Posts Tagged ‘APA’

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Plaintiffs In Tupper Resort Suit Lose Final Appeal

cranberry pondEnvironmentalists challenging the proposed Adirondack Club and Resort in Tupper Lake have lost their bid to continue their lawsuit against the developer and the Adirondack Park Agency.

The Court of Appeals, the state’s highest tribunal, today rejected a motion by Protect the Adirondacks and the Sierra Club seeking permission to appeal a lower court’s dismissal of the lawsuit.

The green groups contended, among other things, that the project violated the APA Act by fragmenting timberlands into “Great Camp” estates. The APA, which approved the project in January 2012, maintains that the project is legal.

“We’re very disappointed in the decision,” Peter Bauer, executive director of Protect, told Adirondack Almanack. “It takes thousands of acres of timberlands and puts them on the chopping block.”

» Continue Reading.



Monday, December 8, 2014

Commentary: Should We Manage Wilderness?

Lost Brook Tract in WinterA couple of weeks ago my friend Dave Mason sent me an interesting article from the New York Review of Books. The article was “It’s Time to Live with the Birds”, a review of a book by Ecologist John M. Marzluff entitled Welcome to Subirdia: Sharing Our Neighborhoods with Wrens, Robins, Woodpeckers, and Other Wildlife. Let me quote an excerpt from the review:

“Marzluff and other urban ecologists find a gradient in bird life. A few tough survivors hang on in the urban core; the open country outside has many birds. In between—in leafy, variegated suburbia—there is the richest mixture of bird species of all. This finding is counterintuitive. One would have imagined that what he calls the “urban tsunami,” the global shift of populations into cities, would result in homogenized biological deserts with only a few starlings, house sparrows, and pigeons for bird life. That fails to take into account many wild animals’ elemental will to survive, and their capacity to adapt rapidly to new opportunities.”

The book’s argument is that suburban environments constitute a new class of ecosystem that could be studied and leveraged for the benefit of many species. Despite that, I’m not likely to take my next hike in search of a wilderness experience in Barrington, Illinois. But Marzluff’s work reminds us to consider – from an admittedly odd context – that the best way to care for a wilderness might be to leave it alone. Whatever changes and challenges the area faces, Nature itself, with its relentless motive to adapt, will find a better way then well-intentioned human beings who try to manage it ever could. » Continue Reading.



Monday, December 8, 2014

Will An ‘ACR Interpretation’ Be APA’s New Default?

Woodworth and Hines LakesPeter Bauer has well summarized the current Adirondack Park Agency application by New York Land and Lakes Development LLC for 24 housing lots (plus five common lots, including the lakes themselves) on 1,120 acres around Woodworth and Hines Lakes in the southern Adirondack Park, Towns of Bleecker and Johnstown.

The land is zoned Resource Management: “where the need to protect, manage and enhance forest, agricultural, recreational, and open space resources is of paramount importance.”  The basic purposes of RM lands is “to protect the delicate physical and biological resources, encourage proper and economic management of forest, agricultural and recreational resources and preserve the open spaces that are essential and basic to the unique character of the park.” » Continue Reading.



Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Adirondack ‘Great South Woods’ Ideas Sought

Great South Woods AdirondacksAn effort latter this month hopes to gather public input about how to diversify and enhance outdoor recreation opportunities in the what organizers are calling the “Great South Woods” – a more than 2 million-acre area of public and private lands in the southern Adirondack Park that includes parts of Oneida, Herkimer, Hamilton, Fulton, Saratoga, Warren, and Essex Counties.

The driving forces behind this new initiative have been Bill Farber, Chairman of the Hamilton County Board of Supervisors, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF), the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), and the Adirondack Park Agency (APA). » Continue Reading.



Sunday, November 30, 2014

Climbers Seek State Land Master Plan Recognition

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIn 1971, the year before the State Land Master Plan was adopted, Trudy Healy published the second edition of A Climber’s Guide to the Adirondacks. It was a slim, staple-bound booklet that described about seventy rock-climbing routes.

