Friday, 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.
Posts Tagged ‘snowmobiling’
Jack Drury says the Trails with Rails Action Committee (TRAC) has a win-win solution to the controversy over the future of the rail corridor between Tupper Lake and Lake Placid: keep the tracks and build a network of bike trails that run alongside or in the vicinity of the tracks.
Adirondack Recreational Trail Advocates (ARTA) also envisions a bike trail between Tupper and Placid, but its plan calls for removing the tracks.
The bike trails proposed by TRAC and ARTA are fundamentally different. To many observers, it’s an apples-and-oranges comparison.
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Regional Director Robert Stegemann has announced that the Wilmington Wild Forest Unit Management Plan (UMP) will be reopened in order to expand mountain biking and snowmobile trails within the Wilmington Wild Forest.
DEC has partnered with local governments and volunteers to build a number of trails and trail systems since the UMP was approved in October 2005. Currently, there are approximately 33 miles of trails with 23 miles open to mountain bikes and eight miles of snowmobile trails – including a connection to the Adirondack/North Country snowmobile trail network. » Continue Reading.
Joe Hattrup says he can do it for free.
Hattrup asserts that the sale of the rails and other steel hardware would cover the costs of removing the tracks and creating a trail that could be used by snowmobilers in winter and cyclists in other seasons. The trail would have a stone-dust surface suitable for road bikes.
I 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.
“In response to public comments from local businesses, community representatives, individuals and a variety of stakeholders – including many who recommended that potential locations for a snowmobile trail should be addressed in the current Draft UMP – DEC has decided it will revise the Draft UMP to fully assess the options for locating a snowmobile trail and propose a preferred alternative,” a statement to the press said.
DEC expects to release the revised draft UMP for public comment this fall and complete the UMP in time for implementation in 2015. Until that plan is approved, DEC will continue to manage these recently acquired lands and resources under a stewardship plan to guide access and recreation. » Continue Reading.
The draft Unit Management Plan (UMP) for the Essex Chain of Lakes is out and available for public comment until July 18th. To discerning readers, it will be clear that many of its recommendations and management actions, which the APA must deem to be in compliance with the State Land Master Plan, are just going ahead anyway. For example, primitive tent sites, parking lots and other facilities throughout are being completed this summer “prior to adoption of the Unit Management Plan.” These are not interim steps. These are final decisions as to number, design, and location.
I understand why the State appears to be rushing to complete this parking and camping by permit system on the Essex Chain and Upper Hudson River. These are vulnerable aquatic systems and nobody wants to establish an early pattern of recreational overuse which could degrade these ponds and their shorelines and rare ecological plant and fish communities. I conceptually support this UMP’s camping permit reservation system. It makes management and stewardship sense, as does the inclusion of the Student Conservation Association and the Adirondack Interpretive Center in managing such a camping reservation system. » Continue Reading.
Increased opportunities for outdoor recreation in the Adirondacks would be available under two proposed plans released today for public review and comment, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has announced. Comments will be accepted on the Essex Chain Lakes Management Complex Draft Unit Management Plan (Draft UMP) and a Draft Community Connector Multiple-Use Trail Plan (Draft Trail Plan) through July 18.
The Essex Chain Lakes Management Complex includes the 6,956-acre Essex Chain Primitive Area, the 2,788-acre Pine Lake Primitive Area and a portion of the 42,537-acre Blue Mountain Wild Forest. These lands are located in the Town of Indian Lake in Hamilton County, and towns of Newcomb and Minerva in Essex County. » Continue Reading.
For more than two years, rail-trail activists have been pushing state officials to end decades of financial support for the Adirondack Scenic Railroad and convert a ninety-mile rail corridor between Old Forge and Lake Placid into a year-round multi-use recreational trail.
Adirondack Recreational Trail Advocates (ARTA) has argued that the tourism train has been a financial failure, requiring too much taxpayer support, and claimed that a rail trail would provide a bigger tourism draw. » Continue Reading.
