year-round, there are people that do make a living doing just that.”
Besides small dealers like Heis, large companies are finding a niche in RV solar too. Randy Bourne works at ICP Solar, a Canadian company that makes mobile solar products, like panels for RVs and boats. He says RVs are the company’s biggest market.
“Business has at least doubled over the past three to four years.”
Bourne says both consumers and manufacturers are demanding solar. One Oregon manufacturer, Monaco Coach, now offers a solar panel standard on its top-of-the-line model. Solar panels are optional on other Monaco models. They all come pre-wired so solar can be added later.
On RVs, solar panels charge the batteries that support the typical electrical systems. As RVs get bigger and more elaborate, new kinds of appliances and alarm and safety systems require power even when not in use. Randy Bourne says solar’s perfect for that.
“Solar and batteries go hand in hand. What the solar panels are doing now is putting in a small trickle charge to keep that battery well-maintained for a longer period of time.”
Cost depends on the extent of the system. Banninger estimated it cost him two thousand dollars for the panels and controller he installed five years ago. Today, Bourne says basic one-hundred watt panels cost between seven-hundred and nine-hundred dollars installed. That’s a relatively inexpensive option to add to high-end RVs, which can carry a price tag well into six figures.
RVs still use a tremendous amount of fuel going down the highway, but more and more, RVs are using the sun’s energy once parked, and some owners think in the long run, the solar-powered RV ends up using a lot less than driving from hotel to hotel. And the Banningers say that once they’re boondocked in the desert, with their solar panels catching the sun’s free rays, life is good.
Some people see living off the power grid as a good way to save money and energy. Others caution that living off-grid is more trouble than it's worth. (Photo by Johnny Waterman)
For most homeowners, electricity requires flipping a switch, plugging into an outlet – and writing a monthly check to the power company. Off the grid homeowners sometimes get to skip writing the monthly check to the power company. But the tradeoff might be climbing a 100-foot wind tower to make repairs. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s Cari Noga reports on what it takes to go off the grid and why some people are encouraged to find other ways to be environmentally friendly:
For most homeowners, electricity requires flipping a switch, plugging into
an outlet, and writing a monthly check to the power company. Off the grid homeowners sometimes get to skip writing the monthly check to the power company. But the tradeoff might be climbing a 100-foot wind tower to make repairs. Cari Noga reports on what it takes to go off the grid and why some people are encouraged to find other ways to be environmentally friendly:
In most of the Midwest, both solar and wind power are needed for a home to go off-grid. That’s because the region doesn’t get enough sun in winter, or enough wind in summer. Dave Van Dyke has both. He’s had a 100-foot wind mill tower on his northern Michigan property for nearly 10 years.
“I’d guess there’s hundreds up in northern MI. They’re not so well known because they are small. Unless you’re in a place to see them, you don’t even notice them. Like mine. We’ve had one there since 96, and some of my neighbors in Maple City still don’t know it’s there, until I said something.”
Van Dyke and his wife first used solar panels and then added the small wind generator for their home’s energy needs. More recently, they started a farm business on their 31 acres and
bought a more powerful wind generator.
“Right from the start we’ve been interested in renewable energy. We
were just homesteaders, basically trying to figure out how this off the
grid homestead was going to evolve. It turned into a farm just three years
Van Dyke uses wind and solar power because it’s environmentally friendly. But he says there are disadvantages to going off-grid. His first generator was problem free, but still required at least a yearly climb to maintain the tower.
The second generator has had a lot of mechanical problems. It was once down for eight months. The Van Dykes had to install a backup line connecting them to the grid. So it’s meant some work and inconvenience for them.
Jackie Ankerson lives near the Van Dykes. Two years ago she and her
husband installed a wind and solar system. She said because their 5-acre property is in a remote area, it helped justify the cost of between 15 and 17-thousand-dollars to go with the alternative generation system.
“Because of where we chose to live, it would have cost us almost as
much to bring in grid power as it did for our off-grid system.”
The desire to live in a remote place where power lines don’t run is a
common reason people install alternative energy systems. Another is a green conscience. John Heiss says he likes working with those homeowners. Heiss owns Northwoods Energy. Based in northern Michigan, he travels nine months of the year installing alternative home energy systems.
Heiss has customers in Michigan, Wisconsin, Indiana and even Mexico. Some want to control their own energy supplies, instead of relying on the power grid. Some are die-hard do-it-yourselfers. Others want to protect themselves from rising energy prices and diminishing supplies. They want to do their part to conserve fossil fuels.