Last year, Jeremy Haas and Jim Lawyer published the second edition of Adirondack Rock, a two-volume affair with descriptions of more than three thousand routes. In addition, other authors are working on guidebooks for bouldering and slide climbing in the Adirondack Park.

Haas points to these books as evidence of the growth in popularity of technical climbing and mountaineering since the early 1970s. He and other climbers are hoping the Adirondack Park Agency recognizes this growth when it considers amendments to the State Land Master Plan.

» Continue Reading.



Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Common Ground Alliance Issues Updated ‘Blueprint’

Common Ground Alliance Adirondacks 2014Organizers of the Adirondack Common Ground Alliance (CGA) have released an updated Blueprint for the Blue Line, a set of legislative priorities for the Adirondack Park for 2015 and beyond.

For the last seven years, CGA has brought together a diverse collection of stakeholders to foster a dialogue and seek collaborative solutions for complex problems Adirondack communities face. The updated Blueprint, crafted using feedback from a legislative poll of CGA participants, calls for increased infrastructure funding and restoration of operational budgets for state agencies that serve the Adirondacks, as well as policy actions that support renewable energy, smart growth, and more. » Continue Reading.



Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Peter Bauer: Backcountry Sprawl At Woodworth Lake

The final design for the 1,100 acre subdivision around Hines Pond and Woodworth Lake.Just inside the Blue Line in the southern Adirondacks in the Towns of Bleecker and Johnstown, a new 1,118-acre, 26-lot subdivision on lands zoned Resource Management is poised for approval by the Adirondack Park Agency (APA). An application has been completed, and now the APA must either issue a permit or send the project to an official adjudicatory public hearing. The developer is a professional outfit called New York Land & Lakes, and it completes a half dozen major subdivisions each year throughout the northeast. This is its first project in the Adirondack Park.

This development involves lands of the former Woodworth Lake Boy Scout Camp on an 1,118-acre site that was operated by the Boy Scouts from 1950-1992 as a retreat center and sold in 2013. On the tract, there are two lakes, Hines Pond and Woodworth Lake, and extensive wetlands and steep slopes. The tract is bordered by Forest Preserve in the Shaker Mountain Wild Forest around the north end. Some 97% of this tract is classified as Resource Management and 3% Low Intensity under the APA Land Use and Development Plan.

This is the biggest Resource Management project since the Adirondack Club & Resort (ACR) project was approved in 2012. The ACR project cut 4,739 acres of Resource Management lands into 80 lots. The maximum development density for Resource Management is 15 units per square mile, which averages to 42.7 acres per principal building. » Continue Reading.



Tuesday, November 18, 2014

State Land Plan: A Conversation with Peter Paine

Peter Paine with hunting companionThe APA’s “Listening Sessions” about the State Land Master Plan (SLMP) conclude this month. I’ve been to several on behalf of Adirondack Wild and appreciate the low-key, helpful competency displayed by the APA staff that receive inputs, write down comments, and field questions from the public in a one-on-one style. While absent of confident, inspired opening statements by the APA about the origins, importance and relevance of the Master Plan which they are by law obliged to uphold, these sessions do foster thoughtful, private questions, comments and enhanced listening, all of which are a good thing.

At Adirondack Wild, however, we see opportunities for strengthening the SLMP and its paramount purposes – the protection of natural resources and wild character of the Forest Preserve – and that’s been the theme behind our inputs to APA. To prepare ourselves, one of the first people we wanted to sit down with was the principal author of the SLMP, Peter S. Paine, Jr. » Continue Reading.



Tuesday, November 18, 2014

State Land Master Plan Meeting Rescheduled

comments board for webBecause of snow in the forecast, the Adirondack Park Agency has canceled tonight’s meeting in Old Forge on proposed amendments to the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan.

The meeting has been rescheduled for 4-6 p.m. Monday at the gymnasium in the Town of Webb School on Route 28 in Old Forge.

The APA is considering two changes to the master plan. One would permit mountain biking in the Essex Chain Primitive Area, and the other would allow the state to build a snowmobile bridge over the Cedar River using some non-natural materials.

In addition, the agency is soliciting ideas for other amendments to the plan. The Adirondack Park Local Government Review Board has set forth nine proposals.

» Continue Reading.