The 29th Indian Lake Winter Fest, being held February 14 to 23, will be expanded this year with the addition of SnoCade, a celebration of snowmobiling in the Adirondacks. Centered in Indian Lake, but also including the hamlets of Blue Mountain Lake and Sabael, the Indian Lake Winter Fest includes a parade, followed by indoor and outdoor activities such as a two-day Winter Wonderland Craft Show, Firemen’s Breakfast, torchlight skiing, snowshoe softball, snow horseshoes, and snowshoe hikes, along with fun indoor events and fireworks.
The Indian Lake Library will expand its normal activities to include children crafts; the Department of Environmental Conservation (along with the Indian Lake Volunteer Ambulance Corps and Fire Department) will have a demonstration of ice rescue; there will be snowmobile radar speed timing; stand-up comedy and live music at the Theatre; and a kid’s hill climb. » Continue Reading.
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) issued an advisory today reporting that the recent snowstorm provided great conditions for winter outdoor recreation in the Adirondack backcountry. Backcountry visitors should be prepared with proper clothing and equipment for snow, ice and cold to ensure a safe and enjoyable winter experience.
Snow depths range from 8 – 20 inches or more. The deepest snows are in the western and southwestern Adirondacks and the thinner depths in the northeastern section. Snow depths are deeper in the higher elevations like the High Peaks and other mountains over 3,000 feet. » Continue Reading.
For three days, the Adirondack Park Agency deliberated on a set of classifications for Forest Preserve in Newcomb, Minerva and Indian Lake that were never in doubt. The decisions were the Governor’s. APA took its direction from him, as it did with the Adirondack Club and Resort two years ago.
APA staff labored mightily over the past week to put those State Land decisions, and the maps into a format that their members might understand. The convoluted resolution was adopted unanimously but requires changes in inconvenient regulations and policies before the classifications are finalized. That is the price this Governor exacts from his state agencies in order to settle a controversial policy matter for these magnificent new parts of the Adirondack Forest Preserve. » Continue Reading.
The Adirondack Park Agency voted unanimously today to approve a staff recommendation to create a 23,494-acre Hudson Gorge Wilderness Area and a 9,940-acre Essex Chain Primitive Area on lands once owned by the Finch, Pruyn paper company.
The vote climaxed a year of work that included public hearings, which elicited thousands of comments, and negotiations between state officials and various stakeholders.
Underscoring the importance of the decision was that Basil Seggos, Governor Andrew Cuomo’s deputy secretary for the environment, drove up from Albany to attend the APA’s meeting.
SnoCade is coming to Indian Lake on February 14-23, 2014 and the organizers are looking for a logo design. Anyone can enter the contest and the winner will receive a $25 prize. All entries have an opportunity to be on display during a gallery show at the Town of Indian Lake Library during the event.
SnoCade will be a snowmobiling-oriented event that is part of the Indian Lake Winter Fest. In addition to Winter Fest’s many activities (duck tape sled races, circus, tricky tray). SnoCade will also have snowmobile rides, radar runs and uphill climb races. There will also be: snowshoeing, Forever SnoCade (comedy performance), concerts, and dining opportunities galore (you might even have a chance to learn a new recipe). The Adirondack Almanack‘s John Warren will present a talk and slide show on the history of snowmobiling in the Adirondacks at the Adirondack Museum’s Cabin Fever Program on February 16. » Continue Reading.
The Proposed Final Draft of the Taylor Pond Wild Forest Unit Management Plan (UMP) was released today for public comment by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and the Adirondack Park Agency (APA).
DEC staff presented the Proposed Final UMP to the APA Board at their monthly meeting on December 13, 2012. At noon, the State Land Committee heard an informational “first reading” of the UMP. The Agency will now hold a public comment period to solicit comments related to the proposed UMP’s compliance with the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan (SLMP). APA will accept written comment on SLMP compliance for the proposals contained in the draft UMP until noon on Tuesday, January 2, 2013. The APA Board is scheduled to render a determination of SLMP compliance for this UMP at the January 10- 11, 2013 Agency meeting. The final step in the process is approval of the UMP by DEC Commissioner Joseph Martens. » Continue Reading.