LAKE PLEASANT- Hamilton County has joined forces with the state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and the Adirondack Community Trust (ACT) to provide local young people with environmental work opportunities within the Adirondack Park.
The Hamilton County Workforce Investment Board (WIB) is working with the DEC to form a program that will recruit young people to work as assistant rangers at Moose River Plains Wild Forest.
The two groups were approached by the ACT to help fund the program through a $5,000 grant. This will supplement the existing funds from the WIB's Summer Youth Program. Funds may also be available from the Workforce Investment Act, but outside funding hinges on what the DEC ultimately decides to provide.
Hamilton County Board of Supervisors Chairman William Farber is encouraged by the support shown in the program's formative stages.
The assistant ranger program is designed to work with Hamilton County's plans to foster job and recreational opportunities within the Adirondack Park, according to Farber.
"The locally developed program is in the early planning stages," he said. "I am very positive about the presence of jobs where people have the opportunity within the environment that exists within the Adirondacks. It will give young people a taste of the long-term opportunities available."
Farber also spoke highly of the working relationships that have begun with the assistant ranger program.
"These are the kinds of partnerships necessary as we go forward with strained budgets," he said.
The WIB's Summer Youth Program usually markets their programs in local high schools, but this program may present the opportunity to work with local community colleges with environmental studies programs in adjacent counties, according to Farber.
The program plans to place assistant forest rangers at Moose River Plains for interpretation purposes, to answer resource questions and assist in minor maintenance.
The WIB hopes to start planning the assistant forest ranger program early in the fiscal year in order to have recruitment plans in place by April.