About the Project

B003_C010_0614OF (3)Towns, villages, businesses and interest groups in the Thousand Islands have decided to partner with the New York Department of State’s Coastal Management Program (DOS) to evaluate, promote and protect the region’s unique business, tourism and scenic resources. The spectacular scenery of the Thousand Islands is central to our quality of life, many of our businesses and to our economy. Managing and protecting this resource for future generations and promoting the economy of the region is a central goal of the project, called the “Thousand Islands Regional Assessment Project (TIRAP)”.

The goals of the project include:

  • Increase recognition of the Thousand Islands area in order to attract visitors
  • Improve opportunities for grants related to economic development, natural and scenic resource protection
  • Identify scenic landscapes using state standards and local input
  • Involve community members in identifying important areas
  • Protect coastal scenic resources that are important to the communities

Dodson & Flinker, a firm of landscape architects and regional planners has been retained to work with the project team and local communities to inventory and assess the region’s scenic landscapes.   This will be done using a method developed by the DOS for use in the State’s coastal areas and previously implemented in the Hudson River Valley and in the Town of East Hampton on Long Island.  The process consists of these steps:

  1. Inventory: With the help of local residents, characterize the region into separate areas based on their visual characteristics.
  2. Evaluation:  After the inventory stage is complete, the region’s landscapes are ranked for their level of scenic quality.  The review is based on state criteria and on local opinion. The highest ranked landscapes are eligible for designation as “Scenic Areas of Statewide Significance” (SASS).   The next highest are eligible for designation as “Scenic Landscapes of Local Significance”.
  3. Web Site and Online Survey:  To involve more local individuals and organizations, this web site has been prepared by Interactive Media Consulting.  This web site allows visitors to rate the scenic beauty of the region’s landscapes, to learn more about the project, to view project updates and to follow the progress of the work.
  4. SASS Implementation:  Proposed SASS areas are described in detail and submitted for review and approval at the local, regional and state levels.   After public hearings and a final review at the state level, the SASS areas are officially designated under federal and state laws relating to management of the New York coastline.  In a SASS, any project requiring federal or state permits and/or federal or state funding will be legally required to ensure that adverse impacts to scenic quality are avoided.  Specific recommendations for avoiding scenic impacts are included in the SASS report.
  5. Local Scenic Areas Implementation:   Proposed Scenic Areas of Local Significance can be implemented by towns and villages through revisions to local policies, land use ordinances, infrastructure plans and conservation programs.   Jackie Hakes, a planner from MJ Engineering, has been retained to  be available to provide preliminary guidance to local communities on ways that they can help preserve and promote both Local as well as Statewide Areas of Scenic Significance.

about-the-projectProject Staff

Why Are We Doing This?

Background Information