JOHNSBURG - A Clinton County man who grew up on a homestead farm and spent 18 years as a logger has been named chairman of the Adirondack Park Local Government Local Review Board.
On Jan. 26, Town of Saranac board member Gerald Delaney was elected unanimously and installed as chairman of the Review Board. He succeeds George Canon of Newcomb.
Delaney said that in his new position, he'd be working diligently to advocate on behalf of those who live and work in the Adirondacks.
Delaney said that he was well-versed on the issues important to local year-round residents.
"I worked on farms in the Adirondacks since my youth - I picked up a chainsaw at the age of 18 and worked in the woods as a logger, felling and skidding trees," he said, noting that forest-related resources were important traditionally and in the present day - for both local culture and the economy.
"The logging and natural resources industries in the region have created the character of the communities and people of the Adirondacks - it's who we are," he added. "If you take away the working forests, you destroy the local economy."
Review Board Executive Director Fed Monroe said he recruited Delaney because he was well-informed on Adirondack issues and was committed to strike a balance between environmental conservation and the rights of residents of the Adirondacks.
"I have respect for his approach - he's really interested in Adirondack issues, and he is highly motivated," Monroe said.
Monroe said he's been aware of Delaney's activism on behalf of Adirondack citizens, through both their work with the Adirondack Association of Towns and Villages. Delaney has been a member of the panel for two and a half years, Monroe said.
"He's got a lot of energy, and he has a great perspective," Monroe said.
Delaney has deep roots in the Adirondacks. He grew up on his family's farm, established in 1899.
Delaney said Jan. 26 one of his top concerns was the state's unrestrained acquisition of land in the Adirondacks - taking woodlands out of production.
"The Adirondacks became what they are because of the stewardship of large and small landowners," he said. The state erodes that by buying up the working forests."
Delaney added that logging was vital for providing income for families in the Adirondacks.
"With the state buying up land, so many entry-level jobs are now gone," he said.