Landscape-Scale Conservation Projects

In four of its six legacy geographies, BCI has created or is developing an innovative model of “landscape-scale conservation” that integrates the protection of sensitive lands, both private and public, with high-quality infrastructure and facilities that offer rich opportunities for outdoor recreation and environmental education programs.

The sinuous Black River in upstate New York forms the dividing line between the sloping Tug Hill plateau and the Adirondack Park, a protected six-million-acre wilderness of forests, streams, and lakes. BCI’s founder has a long and deep attachment to the region, rooted in his family’s arrival here from Europe more than 200 years ago.

Through a combination of privately owned acreage and access rights granted by state and local authorities, the Black River Environmental Improvement Association (BREIA, founded in 1984) and its sister organization, the Black River Outdoor Education Program (BROEP, founded in 2008), have created nine separate “campuses,” with plans to add more, spread over a roughly 200-square-mile area. These embrace some 30 miles of professionally groomed trails with an extensive and sophisticated infrastructure for non-motorized outdoor recreation. All of these facilities are available free of charge to schools participating in BROEP programs, and five of the campuses provide unrestricted access to the general public.