Saving Sterling Forest: The Epic Struggle to Preserve New York's Highlands

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SUNY Press, Feb 1, 2012 - Nature - 216 pages
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This is the inspiring story of the twenty-five-year-long effort to preserve Sterling Forest, a tract of rugged, upland terrain encompassing twenty thousand acres within the New York–New Jersey Highlands. Barely forty miles northwest of New York City, Sterling Forest seemed destined to suffer the same fate that had befallen thousands of acres of land in this rapidly suburbanizing corridor. The fight to save Sterling Forest brought together one of the largest coalitions of environmental groups and government entities ever assembled. Despite the loose, sometimes fractious nature of the alliance, the coalition managed to extract support from Congress, New York State, New Jersey, and private donors, while at the same time negotiating a contract to purchase the land from the Sterling Forest Corporation, a company that vigorously protected its financial interests at every turn. Deemed by some to be one of the more remarkable environmental victories of the 1990s, the successful outcome of the Sterling Forest struggle—a large state park within easy access of millions of people and a protected supply of water to New Jersey residents—embodied virtually every facet of land-use conflict. It provides a model for saving other areas where critical wild lands are threatened by development.
 

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Contents

1 A Forest Is at Stake
1
2 Money from the Colonial Rocks
7
3 The Sprawl Wars Begin
23
4 The Art of Launching a ForestPreservation Movement 19851990
41
5 New Corporate Actions Make Enviros Scramble
73
6 Government Sees Green
99
7 Turning the Grassrootsinto a Fighting Force
115
8 Bounced Around in the Washington Turf Wars
129
9 The Open Space Movement Saves a Highlands Jewel
149
10 A New Vision for Land Preservation
161
Epilogue
173
Notes
175
Index
195
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About the author (2012)

Ann Botshon (1942–2004) was Coordinator of the Wallkill River Task Force and Editor of the Sierra Atlantic, the quarterly magazine published by the Atlantic (New York) Chapter of the Sierra Club.

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