Environmental History: Researching the Environment:

Researching the Environment

The history of environmental affairs in New York State is the story of how New Yorkers have used natural resources and how they struggle to use soil, timber, water, air, and wildlife in ways that do not do irreparable damage.

Environmental policies developed in New York State have set national and international precedents:

  • First to define parcels of land that it owned as "wilderness area" requiring permanent protection (NYS Constitution, Article 14) inspiring the federal Wilderness Act and similar legislation in other nations.
  • First to codify a Conservation Law, establish a sustained enforcement system staffed by fish and wildlife officers and forest rangers, and create a state park system.

At present, federal, State, and local laws shape New Yorkers' efforts to ameliorate the effects of existing environmental damage, prevent further environmental harm, and respect the rights of the people who live, work, and play in the State.

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