Famous Adirondack surveyor honored by New York Surveying Association, Assemblyman McEneny
Assemblyman John J. McEneny, whose father worked with Verplanck Colvin as a field surveyor, spoke about Verplanck's legacy as both a land surveyor and preservationist of one of New York's premier state parks.
"Surveyors are expected to be artists, businessman, and lobbyists about our landscape," said McEneny. "Through eloquent, persuasive arguments before the state legislature, Colvin knew how to push the panic buttons of lawmakers to preserve the beauty and landscape of the Adirondacks. He was an artist skilled at articulating the imaginations of politicians and preservationists."
Joseph G. Malinowski, surveyor with M&J Engineering and Land Surveying, Schenectady, and president of the Eastern NY affiliate of NYSAPLS, presented McEneny with a plaque honoring his support of land surveying concerns and commitment to the preservation of New York's heritage.
Having attended Albany Academy, Verplanck Colvin's distinguished career culminated as Secretary of the Commission of State Parks in 1872, where he was charged with completing a survey of the Adirondack wilderness, initiating the start of his 28-year career as a surveyor. He was known throughout his lifetime as a leading advocate of preserving forest lands and frequently lobbied the state legislature for funds.
"Few fully understand what the Adirondack wilderness really is," said Colvin in a report to the State legislature. "It is a mystery even to those who have crossed and recrossed it." In 1873, Colvin believed the deterioration of the Adirondack watershed would threaten the viability of the Erie Canal, a vital driver of New York's economy at the time. Colvin was appropriated a mere $1,000 to survey the Adirondacks, which ultimately led to the creation of the Adirondack Forest Preserve in 1885.
His legacy lives on through his extensive archives now housed in the State Department of Environmental Conservation. Today surveyors continue to reference his detailed maps and field notes of the area. In 1997, the Colvin Crew was established, with support from the New York State Association of Professional Land Surveyors, to "follow in the footsteps of New York's premier surveyor of the wilderness" and re-discover the more than 300 monuments Colvin planted throughout the area. For surveyors who find these rare, historic monuments hidden throughout the Adirondack High Peaks, it's like finding long lost buried treasure.
"Surveyors work with unrivaled accuracy to document and commemorate our nation's history," McEneny said. "It is truly one of the greatest professions in America today."
The dedication ceremony was held at the First Lutheran Church of Albany, home of the second oldest church in Albany, dating back to 1649.
NYSAPLS is a professional association representing licensed professional land surveyors in New York state.