Posts Tagged ‘Forest Preserve’

Thursday, September 14, 2017

‘Explorer’ Editorial: Consider a Convention for New York

PHOTO BY JOHNATHAN ESPER

This November’s election may be an off-year, but it’s an important one for New Yorkers. The ballot will include the question of whether to hold a convention to make changes to the New York State Constitution, a chance that comes along once every twenty years.

New York State residents with ties to the Adirondacks should be conflicted: on the one hand, their state constitution is in desperate need of revision — punctuated by a string of corruption convictions against state leaders in recent years. The changes needed to fix this problem aren’t likely to come from lawmakers themselves through constitutional amendment.

But while taking back control of our constitution seems a desirable goal, opening the potential for harm to Article 14, which includes the forever-wild clause protecting the Forest Preserve in the Adirondacks and Catskills, is a proposition scarier to some than politicians lining their pockets with public money. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Where Do We Want The Park To Be In Future Years?

A friend and fellow founder of Adirondack Wild first urged me to read Wallace Stegner’s Beyond the Hundredth Meridian (Houghton Mifflin, 1954). Perhaps my friend sensed connections between the “second opening of the west” and the Adirondacks. Regardless, it remains a fascinating work, to be read and re-read. Although never part of my schooling, it should be on anyone’s lifetime reading list.

Stegner chronicles the explorer of the Colorado River, John Wesley Powell, who spent his middle life and health attempting to teach our late 19th century politicians (and those moving west) that only scientifically-based land use planning and restrictions would save us from the disaster of letting Americans willy-nilly settle, break sod, and farm the arid west under the 1862 Homestead Act.

As head of brand new scientific agencies in Washington DC, the Geological and Irrigation Surveys, Powell acted for the “common interest” through his dry-eyed assessment that 160-acres, a mule and a plow on either side of the 100th meridian were irrational and pitiable against prairie and desert wind, snow, sun, drought and loneliness. Rain, it turned out, did not follow the plow in the 1880s and 90s, or during the 1930s Dust Bowl. Powell fought tenaciously against scientific misconceptions, false prophets, personal gain, corrupt practice, and speculative acquisitiveness – whereby a handful of individuals could and did gobble up millions of acres of the public’s dry lands and whatever little water existed there, for their own use. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, September 10, 2017

Buzz Over Adirondack High Peaks Helicopter Tours

A Go Aviation helicopter flies low over Duck Hole in the High Peaks Wilderness. Chip Moeser hiked fifteen miles from Lake Placid in early July to spend the night at Duck Hole deep in the High Peaks Wilderness. He was looking for quiet, but in the late afternoon, a helicopter started descending from overhead.

“It was coming in like it was going to land,” Moeser said, adding that it got as close as ten feet to the ground before taking off.

At first, he had assumed it was a state helicopter. In fact, it was owned by Go Aviation, which this summer started flying helicopter tours out of Lake Placid and Lake Clear. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Constitutional Convention Vote Raises Article 14 Fears

Monuments at Monument Falls along the West Branch of the Ausable River near Lake Placid Every two decades, New Yorkers go to the polls to decide whether they want to rewrite the language in their state constitution. Historically, they take a pass on this opportunity — in more than a century, only three constitutional conventions have been called by the voters, the most recent in 1967. And even in that year, the same voters who called for the convention decided they didn’t like the result and rejected the changes proposed by the convention’s delegates.

But if last year’s presidential elections and the rise of a self-styled populist to power were reflective of anything, it was that much of the electorate is irritated with business as usual and might be willing to take chances in the name of draining the swamp. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Final Papers Submitted In Adirondack Park Snowmobile Trail Trial

section of the Newcomb to Minerva trail built in 2015On July 31, 2017 final papers were submitted in the trial in state Supreme Court in Albany over management of the Forest Preserve. The trial ended in early April. The trial focused on management of the public “forever wild” Forest Preserve by the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation and Adirondack Park Agency.

These agencies are currently building a network of 9-12 foot wide class II community connector snowmobile trails (Class II trails) on the Adirondack Forest Preserve that require cutting thousands of trees, extensive grading.