“There’s a big consciousness. Right now we’re listening to our president tell us about an energy plan, and it’s not hitting any of these issues, and there’s people calling me every day asking about these issues, wanting to do something about it. They’re saying, well this is nuts.”
It’s a big change from 1992, when Heiss started his company. The first few years, business was slow. Today, his phone rings steadily.
“Somebody calls every day for something. I can really pick and choose who I do projects for, besides the fact that I have over 200 systems installed right now that I’m maintaining and servicing and keeping those alive, cause that’s a full time job at times..”
But Heiss winds up talking a lot of potential customers out of installing alternative energy. Maintenance is one reason. Others don’t realize how much power they use, and get sticker shock at the cost of a comparable alternative system. Instead of going off the grid, Heiss says those homeowners can help in other ways. He suggests they choose more efficient appliances and lighting. That minimizes the amount of power they need.
“It’s much easier not to spend as much money by changing lifestyle, and doing it without sacrificing, just making good choices.”
If homeowners still want alternative energy, they might need permits. More townships and counties are setting regulations, especially for wind towers. Some homeowners think it will all be worth it when they can sell surplus power back to the grid. But Heiss says they’re mistaken.
“A large percentage of people are misled, and think that they can make money selling renewable energy, power to electric companies. You’re not going to make it. You’ve got to realize at best it’s going to be a break even proposition.”
If a customer is not only willing to accept all that, but does so with a passion and enthusiasm, Heiss says he’s found someone he can work for.
People have depended on the locks of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway for decades. (Photo by David Sommerstein)
Paul Giometta normally helps ships in and out of the lock. But in the winter, he helps with repairs and maintenance. (Photo by David Sommerstein)
Construction during the winter is important to keeping the locks operational. (Photo by David Sommerstein)
The locks and channels for ships in the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway are getting old. Some were built more than 75 years ago. The U.S. and Canada are conducting a multi-million dollar study to determine how to keep the aging waterway functional, so ships can continue to haul cargo between the Great Lakes and the Atlantic Ocean. While the Seaway is closed in winter, workers empty the locks of their water for annual maintenance. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s David Sommerstein climbed eight stories down to the bottom of one lock on the St. Lawrence River to see how it’s going:
The locks and channels for ships in the Great Lakes
and St. Lawrence Seaway are getting old. Some were built more
than 75 years ago. The U.S. and Canada are conducting a multi-
million dollar study to determine how to keep the aging waterway
functional, so ships can continue to haul cargo between the Great
Lakes and the Atlantic Ocean. While the Seaway is closed in winter,
workers empty the locks of their water for annual maintenance. The
Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s David Sommerstein climbed eight stories
down to the bottom of one lock on the St. Lawrence River to see how
If you’ve never seen a lock before, it’s basically a long, concrete channel filled with water. A freighter goes in one end. Gates close in front and behind it, so the water level can be raised or lowered to move the ship up or down, and out the other end.
Here, that channel’s empty and dry and you can see how huge this lock really is. I get a queasy feeling as I ease onto the steep metal stairs. I can see the lock floor 80 feet below me. Maintenance director Jesse Hinojosa radios down to the bottom. He says workers lose track of how often they climb the stairs.
“We should get a good count of that. They go up and down all day long on it.”
(sound of steps)
I take it step by step. There’s a temporary roof overhead. The only light comes from floodlamps.
The lock gates are open so they can be worked on, so at one end of the lock are stoplogs – stacked steel that temporarily keeps the river out. Still, some water rushes through and has to be pumped out.
(sound of water rushing)
Paul Giometta tops off the fuel tank of one of 10 furnaces that heat the area. He wears a fleece hat and big yellow boots. During the shipping season, he helps guide freighters’ in and out of the lock. But in the winter, he shifts to a totally different line of work.
Giometta: “Chipping concrete, stuff like that, painting, whatever has to be done.”
Sommerstein: “It’s an old lock, there’s a lot of chipping concrete.”
Giometta: “Oh, yeah, there’s no end to that. What you fix today, years later you start all over again.”
Winter maintenance has been an annual job on this lock since the Seaway system opened in 1959. The scale of the work is almost impossible to wrap your mind around. To raise or lower a freighter, the lock flushes 22 million gallons of water in just 7 minutes. It uses gears, valves, tunnels, and huge gates to accomplish the task. Most of that equipment is original, now almost 50 years old. Every winter, it all has to be checked out and tested. Some parts are replaced.
Tom Levine directs the Seaway’s engineering department. He points to the lock’s crumbling concrete walls. He says that’s one of the biggest problems.
