‘REC­OG­NIZED WORLD­WIDE’

Na­tional Geo­graphic mag­a­zine to fea­ture Ul­ster County en­vi­ron­men­tal achieve­ments in De­cem­ber is­sue; Hein says recog­ni­tion could ben­e­fit tourism

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - FRONT PAGE - By Wil­liam J. Kem­ble news@free­manon­line.com

Ul­ster County’s en­vi­ron­men­tal ini­tia­tives and achieve­ments will be fea­tured in the De­cem­ber is­sue of Na­tional Geo­graphic mag­a­zine, County Ex­ec­u­tive Michael Hein an­nounced Mon­day.

A pull-out sup­ple­ment, called “Dream­ing Green” and in­clud­ing a full-color map, will fo­cus on the county’s ef­forts to set a pos­i­tive ex­am­ple of en­vi­ron­men­tal stew­ard­ship, Hein said dur­ing a press con­fer­ence at SUNY Ul­ster’s Kingston Cen­ter on Mary’s Av­enue in the city.

The mag­a­zine is to be on news­stands later this month.

“We’re the first and only county in the state of New York to be­come net-car­bon neu­tral,” Hein said. “We’re the only county to get 100 per­cent of our elec­tric­ity from re­new­able re­sources. The next near­est one is at 15 per­cent.”

Hein said the mag­a­zine fea­ture, which came to his at­ten­tion in July, cred­its the county for si­mul­ta­ne­ously en­cour­ag­ing devel­op­ment and at­tempt­ing to pro­tect nat­u­ral habi­tats.

The mag­a­zine also makes note of the county’s co­op­er­a­tion with re­gional en­vi­ron­men­tal groups, Hein said.

“None of this is pos­si­ble with­out ex­tra­or­di­nary en­vi­ron­men­tal part­ners,” he said. “Places like the Green In­fra­struc­ture Cen­ter, the Open Space In­sti­tute, Mo­honk Pre­serve, Scene Hud­son, the Hud­son Val­ley Farm Hub, the John Bur­roughs As­so­ci­a­tion, the Wil­liams Lake Project, River­keeper, Moun­tain­keeper and many rail trail-or­ga­ni­za­tions, like Wood­stock Land Con­ser­vancy, Wal­lkill Val­ley Land Trust, and ... SUNY Ul­ster.”

Hein said he hopes the at­ten­tion from Na­tional Geo­graphic, which cir­cu­lates world­wide and is printed in about 40 lan­guages, will draw more peo­ple to visit Ul­ster County.

“There is no doubt that this recog­ni­tion ... [will] pos­i­tively im­pact Ul­ster County’s $533 mil­lion tourism in­dus­try ev­ery step of the way,” he said. “Ul­ster County is go­ing to be rec­og­nized world­wide.”

Na­tional Geo­graphic also rec­og­nized that dif­fer­ent land-

con­ser­va­tion ef­forts in the county have been able to work to­gether.

“Pre­vent­ing the frag­men­ta­tion of wildlife habi­tat is a pri­or­ity in Ul­ster,” the fea­ture says. “In June 2015, the non­profit group Scenic Hud­son pre­served a 23-acre mix of for­est and hard­wood swamp, cre­at­ing the John Bur­roughs Black Creek Cor­ri­dor and fill­ing a gap in a wildlife path­way. Blue­back her­ring can now mi­grate more safely and peo­ple can hike and pad­dle along the eight-mile long cor­ri­dor.”

Amanda LaValle, co­or­di­na­tor of the Ul­ster County De­part­ment of the En­vi­ron­ment, noted in a press re­lease from Hein’s of­fice that the county’s en­vi­ron­men­tal ini­tia­tives also in­clude:

• Hav­ing al­ter­nate-fuel ve­hi­cles in the county’s fleet.

• Cre­at­ing an elec­tric ve­hi­cle charg­ing net­work.

• Re­plac­ing light fix­tures in county build­ings with LED units, re­plac­ing bot­tled water with en­ergy-ef­fi­cient water foun­tains and us­ing en­vi­ron­men­tally friendly clean­ing sup­plies.

Ear­lier this month, the White House lauded Ul­ster County for its ef­fort to elec­trify the county’s ve­hi­cle fleet.

PHO­TOS BY WIL­LIAM J. KEM­BLE

An en­larged ver­sion of the Na­tional Geo­graphic fea­ture is dis­played next to Ul­ster County Ex­ec­u­tive Michael Hein dur­ing his press con­fer­ence on Mon­day in Kingston.

Hein looks at a Na­tional Geo­graphic im­age on a screen dur­ing Mon­day’s press con­fer­ence.

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