Supervisor Runion, Members of the Council, Ladies & Gentlemen:
Thank you for letting me speak tonight
My name is Candace Lider and I live near the Dicaprio Farm.
First, I want to thank the Town of Guilderland for their foresight
in purchasing this beautiful property for the enjoyment of the
residents of the Town. It is not every day that a Town Government
perceives the need for open space, and acts on that need. The
Dicaprio Farm purchase can only bring good things to the Town.
Next, I want to thank the Dicaprio family for its generosity
to the residents of the Town. Certainly, they would have been
able to sell their farm to a developer for more money, but it
is obvious that they love their land, and wanted to have others
enjoy it too. The farm is a beautiful property. The Dicaprios
should be congratulated for selling their land to the Town.
The Dicaprio Farm is located in the Pine Bush. Our Pine Bush,
here in Guilderland, is a globally rare ecosystem. The Pine
Bush has been called the best example of an inlands pine barrens
ecosystem in the United States. It is the home of the endangered
Karner Blue butterfly, as well as other rare and interesting
The Pine Bush is used for research by students at the University
at Albany, as well as by students at Farnsworth Middle School.
Thousands of people a year visit the Pine Bush to hike, walk,
mountain bike, cross-country ski, and enjoy nature. The Pine
Bush is in trouble. 90% of the Pine Bush has been destroyed
by developments. The Karner Blue Butterfly populations have
declined from millions in the 1940s to tens of thousands in
the 1970s to hundreds today. When listing the Karner Blue as
an endangered species, the US Fish and Wildlife Service cited
habitat loss and habitat fragmentation as two reasons why the
butterflies are in trouble.
For the Pine Bush to survive, large, non-fragmented areas are
needed. The Pine Bush is crisscrossed with roads, such as the
Thruway, Route 155, Lydius Street, and Siver Road, to name a
few. Studies of ecosystem bio-diversity show that roads cause
fragmentation of ecosystems. Maintaining the bio-diversity of
the Pine Bush is extremely important to the survival of the
The DiCaprio Farm is located in what the Pine Bush Commission
has designated as area 33. Area 33 consists of three properties,
the DiCapiro Farm, and the Lupe and Trulango parcels, in total
around 300 acres. It is one of the largest roadless areas remaining
in the Pine Bush. The DiCaprio Farm is adjacent on its eastern
border with land that is currently in the Pine Bush Preserve.
The DiCaprio Farm is an important part of this roadless area.
It should be preserved as Pine Bush, and not made into soccer
Children need a place to play soccer. But, they also need
a place to play in the woods and learn about nature. The Pine
Bush is only found here. Soccer fields can be built lots of
places besides the Pine Bush.
I know the Town Board may be nervous about spending money
to buy land just to preserve it. But, preserving this land will
improve the quality of life for the residents of Guilderland.
Preserving this land will generate no traffic. It will not require
any water or sewer lines or any Town services. It would be completely
taken care of by the Albany Pine Bush Commission. I believe
the majority of the residents of the Town would like to see
this land preserved.
We want to work with the Town. We want to work with the Town
to find a solution. We know that the Town needs to build soccer
fields. We want to work with the Town to add the DiCaprio Farm
to the Pine Bush preserve and to work with the Town to find
a better location for the soccer fields. And when we are done,
I would like to see the farm named The DiCaprio Grove
to honor the generosity of the DiCaprio family.