“The bad stuff, where the bad concrete is, you take a hammer, it sounds like a hollow wall, and these walls where you’re looking at are like 60 feet into the backfill. I mean, solid concrete, I mean, you wouldn’t believe it.”
Albert Jacquez holds his hardhat and looks up at the walls. He’s the St. Lawrence Seaway’s U.S. Administrator, based in Washington. His demeanor is like that of a homeowner wincing at his rickety porch or rotting roof.
“Well, what I see is a system that has worked well for half a century, but that in the near future needs a major overhaul.”
There are 22 other locks in the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway system. Most are owned by Canada. A binational study is underway to answer a critical question: how much will it cost to keep repairing all these locks and other infrastructure so they work for another 50 years? Jacquez says the answers the study finds could determine whether the Seaway gets a facelift or is left as is until it fails.
“Whatever those decisions are will be what they are, whether it’s ‘we’re gonna invest or we’re not gonna invest’, but they at least need the baseline numbers so that they know what they have ahead of them.”
But the study has been delayed. Lawmakers will have to wait at least a year longer than they expected because the project is so big. And President Bush has cut funding for the study in his budget plan by more than a half, which could delay it even further.
Meanwhile, keeping the Seaway open becomes more of a challenge every year. Jacquez says it’s like an old car.
“As it ages, we have to spend more and more time on it because we have more work to do.”
And workers face a hard deadline. Before spring shipping begins, where we’re standing will be flooded under 30 feet of water, so the lock can be ready to welcome the first freighter of the season.
President Bush is proposing a toll for use of the St. Lawrence Seaway. Some worry the toll will dissuade usage and hurt businesses. (Photo courtesy of the Bureau of Transportation Statistics)
The Bush Administration wants to charge ships
for passing through the St. Lawrence Seaway. The
Seaway links the Great Lakes with the Atlantic Ocean.
The Administration hopes the toll will help the
system pay for itself. The Great Lakes Radio
Consortium’s David Sommerstein reports:
The Bush Administration wants to charge ships for passing through the St. Lawrence Seaway. The Seaway links the Great Lakes with the Atlantic Ocean. The Administration hopes the toll will help the system pay for itself. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s David Sommerstein reports:
The Bush Administration’s spending plan for next fiscal year calls for
raising 8 million dollars through a new toll system on the Seaway. The
shipping industry says the move could hurt businesses and cost jobs. But
Seaway Administrator Albert Jacquez says he doesn’t expect tolls to affect
traffic levels. He says there used to be a toll, but it was eliminated in
“If you look at five years before we stopped collecting tolls and five years
after, you’ll see very little change in the level of cargo that moves
through the system, and so I wouldn’t expect a great impact.”
Jacquez says the state of the economy in North America has a much larger
effect on cargo than any other factor.
Great Lakes shippers say the plan is unfair because it would force them to
pay twice for using the Seaway – once for an existing harbor maintenance
tax, and again for a transit toll.
For the Great Lakes Radio Consortium, I’m David Sommerstein.
"Look! No handle." Jim Fashbaugh shows off one of the waterless urinals Michigan State University is installing in new buildings. It uses no water. (Photo by Lester Graham)
There’s a change happening in certain restrooms across the country. With growing concerns about wasting water, companies have been looking at ways to use less water to flush… and now a new product uses no water at all. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s Lester Graham reports:
There’s a change happening in certain restrooms across the country. With growing concerns about wasting water, companies have been looking at ways to use less water to flush… and now a new product uses no water at all. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s Lester Graham reports:
Alright… this is a story for the guys. I mean, you women might be interested, but this is really a guy thing. They’re taking the flush away from us. You’ve probably noticed that urinals have been changing from manual flush to some kind of automatic or motion-detecting sensor flush. Now a few companies are producing urinals with no handle, no button, no sensor. Companies such as Sloan Valve Company, Waterless Company and Falcon Waterfree Technologies are making urinals without flushers.
Bruce Fleisher is the Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Falcon Waterfree Technologies.
Fleisher: “Literally there is zero water consumption with the use of this urinal product.”
Graham: “Well how do you flush it?”
Fleisher: “Well, in fact, it’s the no-flush urinal.”
No flush. No water. The urine just goes down the drain, past a sealant and it’s trapped there. All the no-water urinal companies use similar technology.
“Because it’s a dry surface, that prevents the urine from breeding bacteria rather quickly. And, as a result, you have no odor.”
Hold it. What did he just say?
