Monday, May 2, 2016

Bauer: Checks And Balances Should Protect The Forest Preserve

DEC Headquarters in AlbanyWe’re moving into an era of one-agency rule in the Adirondack Park and that should be very troubling to everyone. For nearly 45 years, management of the public Forest Preserve has been based on checks and balances between the Adirondack Park Agency (APA) and the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). The APA set management policy and the DEC administered the on-the-ground management of trails and other facilities. The APA created and updated the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan, while DEC drafted individual Unit Management Plans (UMPs), which the APA reviewed for compliance. By and large this joint administration, which provided oversight, accountability, and public participation, worked well for the natural resource protection and public recreational use of the Forest Preserve.

All that is changing. There is little effective oversight by the APA and little accountability by the DEC. We’re in a new era of one-agency control. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, April 30, 2016

Pete Nelson: Close The Road Into The Boreas Ponds

Paddling on Boreas Ponds as guest of The Nature ConservancyThe State of New York has completed purchase of the Boreas Ponds Tract, the final stage of its acquisition of the former Finch Pruyn lands from the Nature Conservancy.  Now the classification process will begin.  As with the Essex Chain acquisition the debate will be over recreational access and protection of its biological assets and its aesthetic experience as a wild place.  As with the Essex Chain the debate will largely come down to roads, in this case Gulf Brook Road, a dirt and gravel road that provides access to the interior of the tract from Blue Ridge Road.

It’s obvious why arguments between wilderness protection and recreational access so often come down to roads, but I think that’s unfortunate.  I think it distracts us from the larger issues of land use and protection with which we should be more concerned.  The issue of Gulf Brook Road in the Boreas classification makes a perfect example.  So let’s look at it in a little more detail. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, April 28, 2016

Lake George Land Conservancy Volunteer Day

IMG_9254Just when I thought winter was over, Mother Nature decides to put me in my place with a late dumping of snow around the High Peaks. Though we may be dragging out the shovels and breaking out the skis, some places in the Adirondacks are getting ready for a bit of spring cleaning.

This weekend, on Arbor Day, The Lake George Land Conservancy (LGLC) office in Bolton Landing is requesting some volunteer help from anyone willing to put in a little elbow grease. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Ausable River Management Meeting Wednesday

ausable riverThe public is encouraged to attend and provide comment on the final draft of the Ausable River Watershed Management Plan at an open house on Wednesday, April 27th from 5:30 pm to 7 pm at the Town of Jay Offices at 11 School Lane in Au Sable Forks.

Over five years, people in the Ausable watershed and beyond came together to develop the Ausable River Watershed Management Plan, a snapshot of ecological and community challenges in the Ausable River watershed and a vision for planning that hopes to include community interests and needs. » Continue Reading.


Monday, April 25, 2016

The Essex Chain Lakes Lawsuit Explained

Critics contend that incorporating the Polaris Bridge over the Hudson into a snowmobile route would be illegal.Photo by Nancie BattagliaTwo of the Adirondack Park’s major environmental groups are suing the state over the management plan for the Essex Chain Lakes region—a large tract of forest, ponds, and streams that the state acquired from the Nature Conservancy as part of the blockbuster Finch, Pruyn deal.

Protect the Adirondacks and Adirondack Wild: Friends of the Forest Preserve filed a lawsuit in State Supreme Court in Albany contending that the management plan violates the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan, the state Wild, Scenic, and Recreational Rivers System Act, and state snowmobile-trail policy. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, April 21, 2016

A Children’s Passport to Earth Day in North Creek

IMG_8246For the second year North Creek is focusing children ages 3-10 on Earth Day during a event April 23 from 10 am to 1 pm that features over 15 activities around the village. Children will have the chance to solve everyday problems and learn how to leave the world in a better place.

According to Johnsburg Youth Committee Organizer Kate Hartley the Earth Day Passport activities are within walking distance and teen volunteers will be on hand as guides. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, April 17, 2016

Dave Gibson On The Boreas Ponds Acquisition

Boreas Ponds, Fall 2011 003My first reaction to the announcement of the state’s acquisition of magnificent Boreas Ponds for the Forest Preserve is to celebrate, and to recall how long the Adirondack Nature Conservancy has owned this 21,000 acre tract – the last of the big Finch Pruyn tracts which the state committed to purchase. It was April 2007 when Finch Pruyn employees, then Governor Spitzer, and the rest of the world learned that Finch was selling everything – all 161,000 acres – to the Conservancy, with help from the Open Space Institute. And in the same announcement, that the mill in Glens Falls would continue operations and employment.

This news that April day nine years ago was breathtaking. Adirondack Wild’s mentor Paul Schaefer had dreamed and worked for such a result from the early 1960s until his death in 1996. That was the significance of the Finch forests even fifty years ago. George Davis of the Temporary Study Commission on the Future of the Adirondacks (1968-70) put Boreas Ponds on the cover of the Commission’s final report. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, April 14, 2016

State Buys Boreas Ponds, Completing Finch, Pruyn Deal

Boreas-600x343The state has purchased the 20,760-acre Boreas Ponds Tract on the edge of the High Peaks Wilderness, the final phase in a multi-year deal to acquire 65,000 acres of former Finch, Pruyn lands from the Adirondack Nature Conservancy.

