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