1. Executive Summary
In the preface to the Central Pine Barrens Draft Plan
(July, 1994), the following observation was offered:
As with any work which emanates from multiple authors and covers
a diversity of distinct topics, composing a summary or preface for such
a work is difficult. Perhaps the diversity of authors and topics is a reflection
of the subject being addressed, namely the Central Pine Barrens of Long
This observation still applies. The pages and contents which follow
cannot possibly convey the complex path of their construction. What remains
invisible, even to the astute and careful reader, are the many possibilities
considered and not selected, the paths explored and rejected, and the knowledge
and experience which simply had to be accumulated before any consensus
could be reached.
Also not visible are the consensus building processes, often frustrating
and seemingly intractable, which had to be learned and mastered before
the blank pages became filled. These processes, like those which formed
and continue to influence the Central Pine Barrens, are complex and may
never be fully understood, even by those who are a part of them.
Perhaps, however, one clue to the difference lies in the contrasting
nature of the two.
The landscape quilt which we know as the pine barrens is the product
of a complex geological, hydrological, biological and cultural process,
and remains quietly on the earth while we study and learn more about this
remarkable system. The consensus building process which led to this Plan,
in stark contrast to the pine barrens proper, is a dynamic process brought
to life by people. It neither sits still while we study and master it,
nor does it evolve predictably. This Plan, therefore, is remarkable by
its very existence.
In committing our hard won agreements to a formal Plan document, every
effort has been made to keep the Plan succinct, understandable and readable.
The pages which follow propose the following:
A land acquisition component, with a long range goal of acquiring the bulk
of the Core Preservation Area properties
A new and innovative development rights transfer program, permitting owners
of Core Preservation Area properties to receive and sell development rights,
known as Pine Barrens Credits, directly or through a central "clearinghouse"
Specification of receiving areas for Pine Barrens Credits, including "as
of right" use areas, Residential Overlay Districts, and town-specific development
rights transfer strategies for each of the three towns
A Pine Barrens Credit "clearinghouse", to facilitate the operation of the
development transfer program
Development standards and guidelines, broken down by subject areas, for
projects within the Compatible Growth Area
Definitive procedures for both Compatible Growth and Core Preservation
Area development applications, including jurisdictional definitions, application
completeness criteria, decision periods, etc.
Innovative protected lands management strategies, including two new interagency
forums, the Protected Lands Council and the Law Enforcement Council. This
includes specific recommendations for the detailed tasks involved in each
of these two professional disciplines, written by the members themselves
Topical strategies for integrating traditional resource based recreation
activities such as hunting, fishing, and trail usage
Detailed discussion of the much discussed fire management strategies for
the Core Preservation Area, including a separate appendix on the development
of a prescribed burning plan.
Recommendations for legislative changes needed to fully achieve the goals
of the pine barrens law.
A tangible, realistic mission statement for future Commission actions and
No Plan, though, however designed and implemented, will ever
come to life by itself. Production of this Plan is simply the next step
toward a permanent stewardship commitment - a commitment to preservation
of the pine barrens, a commitment towards responsible planning and community
evolution in the growth areas, and a commitment to honor the principles
Perhaps the best guide to our implementation of this Plan is to remember
that the pine barrens are likely to survive well beyond our individual
lifetimes, and what future East Enders find here, whether natural or human
built communities, depends upon how responsibly we act in the years to
come. Personally, I will use my own preferred yardsticks.
One simple yardstick, for example, will be the quality of the vista
that I see around me when I return regularly to one of my favorite spots.
Too many years back for me to recall, a special individual, one who I am
privileged to call my friend, first introduced me to this spot in the pine
barrens. In his 1986 The Pine Barrens of Ronkonkoma (New
York-New Jersey Trail Conference, 1986), that friend, Larry Paul, writes
of this spot:
It has a colossal view, undoubtedly the finest anywhere in the Pine
Barrens. From it are visible all of the Dwarf Pine Plains and the barrier
beach from Moriches nearly to Shinnecock Bay. To be here on a clear autumn
day, with clouds massed overhead, with backlighting through the luminous
wine-hued foliage of the oaks, to gaze far out upon that incredible flaring
white mirror of the Atlantic, is to understand why the pinelands must be
held forever wild.
I am confident that such experiences will always be available to those
who seek them in the Central Pine Barrens, if only we bring this Plan to
life in all its facets. The time to start is now.
Great River, NY