Sunday, November 16, 2014

State Land Master Plan: Managing for the 21st Century

APSLMP - LogoFriday, I concluded a four-part history of the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan: why it was written, how it has been applied, and why it has been updated. Together, I think the four essays provide a good overview of most of the key events that influenced the original plan and its two revisions, from the point at which the Forest Preserve was created in 1885, to how we arrived at the master plan that we have today. » Continue Reading.



Friday, November 14, 2014

SLMP History: Winning and Losing Whitney Lake

APSLMP - LogoThe purpose of this five-part history of the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan (SLMP) has been to place certain current events within a larger context, from the historical developments that inspired the creation of the master plan to its implementation. The discussion that we are having today was triggered by a high-profile land acquisition in the central Adirondacks (the Essex Chain of Lakes) and the requirement that this land be classified in a way that will determine the preferred future management policy. The Adirondack Park Agency (APA) did reach a classification decision last year, but recognizing the inadequacy of this decision, the agency simultaneously promised to consider ways of changing it.

While this sense of indecision on the part of the APA is certainly novel, the basic elements of the case – an attractive and well publicized land acquisition, an eager but divided public, the need to reach a management decision – are as old as the SLMP itself. Of all the events that have occurred since 1972, the one with the greatest resemblance to our own times was perhaps the Perkins Clearing land exchange of 1983. » Continue Reading.



Thursday, November 13, 2014

SLMP History: Implementing the Great Compromise

APSLMP - LogoThe Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan (SLMP) was created in 1972 to address the cumulative impacts of sixty years of unplanned recreation management. The original plan – and to a large degree, the current version of the SLMP too – reflects this era by listing many of the facilities and uses that the old Conservation Department had allowed into the Forest Preserve, and then commenting on their appropriateness within each of the various zoning categories (Wild Forest, Primitive, Wilderness, et cetera). This certainly lends credence to the complaint that aspects of the SLMP are outdated in 2014 and need to be amended.

Without a doubt, the SLMP was never intended to be a static document, its provisions set in stone for all eternity. Part of any sound management process is to review successes and failures, and to identify opportunities for improving a set of guidelines based on the experience of having worked within them. The expectation was that the plan would be reviewed at least every five years—sooner, if there was a valid reason. » Continue Reading.



Saturday, November 8, 2014

Commentary: Summon The Will To Address Land Issues

APSLMP - LogoNearly a year ago I posted an informal poll here at the Almanack in order to measure which issues facing the Adirondack Park were considered most important to readers. At the time my purpose was to prove my suspicion that human diversity, the issue I considered most critical to the future of the region, was not on the collective radar. The poll results supported my contention and started a conversation that has grown into multiple initiatives. I couldn’t be happier about that. But now I want to return to the poll for a different purpose. » Continue Reading.



Wednesday, November 5, 2014

PROTECT Faults DEC For Rebuilding Road in Preserve

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAA few years ago I wrote a story for the Adirondack Explorer about a trail run to Gull Lake in the Black River Wild Forest near Woodgate. My outing began on a muddy mess of a road passable only by jeeps and pickup trucks.

This year, the state Department of Environmental Conservation repaired two miles of the road, smoothing it out, laying down gravel, and installing new culverts. I was able to drive my Honda Fit (not a high-clearance vehicle) the full two miles with no problem.

» Continue Reading.



Sunday, November 2, 2014

Peter Bauer: Crane Pond Road is a Mess

CranePondRoad-11For nearly 25 years the Crane Pond Road has existed as an illegal and controversial 2-mile-long road in the Pharaoh Lake Wilderness area. This summer, there were regular reports about cars and trucks getting stuck in a mud wallow at a degraded point where the Crane Pond Road cuts through a wetland. In August, I encountered a group stuck there with their jeep when I walked the road.

In September, state agencies celebrated 50 years of the National Wilderness Act. The Adirondack Park Agency (APA) had presentations about the Wilderness Act and the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) attended various ceremonies to pay homage to Wilderness. Both agencies elegized the importance of Wilderness.

The failure to close the Crane Pond Road belies their pretty words about Wilderness. Natural resource degradation has reached a point where the Crane Pond Road is now a public safety hazard. » Continue Reading.



