Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Conservation Council: Classify Essex Chain Wild Forest

Essex ChainThe New York State Conservation Council contends that designating the Essex Chain Lakes a Wilderness Area would hurt the local economy and violate the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan.

In a letter to the Adirondack Park Agency, the council calls for designating the Essex Chain a Wild Forest Area, a less-restrictive classification. Motorized use is permitted in Wild Forest Areas but not in Wilderness Areas.

The council, which represents hunters and anglers, argues that the 17,320-acre Essex Chain Lakes Tract does not meet the definition of Wilderness in the State Land Master Plan. The organization points out that the land has been logged extensively and contains more than forty miles of gravel roads. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Adirondack Invasive Species Awareness Week Begins

invasive_curveGroups across the Adirondack region are sponsoring fun and educational activities this week through Saturday for the 8th annual Adirondack Invasive Species Awareness Week. The week provides an opportunity for communities to highlight the threats of invasive plants and animals and for residents and visitors to learn ways to prevent and manage invasive species spread.

This year’s line-up of public events includes an array of interactive activities including an invasive plant paddle on Upper Saranac Lake; a forest pest identification workshop in Bolton Landing; a terrestrial invasive plant management training for landowners in Wanakena; a garlic mustard control event in Old Forge; a Floating Classroom opportunity on Lake George; interpretive displays at the Paul Smiths VIC and Lake George Visitors Center, and more. » Continue Reading.


Monday, July 8, 2013

Ex-APA Commissioner Favors Canoe Area For Essex Chain

Essex ChainThe hearings on the classification of the former Finch, Pruyn lands are finished, but the public can submit written comments to the Adirondack Park Agency through July 19.

In one such comment, a former APA board member recommends classifying the Essex Chain Lakes a Canoe Area.

Rick Hoffman, who served on the board as a representative of the New York State Department of State from 1998 to 2008, argues that a Canoe classification would be as protective of the natural resources as a Wilderness classification and would stimulate paddling tourism. » Continue Reading.


Monday, July 8, 2013

Understanding NYS Tax Payments On State Lands

Historic Forest Preserve LandsThe idea that the State of New York does not pay taxes on state lands is an enduring myth in the Adirondack Park. At the June-July 2013 APA Forest Preserve classification hearings some speakers erroneously made this charge. Different state laws require property tax payments by the state for both Forest Preserve and conservation easements. The NYS Real Property Tax Law defines most categories of state tax payments.

The State of New York pays local property taxes on Forest Preserve lands it owns just like any other taxpayer. In 2011, it was estimated that combined town, county, school and special district taxes topped $75 million from the state for over 3.4 million acres of Forest Preserve and conservation easement lands in the Adirondack Park. Here is information from NYS Real Property Services organized by town-level data and county-level data. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Adirondack Legal History: The Lake George Trespass Case

erosionI recently came across an essay by Edmund H. Richard in The Forest Preserve, written during the big conservation battle over the proposed construction of Panther Dam in 1947:

“A citizen may not have title to his home, but he does have an undivided deed to this Adirondack land of solitude and peace and tranquility.  To him belong the sparkling lakes tucked away in the deep woods and the cold, pure rivers which thread like quicksilver through lush mountain valleys.  His determination to preserve his personal treasure for posterity has been tempered by memories of campfires, and strengthened by pack-laden tramps along wilderness trails and by mountaintop views of his chosen land.  To him the South Branch of the Moose is a River of Opportunity, for he has come to regard it as the front line of defense against the commercial invasion of his Forest Preserve.” » Continue Reading.


Saturday, June 29, 2013

Lost Brook Dispatches: Reverence for the Back Twenty

Lake Placid basin in the clouds, from Kuma's ViewIn mere days Amy and I will be be heading to Lost Brook Tract for an extended residence.  We will have many things on our agenda but the one to which I look forward the most is the exploration of the large part of our land that remains unknown to me.

As it always will be.

Lost Brook Tract is square in shape, encompassing an area of some forty acres.  Lost Brook itself cuts through the land for a few hundred feet near the lowest corner.  A short way up from this corner there is a patch of relatively level terrain where Hal Burton built his second lean-to, the one that constitutes our home base.  A half-mile from there and a good three hundred feet up a ridge sits Burton’s Peak, the high point of our land, positioned a little bit to the east of the opposite corner and quite close to the tract’s northern edge.  If you were to draw a diagonal line across the land starting at the southern boundary of Lost Brook Tract and far enough west of the lowest corner to encompass the stream and lean-to, then extended the line to the northern boundary far enough east of the opposite corner to just skirt the beginning of the promontory that defines Burton’s Peak, you would split the tract just about exactly in half. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, June 27, 2013

Lawsuit Seeks Protection for Bicknell’s Thrush

Bicknell's Thrush, Catharus bicknelli, by T. B. RyderThe Center for Biological Diversity filed a lawsuit today against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for failing to protect Bicknell’s thrush as an endangered species.

The thrush breeds only high in the mountains of the Northeast and eastern Canada, including Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and New York; scientists have predicted that 98 percent or more of the songbird’s U.S. habitat could be lost due to climate change. The Center petitioned for protection for the imperiled songbird in 2010, but the agency has failed to make a final decision on the petition. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, June 25, 2013

$3M Project Will Rebuild Lake George Beach Road

Lake George Beach RoadThe New York State Department of Conservation plans to move forward with a $3 million project to reconstruct a section of Beach Road on State lands and the Lake George Beach parking with porous asphalt and other storm water management features to protect water quality, DEC Commissioner Joe Martens announced today. The project is funded by the state’s New York Works initiative.

Under the plan, the current DEC boat launch would also be moved to the east side of DEC’s Lake George Beach (aka Million Dollar Beach) as part of the two-year project. The project must be approved by the Adirondack Park Agency and the Lake George Park Commission. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, June 22, 2013

Commentary: What is the Purpose of the APA?

APA officeWell folks, here I was happily writing an actual Dispatch about Lost Brook Tract for once, followed by a whole series of columns related to a particular and wonderful piece of Adirondack history, these to run over the next few weeks while I am away in the back country.

But no!  Lo and behold along comes another debate with a massive streak of irrationality which gets me all lathered up.  So that other stuff is on hold for a week.

Governor Cuomo has made his nominations, hearings are being held on classification of the Essex Chain and the Hudson River corridor and as a result the Adirondack Park Agency, our beloved and reviled APA, is back in the news. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, June 20, 2013

Dave Gibson: Fighting For A Wild Upper Hudson, 1968-2013

Proposed Gooley Dam Reservoir c 1968This week’s Adirondack Park Agency public hearings in Minerva and Newcomb about the classification of new Forest Preserve land along the Upper Hudson River, Essex Chain of Lakes, Cedar and Indian Rivers were well attended and informative. At Minerva Central School, there was no applause, no heckling. Folks listened to differing viewpoints respectfully, and several speakers noted a fair amount of common interests.

While most speakers favored a Wild Forest classification which would allow motorized access through an area long closed to public use, one former Finch, Pruyn manager noted the damage done to the roads by all-terrain vehicles. There was only one speaker in Minerva who favored unrestricted, unregulated, all-out motorized use from the Goodnow Flow to the Cedar River. Most appreciate the havoc this would cause to a region they know, or wish to get to know.
» Continue Reading.


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