For a thousand years we have had a perceived face-off in the Adirondacks (sometimes perception is reality, sometimes not, right?), one which plays out every day on the pages of the Almanack – and everywhere else there is an outlet for opinion. In the green corner we have the the preservationists and environmentalists who want more wilderness, more protection for the ecology of the park and less development. In the blue corner we have many local residents, businesses and government leaders who want to see healthier communities. They see the restrictive policies of DEC, the APA and the preservationist agenda as a big problem and they see the balance between preservation and the welfare of the residents of the park as out of whack. They love the wilderness too but they would like fewer restrictions on development, a green light for the ACR and a wider variety of recreational uses for the Forest Preserve. Okay. Whichever of the myriad of associated positions and disputes may be rhetoric and whichever may be real, everyone knows this story. » Continue Reading.
Like Wray, Feldman is a Democrat. She has served as an adviser to a number of Democratic candidates and politicians, including U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. She graduated from Yale University in 1978 and earned a law degree from the University of Miami in 1983.
Feldman is the live-in partner of Thomas Williams, the president of the Adirondack Landowners Association.
In the first two articles of this series, we looked at proposals to classify the former Finch, Pruyn lands Wilderness or Primitive. This week we look at two proposals for creating the Park’s second Canoe Area.
Altogether, the Adirondack Park Agency has put together seven options for the management and use of 22,500 acres of former Finch, Pruyn lands that the state purchased from the Nature Conservancy. The options will be discussed at a series of public hearings from June 12 to July 2. The APA board could vote on a final proposal as early as August.
The four articles in this Adirondack Almanack series endeavor to explain these options. In each, we examine one proposal or two related proposals. The text is accompanied by the APA map or maps showing the classification of the lands under the proposal in question. » Continue Reading.
At a public meeting in Saranac last week, several skiers said the glades on Lyon offer some of the best backcountry skiing in the Adirondack Park.
“We’re not looking to cut down mature forest; we’re looking to maintain what’s already there,” said Dean Schneller, a lawyer representing the Adirondack Powder Skier Association. » Continue Reading.
While it has not attracted much attention yet, Preserve Associates has hired some biologists to conduct an amphibian study this spring to determine the presence of amphibians on some, but by no means all, of the lands proposed for subdivision and development at the permitted Adirondack Club and Resort (ACR) site in Tupper Lake.
According to APA correspondence, this survey is taking place or has recently taken place within 800 feet of all wetlands on seven of the small eastern great camp lots, and along Lake Simond Road Extension and the proposed but not yet developed Bypass Road. » Continue Reading.
The Adirondack Park Agency plans to hold eight hearings around the state to explain options for managing 21,200 acres of former Finch, Pruyn lands and up 24,200 acres of adjacent Forest Preserve. The agency also will gather input from the public on the management and use of the lands.
The APA board is expected to adopt one of the options—possibly with alterations—at its August or September meeting.
The state recently bought the 21,200 acres from the Nature Conservancy, which acquired some 161,000 acres from Finch, Pruyn & Company in 2007. The state intends to buy a total of 65,000 acres of former Finch lands over the next few years.
The APA has set forth seven options for classifying the lands so far acquired. All of them call for creation of a Hudson Gorge Wilderness Area. They differ mainly in the classification of the Essex Chain Lakes and in the degree of motorized access to the Essex Chain and the Hudson.
A band of Adirondack skiers is urging the state to allow them to maintain a glade for skiing on Lyon Mountain—a practice that has been done surreptitiously in the Forest Preserve, but something that authorities view as illegal.
Ron Konowitz, a spokesman for the Adirondack Powder Skier Association, contends that backcountry ski trails and glades do not harm the environment and should be permitted as facilitating a benign use of public lands.
The association is speaking up now because the state Department of Environmental Conservation is preparing a management plan for the 60,000-acre Chazy Highlands Complex, which includes Lyon Mountain. The state purchased Lyon Mountain from the Nature Conservancy in 2008. » Continue Reading.
The Adirondack Park Agency (APA) has promulgated seven “alternatives” for public hearing for the official classification of new and existing Forest Preserve lands on the Hudson River and around the Essex Chain Lakes. But these public hearings seem like pure theater because one of the alternatives is the preferred option of the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and it sure seems like a sure thing that the APA will end up approving the DEC’s plan.
The DEC’s preferred option is alternative 4b [pdf] in the APA classification package, centered on a “Wild Forest Special Management Area” around the Essex Chain Lakes. The other six alternatives, which include two Wilderness options, one Primitive option, two Canoe options and one other Wild Forest option for the Essex Chain Lakes, are mere props to the DEC’s preferred alternative. These six alternatives were created by the APA staff through the usual process, but in reality they all revolve around the DEC preferred option like planets around the sun. (In the interest of full disclosure Protect the Adirondacks supports alternative 1a.) » Continue Reading.