Saturday, November 1, 2014

What Would an Adirondack National Park Look Like?

1967 National Park Proposal An interesting discussion developed this week in the comment sections of several Almanack articles related to the APA’s review of the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan (SLMP). The discussion was spurred by DEC Forest Ranger Scott van Laer. His contribution: why not consider an Adirondack National Park? So I thought I’d have a little fun and explore what one might look like.

Those who know their history or have read Bill Ingersoll’s two-part series covering the history that led to the SLMP know that this is not a new idea. In 1967 Laurance Rockefeller proposed that a National Park be established in the heart of the Adirondacks. It was a non-starter – overwhelmingly opposed – but spurred changes in thinking that were critical to all that followed. » Continue Reading.



Thursday, October 30, 2014

APA Gets Ideas For Amending State Land Master Plan

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe Adirondack Park Agency is considering two amendments to the State Land Master Plan, both concerning the Essex Chain Lakes region, but the agency likely will be asked to weigh broader changes to the document.

The Adirondack Park Local Government Review Board already has set forth nine proposals for amending the master plan, which governs the state’s management of the Forest Preserve.

“There’s going to be more, but that’s a start,” Fred Monroe, the board’s executive director, told Adirondack Almanack at an APA “listening session” Wednesday evening, the first of four such meetings that the agency plans to hold to gather ideas on amending the master plan.

» Continue Reading.



Thursday, October 30, 2014

SLMP History: Zoning the Forest Preserve

APSLMP - LogoI have no doubt that when the Adirondack Park Agency (APA) announced its intent to begin an amendment process for the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan (SLMP), more than one preservation-minded advocate held their breath for a moment. The master plan, after all, is the document that has guided the management of the Forest Preserve for the past forty-two years. It has capped the amount of roads and snowmobile trails to essentially 1972 levels, kept snowmobile trails reasonably narrow and trail-like, and kept both roads and snowmobile trails out of the designated Wilderness areas. For a preservationist who seeks to foster the wild forest character of our state lands, these are accomplishments worth celebrating.

On the other hand, people seeking enhanced access to the Forest Preserve for a greater number of people will list these same SLMP accomplishments as a set of roadblocks that should be reconsidered.

The current amendment process is being conducted because in 2013, as part of the classification package that designated the Essex Chain Lakes Primitive Area, the APA promised it would revisit the SLMP to see if there was a way to open these lands to mountain bike use. The area was classified Primitive to balance competing political influences: on one side, a desire to keep the lakes as motorless as possible — floatplanes notwithstanding — while on the other hand allowing motor vehicle access on some of the surrounding roads. In an odd twist, some traditionally preservation-minded voices were more than okay with this, calling the classification scheme “wilderness with access” — turning the old “Access versus Wildness” argument on its head. » Continue Reading.



Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Feds Preserve Local Jurisdiction Over Cell Towers

Exit 29 Cell Tower - North Hudson (APA Photo)A coalition of New York’s environmental and historic preservation organizations is expressing its gratitude today after receiving a decision from Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that preserves the rights of state and local governments to regulate the size, shape and visibility of telecommunications towers in scenic and historic areas, including the Adirondack Park.

In January, the groups sent a joint letter to the FCC, urging federal officials to recognize that scenic beauty and historic significance are the backbone of local tourism, both inside and outside of the Adirondack Park.  In public comments on a proposed FCC rule, they asked the commissioners to reject the notion that expansions of 10 percent or more in the height or width of cell towers would have no impact on the environment or historic preservation. » Continue Reading.



Tuesday, October 28, 2014

SLMP History: The Preservation of Wildness

APSLMP - LogoRecently, the Adirondack Park Agency (APA) announced that it will commence an amendment process for the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan, the document that sets the state’s management policies for the Forest Preserve and other state-owned lands in the Adirondack Park.

For some people this action will be seen as a long-overdue opportunity to update an important document that has not been materially amended since 1987. For others, this will be a period of apprehension—an opportunity for opponents to weaken certain cherished provisions that have been in place since 1972. » Continue Reading.



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