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 Island.
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:
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 embodied herein.
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.
Ray Corwin
Executive Director
Great River, NY
January, 1995