The lawsuit was filed by Protect the Adirondacks (PROTECT) against the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation and Adirondack Park Agency in 2013, and alleges that these trails violate Article XIV, Section 1, the forever wild provision of the NYS Constitution. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, August 5, 2017

Pete Nelson: Norway has Lessons for High Peaks Overuse

Regular Almanack readers are used to hearing me stress the importance of perspectives from outside the Adirondack Park. Today I’ve got one from way outside the Adirondack Park, specifically Norway, where my wife Amy and I are traveling for two weeks. While here I have enjoyed the geologic kinship Norway shares with the Adirondacks. I have also enjoyed the fact that my experiences so far have reinforced the sentiments I expressed in my last Almanack column, namely that we should not overreact to busy trails in the High Peaks. If you think we have a problem in the Adirondacks, you should see the hiking traffic here. And if you think that pervasive cultural experiences of pristine, wild places can’t place their fragile value at the heart of an entire society, you should see this country.

Yesterday Amy and I climbed Preikestolen, one of Norway’s most popular hiking destinations and a national icon. In some ways Preikestolen is Norway’s answer to Indian Head: a massive, open rock slab with a spectacular view, positioned far above a narrow body of water that is set between mountain ridges. However the scale is far greater: Priekestolen’s height above the water is three times that of Indian Head and the body of water is a sizeable fjord, not a small lake. For the purposes of this article, a better comparison is our own infamous Cascade Mountain. Cascade’s trail involves several hundred feet more vertical ascent than Preikestolen, but both routes are 2.4 miles and, more important, both trails are crammed with people who want an accessible but authentic regional mountain experience. Like Cascade, Preikestolen is a challenge that a neophyte hiker or ambitious family might take, an intimidating but doable workout with major parking problems down below and a show-stopper payoff on top. The difference, once again, is scale: Preikestolen’s foot traffic makes Cascade look like Allen Mountain.   » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Should Campfires be Banned on the Adirondack Forest Preserve?

The Giant’s Washbowl seen from Nubble Cliff Recently, I was returning from Nubble Cliff in the Giant Mountain Wilderness when I passed a tent on the southeast shore of the Giant’s Washbowl and heard someone breaking branches or dead trees, presumably gathering wood for a campfire.

Campfires are an Adirondack tradition. Who doesn’t like a fire when sleeping under the stars? Nevertheless, I couldn’t help thinking that this was not good for the environment. Rather, it was destructive. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, July 29, 2017

Verplanck Colvin and Politics Today

Colvin HeadshotLast month we went to see Bill Killon’s documentary, “Colvin: Hero of the North Woods” at the Adirondack History Museum in Elizabethtown. Surveyor and forest-preserve advocate Verplanck Colvin has always been something of a hero of mine, and not because he has the funniest name associated with the Adirondacks. He doesn’t. He doesn’t even have the funniest name beginning with V, an honor that goes to — and I assume I will get no argument here — the mountain that goes by the name of Vanderwhacker.

It’s an excellent film, drawing on the observations of a veritable Mount Rushmore of contemporary Adirondack voices, and deftly and artfully edited by Killon to show Colvin’s strengths, weaknesses and complexities. In a classic touch, an Adirondack downpour lends a comforting background serenade to an interview with Tony Goodwin, symbolic, perhaps, of the waters that Colvin was so inclined to protect. » Continue Reading.


Monday, July 24, 2017

Ticket Issued For Drone Usage In Adirondack Wilderness Area

A man who allegedly flew a drone in the High Peaks Wilderness in June is headed to court in Keene next month.

The man allegedly flew and landed a drone on June 17th near the state Department of Environmental Conservation’s Johns Brook Outpost. The man was issued a ticket after the incident was observed by a forest ranger.

The ticket was first of its kind for operation of a drone on the Adirondack Park Forest Preserve. It alleges the individual operated motorized equipment within land classified as wilderness. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, July 23, 2017

Pete Nelson: Don’t Overreact to High Peaks Use

Overuse in portions of the High Peaks is a real and growing problem, exacerbated by trends in social media and the expanding desire to count-off summits.  It has been documented extensively here in the Almanack.  But in the last few weeks these discussions have reached a rolling boil with a bit too much hyperbole for me.   A range of ideas has been raised, a number of them falling under the general concept of limiting access to the High Peaks, including permit systems, licensing schemes, daily caps and so on.  Some of these limiting suggestions have been accompanied by exclusionary rhetoric with which I strongly disagree, along the lines of “Why are we trying to get more people here?” or “I like my (town, street, access) the way it is, without all the visitors.”  I agree that increasing use in parts of the High Peaks is a real issue, and I have written about various aspects of the problem for several years.  But the exclusionary sentiments I’m starting to hear are where I draw the line. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, July 16, 2017

