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October 18th, 2020
By Andrea Cooper
We are delighted to share with you the latest issue of the Upstate Advocate, our twice-yearly print publication. Below, read the letter from Executive Director Andrea Cooper introducing the Fall/Winter 2020-2021 issue and offering an update on Upstate Forever's work during this unprecedented year.
It's a challenging time, but Upstate Forever is still hard at work to protect the critical lands, waters, and unique character of our region. The ongoing COVID-19 crisis has shown just how important that work is.
Over the past few months, the Upstate's parks and other public outdoor areas have been routinely packed to capacity as people desperately seek normalcy and refuge in nature.
The pandemic has brought this truth to the forefront: access to nature is not something that's just "nice to have" — it is a necessity for human health and happiness.
The turbulence swirling around us has made some of Upstate Forever's work more challenging, to be sure, but we have to keep going. The lines, parking woes, and crowded trails at our parks will only worsen as the population grows. We need more dedicated green spaces for recreation and refuge, and we need them now.
Because of your support, Upstate Forever continues to forge ahead on our work to permanently protect more critical natural spaces — parks, public trails, trout streams, forests, bike paths, and scenic vistas — before development encroaches even further into our remaining wild places and makes meaningful protection efforts impossible.
[See some recently protected properties on page 4]
In addition to our conservation work, we are making strides every day to safeguard water quality; expand clean, affordable energy options; and promote land use solutions that reduce sprawl and support equitable, prosperous communities. None of this work could happen without you, and we thank you.
In this issue of the Upstate Advocate, some talented local artists share how nature comforts, restores, and inspires them. We also hear from celebrated authors Dr. Drew Lanham and John Lane about the wounds of racism, stress, and fear, and how healing may be found in the wilderness.
We could all use some healing right now. I hope our region's beautiful places help you and your loved ones find calm, strength, and inspiration in the days ahead.