One of the natural gems of the former Finch property, Boreas Ponds is expected to become a destination of paddlers, hikers, and backpackers. The waterway offers breathtaking views of the High Peaks, including Mount Marcy, the state’s tallest summit, and much of the Great Range.

The state paid $14.5 million for the tract, according to a deed filed April 5 in the Essex County clerk’s office.

» Continue Reading.


Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Council: State Budget Is Good For Adirondack Park

NYS CapitolGov. Andrew Cuomo and legislative leaders deserve praise for approving a state budget that increases appropriations for the Environmental Protection Fund, enhances programs to fight invasive species and helps communities build needed clean water infrastructure.

The Adirondack Park is a national treasure and a global legacy for us and for future generations. This historic budget enhances that legacy with a $300 million Environmental Protection Fund, $350 million for clean water infrastructure grants, and more. It is a blueprint for how the nation should invest in water, wildlife, wilderness and communities. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, March 31, 2016

DEC Still Working On Boreas Ponds Purchase

Boreas Ponds aerialThe state hoped to buy the 20,760-acre Boreas Ponds Tract this fiscal year, which ended today (March 31). Although it didn’t happen, the acquisition is still in the works, according to the Department of Environmental Conservation.

“DEC remains committed to the purchase of the Boreas Ponds and is in the final stages of the acquisition,” said Lori Severino, a spokeswoman for the agency.

The purchase will be the last phase in a multi-year deal to acquire 65,000 acres of former Finch, Pruyn lands from the Adirondack Nature Conservancy.

» Continue Reading.


Monday, March 28, 2016

The Effort To Mechanize Wilderness Is Local And National

bike in Essex Chain of Lakes Primitive areaThe fight to embrace wilderness and to keep designated wilderness areas free from mechanized uses is a national fight. APA weakened the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan this month by carving out two exceptions in its Primitive Area guidelines for bicycling and motorized maintenance in the Essex Chain and Pine Lake Primitive Areas.

This reflects a lack of appreciation of how sophisticated, gear-leveraged muscle-powered recreation impacts areas where the law states humans must not dominate the landscape (and where human uses are restrained to preserve, enhance and restore natural conditions). » Continue Reading.


Friday, March 25, 2016

NYS Outdoorsmen Hall of Fame Announces Inductees

outdoorsmen hall of fameThe New York State Outdoorsmen Hall of Fame has announced that it has inducted eight new members, including two posthumously.

The NYSOHOF is an organization dedicated to honoring those individuals who have spent many years preserving outdoor heritage, working for conservation, or enhancing outdoor sports for future generations. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, March 24, 2016

9th Graders Become Beetle Busters

The Beetle Busters of Indian Lake Central School learned how to check trees for invasive Asian longhorned beetle and emerald ash borer. During National Invasive Species Awareness Week, I had the good fortune to teach Indian Lake Central School’s 9th graders how to become beetle busters. On February 22, they discovered how invasive insects can cause economic, ecologic, and societal harm. For this lesson, we zeroed in on emerald ash borer and Asian longhorned beetle.

The class already had a solid understanding of what invasive species are because their teacher Sandra Bureau had been incorporating invasive species curriculum into their studies since September. Hands shot up when I asked for a definition. I detailed that Asian longhorned beetle and emerald ash borer probably hitched a ride from Asia to the United States in wood packing crates. Without the ecological checks and balances found on their home turf, they reproduce rapidly. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Residential Brush Burning Prohibited Through May 14

DEC LogoWith warming temperatures and dry conditions, residential brush burning in towns with less than 20,000 residents is prohibited from March 16 through May 14. With the lack of snow cover over much of the state and unseasonably warm temperatures forecast, experts believe conditions for wild fires will be heightened in the coming weeks.

New York prohibits residential burning at this time of year to reduce wildfires and protect people, property and natural resources.  Open burning of debris is the largest single cause of spring wildfires in the state.

When temperatures are warmer and the past fall’s debris and leaves dry out, wildfires can start and spread easily and be further fueled by winds and a lack of green vegetation. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, March 19, 2016

Pete Nelson: Slippery Slopes

Giant from Amy's Lookout. Many new Irene slides.Last weekend I did a traverse through the Giant Mountain Wilderness, from Chapel Pond over Giant, down to Hopkins and out to Keene Valley. The trail from Giant’s summit down to the col between Giant and Green Mountain is a favorite, a marvelous, unrelenting descent along a forested slope.

Last Sunday it was more entertaining than usual. Facing north and covered in trees, the slope had preserved a modest snowpack, but of course it had not escaped the cycle of thaws and freezes we have endured during this odd winter. The result was a mighty slippery hike. The Ridge Trail up Giant had its typical rivers of ice but the trail down to the col was considerably more treacherous, coated in a dull sheen, with long, icy slabs and bulwarks often lurking under less than an inch of crusty, fragile snow. Even with microspikes it was a dicey scramble requiring a special level of vigilance.

It occurred to me while I was making my way down Giant that this hike represented a pretty strong metaphor for the political shift that seems to be happening in State land use policy here in the Adirondacks. From my perspective we are positioned on a slippery slope and it is incumbent upon us as citizens of New York to raise our level of vigilance.

» Continue Reading.


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