DEC Commissioner Eyes Major Changes to Forest Preserve

Hamlet to Hut demonstration project in Long LakeEarlier this year I wrote two articles in the Adirondack Almanack (here and here) about how state agencies had switched their focus from a classification of the Boreas Ponds with various Wilderness-Wild Forest options to a new option that included some form of public lodging facilities. My purpose in writing these pieces was to convey the fears of many at the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and state government who were alarmed at these ideas cooked up by Governor Andrew Cuomo and DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos. These articles in the Almanack triggered a round of press scrutiny and helped to inform the public about how state leaders had changed their focus on the Boreas classification (see some here, here, and here). These press reports also authenticated what I had written.

Last week, we saw an op-ed published in the Adirondack Daily Enterprise by Commissioner Seggos making the case for building some kind of rental cabins, lodges, huts, or glamping-style tent platforms in the Forest Preserve. The op-ed talked about the possibility of “full service” and “self service” buildings. It was premised on the idea that the Forest Preserve needs to add a new and different type recreational amenity to facilitate broader public use. The Commissioner promoted the ideas of the hut-to-hut initiative from the Hamlets to Huts organization and listed the ways in which some kind of cabin on the Forest Preserve could provide different opportunities for public use. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, July 9, 2017

Your Dog And The Adirondack Forest Preserve

dog on leash

Dog owners should act responsibly and always ensure that their dogs are under the control; for the safety of the dog and wildlife, and to allow an enjoyable outdoor experience for other recreational users.

Wildlife approached by dogs may feel threatened and defend themselves, causing injury to the dog. Porcupines, racoons, coyotes, bears, moose and deer can all cause injury to dogs when cornered. Also there is a danger of rabies, distemper or other wildlife diseases being transmitted to the dog.

Dogs harassing wildlife can be seriously detrimental, especially in winter. Animals may be injured or killed if caught. This is more likely to happen to young animals, which may also be separated from their parent losing protection and nourishment. Also, animals may be injured while fleeing a pursuit, too. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, July 1, 2017

Blue Line Basics: An Adirondack Park History Primer

Map of the Adirondack Plateau showing the position & condition of existing forests 1884Noted land surveyor Verplanck Colvin raised the alarm about threats to Adirondack resources as early as 1868.

In 1884, a state forest commission created this detailed map of remaining timber resources in northern New York.

Later, a 1891 map included an outline of a proposed Adirondack Park, delineated by a line drawn in blue ink. This is considered by historians to be the first map of the Adirondack Park. Over time, the term “blue line”came to represent the actual boundary of the Adirondack Park.

On May 20, 1892, New York Governor Roswell P. Flower signed a law creating a 2.8 million-acre Adirondack Park. Today, the park offers an array of outdoor recreation opportunities, including more than 1,800 miles of trails and thousands of camping spots. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, June 24, 2017

PROTECT Statement On End Of 2017 Legislative Session

NYS CapitolWhat follows is a statement issued by PROTECT. 

The 2017 New York State Legislative session ended on June 21st as both houses adjourned and left Albany. It remains unclear at this time if the two houses will return to complete unfinished business. The two houses were deadlocked over issues of “Mayoral Control” of New York City schools and extensions for local taxation districts across the state. Both of these issues are important for New York City and state residents and may require further action.

There was unfinished business for the Adirondacks as well. The two houses were close to reaching an agreement in the last hours of the session on enabling legislation for the proposed “Health and Safety Land Accounts” amendment to Article XIV, Section 1, the “forever wild” provision of the State Constitution. This amendment would provide access to 250 acres of Forest Preserve lands for maintenance of local highways in the Adirondacks bordered by Forest Preserve, and lands for municipal water wells, as well as authorize burial and colocation of utility lines and bike paths in state and local highway corridors. The “enabling legislation” sets in law the process for the implementation and administration of the amendment. » Continue Reading.


Friday, June 23, 2017

John Sheehan: Land Bank Constitutional Amendment Not Finished, Yet

NYS CapitolA bi-partisan team of NYS Legislators reached a tentative agreement on an amendment to the “Forever Wild” clause of the State Constitution Wednesday night, but were unable to get the final bills approved before members of both houses returned to their districts.

Sponsors were hopeful today that the final agreement could be approved by both houses before the legislative session ends for the year. Neither house had declared its session to be formally ended when both houses sent their members home shortly before midnight Wednesday. » Continue Reading.


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