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About Us

Founded in 1993

Adirondack Communities Advisory League (ACAL) was incorporated as a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization on August 12, 1993.  Consisting of an eleven member board of directors, committee chairpersons, and members, ACAL was formed to conserve the environment in the southern region of the Tug Hill Plateau.  ACAL’s work encompasses research, writing letters and articles, fund raising events, media campaigns, public forums, peaceful protests, and litigation to ensure the water, land, air and wildlife in the rural townships of Ava, Boonville, Lewis and Leyden are not being threatened or in danger of becoming polluted.

Organized to Fight Landfill

In 1993, ACAL began meeting on a weekly basis to protect the environment from the Oneida-Herkimer Solid Waste Authority (OHSWA), a New York State Public Authority, that sited a mega landfill in one of the wettest areas in New York State, where annual rain and snowfall far exceeds most other regions in the state.  With the support of local municipalities, Veterans and local citizens, ACAL’s dedicated 13-year effort, including extensive litigation, was unable to stop the construction of the politically motivated and controversial 1,039-acre landfill, which sadly, opened on October 24, 2006.

Image by Jeremy Hynes
Image by Ricardo Gomez Angel

What We Do

Conserving Rural Towns

ACAL continues its efforts to conserve the environment in the Southern Tug Hill Region by partnering with other environmental organizations to conserve natural resources throughout the state and region. 

Now that the OSHWA landfill in Ava is up and running, ACAL’s primary focus remains protecting the rural towns of Ava, Boonville, Lewis and Leyden – which are at risk for pollution from the landfill.

ACAL supports the work of Tug Hill Tomorrow Land Trust, Citizens of Cattaraugus County, Freshwater Future, and other grassroots organizations working hard to conserve rural towns and resources throughout New York State.

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Our Purpose

From Adirondack Communities Advisory League By-Laws

The purpose or purposes from which Adirondack Communities Advisory League is organized are as follows:

a) to conserve and protect the indigenous wildlife, both plant and animal, in the Townships of Ava, Boonville, Lewis and Leyden, New York; to preserve the scenic and historic localities in that region; to foster the maintenance of an ecological balance in that region; to preserve and maintain pure clean air and water and discourage pollution in all forms; to encourage general community participation in all activities that may result in the conservation and enhancement of the aesthetics and scenic values in that region;

b) to disseminate information promoting conservation practices; to maintain and make available to the public materials on conservation and allied subjects; to stimulate, encourage and educate the public on the use of conservation practices in that region;

c) to conduct research and cooperate with the competent authorities to investigate and report on environment, natural resources and conservation problems in the Townships of Ava, Boonville, Lewis and Leyden and to disseminate research findings;

d) to be assistance to other organizations, individuals and groups who are concerned with the welfare and benefits of that region;

e) to solicit, receive, administer and disburse gifts and grants of money and property of every kind exclusively for tax exempt charitable, scientific or testing for public safety purposes as set forth in Section 512(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 as it now exists and as hereafter amended;

f) without any political aims or affirmations, to conduct factual studies of conditions in and affecting that region to promote regional planning, research and development and to sponsor plans and projects for the conservation and beautification of that region.

Image by Ethan Dow

Our Mission

It is the mission of ACAL to keep the Southern Tug Hill towns of Ava, Boonville, Lewis and Leyden safe from any authority, organization, company or individual who seek to harm its lands, waters, wildlife and memorials for any reason.  ACAL wishes to provide future generations the opportunity to experience these rural towns as they were meant to be:  forever wild.


Our Vision

ACAL envisions the creation of a Veterans’ Memorial Park surrounding the original 798-acres of the existing Memorial Forest.  The Veterans’ Memorial Park will be a New York State landmark for all American veterans and their families, and for guests to enjoy the beauty of the Adirondack Mountain foothills.  The Veterans’ Memorial Park will include a paved visitor’s tour road and bike path, hiking and cross-country ski trails, monuments gardens, picnic areas, pavilions, and a Veterans’ Memorial Chapel.  The park will include forever wild areas where the area’s abundant wetlands, water sources, and wildlife can be protected, viewed and respected from a distance.

Image by Charles Jackson

Long Term Goals

ACAL board of directors, officers and membership strive to accomplish the following long term goals:

1.  ACAL will work to achieve permanent environmental protection for the critical natural resources and wildlife habitat located in the Southern Tug Hill towns of Ava, Boonville, Lewis and Leyden.

2.  In conjunction with its mission, ACAL will support the legal enforcement of environmental laws and regulations.

3.  ACAL will seek the passage of state and/or federal legislation to protect the natural resources that are vital to maintain the health, welfare and safety of residents in the rural towns of Ava, Boonville, Lewis and Leyden.

4.  ACAL will work to promote the philosophy of the early Tug Hill Commission where ” home rule” (general powers of local governments to adopt and amend laws) flourishes; where local land use and development are carried out in a manner that maintains the unique rural characteristics that residents and visitors have enjoyed for generations.

5.  ACAL will work to protect citizens’ rights by encouraging Tug Hill “towns” to exercise their authority to protect their citizens from all forms of environmental pollution.

6.  ACAL will work toward obtaining state and/or federal protection for the Black River.

7.  ACAL will educate the public on state and local conservation issues and concerns.

8.  Through extensive communication, community involvement, and outside funding support, ACAL will continue to be a viable environmental resource for the Southern Tug Hill towns of Ava. Boonville, Lewis and Leyden.

In addition to the organization’s long term goals, the ACAL Board generates short term goals in order to address and facilitate immediate needs and concerns.

Board of Directors


  • Ian Klingbail, Chairman

  • Kathy Mathis, Secretary

  • Jean Kent, Treasurer



  • David Mathis – Town of Ava Zoning Board, Former Ava Town Supervisor

  • MaryAnn McGrath – Director of Fund Raising

  • Joan VerSchneider – Town of Boonville Councilperson 

For more information, email the Board at

Honorary Directors

Ned Ross – Former ACAL Chairman and Founding Member

Alex Stempien – Former ACAL Vice Chairman and Founding Member

Our Gratitude

It is with pride and great appreciation that ACAL honors Ned Ross and Alex Stempien for their insight and dedication in forming Adirondack Communities Advisory League in 1993.  Their hard work and personal sacrifice gave ACAL the foundation to build a viable grassroots organization.  Thank you Ned and Alex!

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