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New York Ag News Headlines
Controversial Sale by Conservation Group Threatens Fire Island
New York Ag Connection - 03/13/2018

In a controversial and surprise move, the Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC), headquartered in Boston, announced plans to sell its ecologically run Fire Island property, putting it at risk for development.

Without warning, the AMC, a 501(c)(3) membership-based organization whose mission is conservation, said it would sell its Fire Island facility and property, wresting the beloved Cabin and surrounding area from thousands of devoted volunteers and guests. Members of the local New York-North Jersey chapter of the AMC were only informed of the pending sale on March 2. A vote to approve the sale is scheduled for March 15th at AMC headquarters in Boston.

Members are decrying the move and have mobilized with lawyers, petitions and a protest planned at AMC's headquarters on the 15th to preserve this treasured spot, situated on 1.4 acres on Long Island's Great South Bay.

The property was donated to the AMC in 1928 and is the only 100% volunteer run and led facility in the AMC portfolio. The sale represents a departure from AMC's core values of stewardship and conservation and stands in contradiction to its mission statement to "protect the places we love, ensuring ongoing access to the Northeast's most precious natural resources for recreation and education."

"The AMC seems to have turned its back on the stewardship of a precious barrier island ecology," said John Maier, a sailing program instructor at the organization. "The programs and experiences available at the Fire Island Cabin are unlike those at any other AMC property. Selling the property will only increase development in this precious ecosystem. It would be a direct negation of the mission of the AMC to turn the property over to private hands, and it would be unconscionable to do so without an open dialogue with the members of the AMC."

The Atlantique property includes a main house, which sleeps 24, and an education center. It is open from May to October, and more than 2,000 people enjoy the facilities every season. It offers members an accessible and affordable way to explore a unique destination, educate themselves about ocean and bay ecology, and utilize the Cabin's fleet of kayaks, canoes and sailboats.

Members and their guests have attended workshops led by the Fire Island National Seashore, the Littoral Society, Audubon Society and others. Monarch butterflies and horseshoe crabs use the property on their annual migrations. Select weekends are devoted to families and young members to educate them about this unique ecosystem.

Members have started a petition on Change.org to stop the sale. They're also hitting back on social media with and are organizing a trip to Boston on March 15 to attend the Board of Directors Meeting.

The Fire Island Cabin Committee is a group of volunteers responsible for the financial, administrative and programming decisions of the Cabin.

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