Adirondack Explorer Editor Phil Brown did not commit trespass in 2009 when he canoed over a waterway through private land, because that waterway was legally open to the public, a state Supreme Court justice ruled in a decision released today.
Justice Richard T. Aulisi dismissed or denied all complaints against Brown filed by the Friends of Thayer Lake and the Brandreth Park Association. He also issued a declaratory judgment that the waterway in question is “navigable in fact” and so open to all paddlers. He ordered the Friends of Thayer Lake and the Brandreth Park Association, owners of the land through which the water flows, to stop posting the route as closed to the public. The route in question includes Mud Pond, Mud Pond Outlet and a portion of Shingle Shanty Brook in the central Adirondacks.
The state attorney general had joined the case in support of Brown.
Brown paddled through the waters in question on a trip from Little Tupper Lake to Lake Lila. He later wrote about the trip for the Adirondack Explorer.
The Shingle Shanty decision is available online here.
Photo of Adirondack Explorer Editor Phil Brown paddling near the confluence of Shingle Shanty Brook and Mud Pond Outlet by Susan Bibeau.