Written by Mindy Block
Though the Paumanok Path “is an incredibly beautiful 130-mile long trail traveling over some of Suffolk County’s most prime groundwater recharge areas ," it's not well known.
Written by Mindy Block
President Trump had asked the FBI Director, James Comey for his loyalty, to which he replied that he would have his honesty. Locally, in the Rocky Point Pine Barrens, an administrative road was "upgraded" to a fire road. The magnitude of the impact and my honesty (despite a troubled sleep) called upon me to rise early the next morning to take pen to paper. I've been loyal too. But the "upgraded" fire road )from what I understood of it's purpose) did more than enable two brush trucks to pass side by side.
Trees slashed and bulldozed to the top of a hill to clear the road. Theses same trees Ray, Kenny and I had planted to stabilize the road. In hindsight, would we do it again?
Trail maintainers take great pains to create sustainable trails that flow, that guard against erosion, that minimize illegal ATV opportunities, that are elegant. What irked me more than anything else was that us trail maintainers were being held to a higher standard than public land managers. We had just spent the last several months working out a plan to "upgrade" a hiking trail that would rehab an existing 100 feet of trail with minimum impact.
My gut reaction would have been to call Ray, as I had always done. But yesterday, I called the NYSDEC and a fellow trail maintainer to speak out my pain. "Why? Can you believe this? It looks like a development project. It's a one lane road. And Whiskey Road is right over there. There's piles of sand, and road cuts, and bare roots." To think that I should have been more loyal, but to whom, for what reason and for what purpose, and why?
President Trump offered Comey, "honest loyalty," to which he furtively agreed. But this is an oxymoron. Shortly, thereafter, the FBI Director was fired. In a private joke shared between others who chose honesty, I recalled, "You meant well, but was are misguided ." My loyalty, like respect, needs to be earned by actions observed. But at the same time, my outburst also deepened the divide between the public and the public land manager.
I recently read Profiles of Courage, in which John F. Kennedy kept his eye on the prize. To "hold office" is to be a responsible citizen. We are all citizens. And we are all accountable. And this new "upgraded" fire road is not acceptable on public lands.
"For in a democracy, every citizen, regardless of his interest in politics, 'hold office'; everyone of us is in a position of responsibility; and, in the final analysis, the kind of government we get depends upon how we fulfill those responsibilities. We, the people, are the boss, and we will get the kind of political leadership, be it good or bad, that we demand and deserve ." - John F. Kennedy - Profiles of Courage
More time is needed to improve standards of excellence that reduce the environmental impacts of fire roads, not just trails. What we need is a better way "to be doing environmental good and to be doing good business too ."
(M.Block - Last Updated June 18)
 - https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/11/us/politics/trump-comey-firing.html
 - An employee's advice to my friends who were new at their government jobs.
- [p. 265] - John Kennedy - Profiles of Courage. https://www.jfklibrary.org/Research/Research-Aids/Ready-Reference/JFK-Quotations/Profiles-in-Courage-quotations.aspx
 - My Uncle's thoughtful advice, who is a retired NYC real estate manager
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