(sound of rewinding tape)
“And, as a result, you have no odor.”
Now, I couldn’t let that one go… so I asked Mr. Fleisher to explain how that works.
“The odor that people would typically experience in a urinal derives from the combination of the urine and the water creating a breeding ground for bacteria. Bacteria then generates ammonia gas. Ammonia gas is what most people are picking up. That’s what smells.”
I remember from some high school science class that urine, when it’s expelled, is sterile. So, it kinda makes sense. But hey, this guy’s in charge of sales. So I called up a nephrologist. Nephrologists study kidneys so they know something about urine. Dr. Akinolu Ojo is the director of nephrology outpatient services at the University of Michigan. He explained why urine smells.
Ojo: “The odor that one gets from the urine comes from exposure to atmospheric air and water moisture. As that happens there is decomposition of some of the compounds in the urine. One of the by-products is ammonia. And so you get at that point an ammonia smell.”
Graham: “So, this mixture with water, it becomes a better breeding ground for bacteria?”
Ojo: “That’s correct.”
Graham: “And then the chemical reaction in addition to that also could cause some odor?”
Ojo: “You are correct.”
Glad we got that cleared up. In fact, when I went to see the Assistant Manager of the Physical Plant and Maintenance Services at Michigan State Univesity, Jim Fashbaugh said an odor problem with flush urinals is what prompted that univeristy’s first experiment with no-flush urinals.
“We’d heard about the waterless urinals. We thought we’d give them a chance to see how they would work. And we installed it and it took care of the odor problem, but we also realized we were saving water at that point, so we thought we’d take a look at other applications.”
So, they had one installed in the bathroom in the building where the top maintenance guys work.
(sound of men’s room door opening)
We took a peek at it.
Fashbaugh: “It’s one of the first ones that we ended up trying out. That’s basically it.”
Graham: “It looks like it’s broken, like there’s-”
(sound of laughing)
Fashbaugh: “Yeah. As you see, there’s no flush valve. There’s no- anything else happning. It just goes down through the ports there and there’s a blue liquid that allows the urine to go through and it separates it out. Frankly, we have hard water here at MSU; we’ve got those deep water wells. And it eliminates that lime buildup and whatever that we had to clean up before. So it saves us on products to have to do that issue too.”
Fashbaugh says the janitors love them. Instead of disinfectant, water and a lot of scrubbing, it’s more of a spray and wipe procedure. The no-flush, no-water urinals have been around in Europe for a long time, and they became popular in the drier areas of the American Southwest a few years ago. Now, universities, stadiums, and airports among others all across the country are installing them.
Guys… it could be that this sound…
(sound of flushing)
…might soon be flushed down the drain of water-wasting history.
For the Great Lakes Radio Consortium, this is Lester Graham
(sound of restroom door opening)
Fashbaugh: “Do a lot of interviews in restrooms?”
Graham: “Uh, not – I think that might be a first for me.”
Fashbaugh: “Yeah, really. I was glad we didn’t have to do a demonstration.”
Turbines like these not only could help produce energy from a renewable and seemingly infinite resource, but could also create thousands of new jobs, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists.
A new report says a national renewable energy policy could create thousands of new jobs in the Midwest. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s Erin Toner reports:
A new report says a national renewable energy policy could create thousands of new
jobs in the Midwest. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s Erin Toner reports:
The report by the Union of Concerned Scientists urges Congress to adopt a policy
requiring 20 percent of the nation’s energy to be produced using renewable sources
by the year 2020. Those sources could be wind, solar, or geothermal energy. The report
says such a policy could create thousands of new jobs in manufacturing, construction and
Jeff Deyette is an energy analyst with the Union of Concerned Scientists. He says
rural communities – especially farmers – could be the biggest winners under the proposal.
“Farmers that were chosen to have wind power facilities sited on their land could get up
to as much as $4,000 per turbine to lease on their property.”
Deyette says a national renewable energy standard could save consumers nearly 50 billion
dollars by 2020. He says that’s because increased competition from renewables would help
lower the demand and the price of natural gas.
For the Great Lakes Radio Consortium, I’m Erin Toner.
Lilies like these reside in the Reinstein Nature Preserve. Environmentalists worry about natural life in the preserve as the state of New York considers opening it up without restrictions.
