Conservation

Good News! Proposed Casino in Sterling Forest Rejected — 12/17/2014

Genting Corporation’s bid for a casino within Sterling Forest State Park was rejected on December 17, 2014, by the New York Gaming Commission, claiming that the proposed site was too near downstate casinos. A coalition of groups, including the Linnaean Society of New York, opposed the casino on environmental grounds.

Proposed Gambling Casino in Sterling Forest State Park — 11/2014

Genting Americas Corporation is bidding for a New York State gaming license to build a casino on a parcel of land enclosed by Sterling Forest State Park. The 240-acre site plan shows 75 structures, including a seven-story, 1000-room hotel, nearly 9000 parking places, and mechanized recreation (cable railway, ziplines, bike trails)—all of which have the potential for devastation to the forest fabric. The projection is for 7,000,000 visitors a year. Genting has gone to great lengths to project an image of environmental sensitivity by offering specific environmental “mitigations” in the proposed plan.

At this point he best strategy for preventing the casino from happening appears to be convincing the New York State Gaming Commission that a site in Sterling Forest State Park is inappropriate for such dense human activity and development.

Gail P. Thorpe, Supervisor of Contract Administration
New York State Gaming Commission
Schenectady, New York 12301

Other public officials who should be contacted are:

Rose Harvey, Commissioner
Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation
Albany, New York 12238

James F. Hall, Executive Director
Palisades Interstate Park Commission
Bear Mountain, New York 10911

Michael Rost, Supervisor
Town of Tuxedo
Tuxedo, New York 10987

A letter will be sent to Governor Andrew Cuomo, signed by the heads of several environmental organizations, many of which were involved in the establishment of Sterling Forest State Park.

There are mixed feelings about the casino in the local community. Some residents see environmental degradation and loss of the area’s character; others regard such development as financially healthy. The Tuxedo Town Board voted for new zoning regulations, seemingly ignoring any environmental assessment.

The nearly 22,000-acre state park—with a mix of state-owned parkland and private multiuse land—was established to protect the (mostly New Jersey) watershed in the region. Much of the non-state-owned land is occupied by small homes but there are also larger corporate and research facilities within the designated park boundaries. This set-up was a crucial part of the “deal” to create the park.

Rodger Friedman, co-chair of the Sterling Forest Partnership, contacted Professor John Confer of Ithaca College, who has been studying golden-winged and blue-winged warbler populations and other species in Sterling Forest State Park for many years, to quantify as much as possible some of the projected impacts on nesting species. Confer’s study can be found at http://www.nybirds.org/Articles/Conservation/GWWA-BWWA-RangeChanges2013.html. Bird migration will also be affected: in addition to the 240-acre casino site there will be major expansion of access roads.

The Linnaean Society of New York will be working with other environmental groups in an attempt to stop the proposed casino in Sterling Forest.

Andrew Rubenfeld
Chair, Conservation Committee