Imagine a suburban, backyard wilderness where 200 year-old trees still stand. That’s exactly what you’ll find at the 300 acre Reinstein Nature Preserve. It meanders right through the heart of a bustling suburb. The preserve has been limited to small groups led by a nature guide. But there’s a new plan to give unrestricted access. Some environmentalists worry that would ruin the preserve. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s Joyce Kryszak takes us to the woods – and to the debate:
Imagine a suburban, backyard wilderness where 200 year-old trees still stand.
That’s exactly what you’ll find at the 300 acre Reinstein Nature preserve.
It meanders right through the heart of a bustling suburb. The preserve has been limited
to small groups led by a nature guide. But there’s a new plan to give unrestricted access.
Some environmentalists worry that would ruin the preserve. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s
Joyce Kryszak takes us to the woods – and to the debate:
A Great Blue Heron perches lazily in the distance above an expanse of pink water lilies.
At first Bob Reinstein doesn’t see the bird.
“I should’ve brought my field glasses.”
But then its giant wings spread wide, laboring to clear the water in this serene Monet-like setting.
“The lilies were a gift from two different environmental organizations…”
The man and the majestic heron both seem oblivious to the rush of cars and people just
beyond the edge of the woods. This is the Reinstein Nature Preserve. It’s framed on all sides
by a sprawling suburb of houses and shopping plazas in Western New York. Like his parents before
him, Bob Reinstein says he’s risked his life for nearly sixty years defending this scene; he guards it against trespassers – and sometimes trespassers with guns.
“Their lives were threatened several times, in fact, mine was also. I was unarmed at the time,
but he had pointed his shotgun at me and threatened to shoot. Realizing it was pointing at my face,
I stopped following him.”
But Reinstein never stopped trying to protect the nature preserve his father created half a century ago.
By the time he died in 1984, the elder Reinstein had dug nine ponds, planted thousands of trees,
rare ferns and flowers to compliment the ancient scene. The younger Reinstein says it’s like a
“Where else can schoolchildren walk back through history a hundred and fifty years and see
samples of what existed then, that are still here today?”
Reinstein says his father bequeathed the preserve to the state to keep it from being trampled.
He stipulated that it must stay forever wild. People could visit, but only for educational
purposes. And only with a trained nature guide. That could all be changing. A proposal by the
State Department of Environmental Conservation would give the public unrestricted access.
Jane Wiercioch lives in the nearby suburb and loves visiting her backyard wilderness. But today
Weirchioch is handing out petitions here. She hopes to stop the DEC from opening the preserve. She
says it would leave the woods vulnerable.
“I know I came in here the other day for a walk around that lily loop with my great granddaughters
and, of course, they were chasing frogs. So, I’m with them, I’m yelling at them, ‘don’t do anything.’ But can you imagine having people just coming in here and doing what they want?”
State conservation officials say bringing in more people is the whole point. Meaghan Boice-Green
is a spokesperson for the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. She says all
other department-run properties are open to the public. Boice-Green says unrestricted access would be good for both the public and for the agency.
“We’re not talking about property that hasn’t touched by the hand of man, and in order for us
to obtain the funding to do the habitat maintenance that’s going to be necessary to maintain
this manmade habitat, we have to provide some public access. We’re not going to be able to
access funds to support a property that the public isn’t allowed to access.”
But the state has never had any trouble finding money to maintain the preserve before.
And Boice-Green couldn’t offer specifics about any extra funding.
Terry Boyle has volunteered as a guide at the preserve for eight years. But he agrees the
preserve should be unrestricted. Boyle says visitors can’t have a truly natural experience
if someone’s watching their every move.
“A lot of those people who do want to come in, they want to take photographs, they want to sit
down and reflect for a little bit about what they’re looking at, and that kind of stuff. So,
they can’t go at their own leisurely pace with tour guides, because we have to push them through a little bit
But the head of a local environmental group sees it differently. Larry Watson says if the
preserve is opened, there won’t be anything left to look at anyway. He believes the state is
just tired of policing the woods. But Watson says it was Dr. Reinstein’s wish that the
preserve be kept wild. And he should know. As a young boy sixty years ago, Watson spent many
long hours in the woods, helping Reinstein plant the saplings that now tower overhead.
“If they turn this into what they want to, it will be nothing more than a state park.
And we’d rather see it kept as an individual showpiece and a place New York state can be quite
proud of and show the rest of the country what can be done in the way of environmental
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation says it hasn’t made a final
decision. It will consider the wishes of those who want access to the preserve to remain
restricted. But many people are also demanding it be opened. Ultimately, the state says
it will likely let people come to the preserve whenever they want – and trust them
to be good caretakers.
For the Great Lakes Radio Consortium, I’m Joyce Kryszak.