Posts Tagged ‘State Land Master Plan’

Monday, February 8, 2016

Dave Gibson: APA’s Response To Rail-Trail Comments Falls Short

Train-300x241 Nancie BattagliaBy this stage the NYS APA, DEC, and DOT may feel justified that they have adequately addressed public comments about the future of the Remsen-Lake Placid Railroad Travel Corridor. Having hosted listening sessions in 2013-14 and several public comment periods in 2015, the last one concluding in December, the DEC’s unit management plan amendment goes on, page after page, responding to questions and comment. The DEC responses justify the preferred alternative of separate corridor segments; segment one with rail from Remsen terminating at Tupper Lake, the other, an all-recreational segment two between Tupper Lake and Lake Placid, without rail. The underlying economic studies doubtless contributed to the result, as do the physical obstacles to rail with trail, but the compromise seems almost unavoidable in light of the often clamorous, divided public point and counterpoint.

Still, one would have hoped that in its mailing to Agency members this month APA staff would have gone the extra mile in describing and analyzing the public comments in explaining why the Travel Corridor UMP amendment, and the creation of the two corridor segments (and much else in the UMP) complies with the State Land Master Plan. That was the purpose of the public comment period ending in mid-December. That is the decision APA Members will have to make next week in Ray Brook. The case for compliance, the major policy issues facing the APA, and staff’s assessment of public comment letters visa vi those important policy questions should form the basis of an informed decision, right? » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Boreas Ponds And A Bigger Adirondack High Peaks Wilderness

Boreas_PondIn 1936, the conservationist Bob Marshall made a list of forty-eight forested areas in the United States that exceeded three hundred thousand acres and that remained roadless — that is, relatively pristine. Evidently, he considered three hundred thousand acres to be the minimal size of a true wilderness.

“We would like to point out that the 300,000 acres is not a roadless area in any pioneering sense,” Marshall wrote in the magazine Living Wilderness (with co-author Althea Dobbins). “Actually, a 300,000-acre tract is only about 21½ by 21½ miles, something which a reasonably good walker could traverse readily in a day if there were a trail.”

Although the Adirondack Park boasts more than a million acres of officially designated Wilderness, where motorized use is forbidden, no single Wilderness Area comes close to Marshall’s criterion. The High Peaks Wilderness — the largest in the Park — covers only 204,000 acres. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, January 17, 2016

Adirondack Wilderness: Wild By Law, Not Administrative Whim

Wilderness around Fulton Chain from Castle Rock above Blue Mountain LakeThe former chief of publications at The Smithsonian Institution Paul Oehser once joked that “You’ve never experienced wilderness until you’ve driven through Iowa on Interstate 70 in a heavy rainstorm!” His quip reveals one of many connotations of the inextricably entwined words wilderness and wildness.

Paul Oehser’s use of wilderness to evoke chaos harks back to Europe when urban areas began to be seen as a high earthly expression of order. By contrast, wilderness was unordered landscape outside the pale of humankind. Watch TV news today however, and our modern unordered wilds seem to be big cities. Their seeming disorder makes the wilds of the Adirondacks places of cooperation and restoration. » Continue Reading.


Monday, January 4, 2016

APA, DEC Seek Comments On Developing Primitive Campsites

DSCN6012The Adirondack Park Agency (APA) and the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) are holding a joint public comment period to solicit comments regarding proposed guidance on best management practices for primitive camp sites in the Adirondack Forest Preserve.

Guidance addresses roadside camping as it pertains to walk-in sites, and walk-in sites with a single lane parking area. It also includes recommendations for large groups at primitive camp sites, camping permits, tent site size limits, campsite improvements and regulation changes. The APA and DEC will accept comments on these issues until January 29, 2016. No public hearings are scheduled to be held on these changes. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, December 23, 2015

APA, DEC Proposals Would Alter Wilderness Protection

Adirondack Park Open-for-Business VignetteThe 2015 report Adirondack Park at a Crossroad: A Road Map for Action begins this way:

“We document recent permit decisions and management practices by the NYS Adirondack Park Agency (APA) and Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) which we believe are inconsistent with the constitutional and statutory requirements designed to ensure long term protection of the Park’s integrity and which are irreconcilable with the agencies’ obligations as the public’s trustees of the Adirondack Park…We illustrate how this significant shift in priorities at APA and DEC…are part of a larger pattern of allowing increasingly destructive development to proceed with little or no environmental baseline data, only cursory environmental review, and little in the way of avoidance or mitigation of negative impacts.”

As the year ends, we see the pattern described in our report of favoring recreational use over the State Land Master Plan’s “paramount” purpose of natural resource and wilderness protection continuing. Several of the State Land Master Plan (SLMP) amendment alternatives sent by the APA in December to public hearing in January would, if selected as the preferred alternative, fundamentally alter wilderness protection policies in place since 1972. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Green Groups Differ On Rail-Trail Proposal

Adirondack Tourist Train (Susan Bibeau)Two environmental groups disagree on whether a state proposal to remove 34 miles of train tracks between Tupper Lake and Lake Placid complies with the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan.

In a news release last week, the Adirondack Council praised the proposal, calling it “a good compromise” that protects natural resources and addresses the economic and cultural needs of the region.

Adirondack Wild: Friends of the Forest Preserve, however, contends that the proposal violates the State Land Master Plan. The proposal would amend the corridor’s unit management plan (UMP) from 1996. » Continue Reading.


Monday, December 14, 2015

Effort Underway To Change The Rules For Adirondack Park

APSLMP - LogoThe Adirondack Park Agency is proposing several amendments to the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan. The document is supposed to establish rules for managing state land in the Adirondack Park, but has been at the center of criticism over abuse of power by the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation and the Adirondack Park Agency, who are accused of ignoring its basic tenets.

Three public hearings are planned by APA, none south of Albany and none in the evening outside the Adirondack Park.  APA is accepting comments in writing until January 29, 2016. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, December 9, 2015

APA Meeting Thursday: Cross-Country Trails, Master Plan Amendments

APA officeThe Adirondack Park Agency (APA) will hold its monthly meeting at its headquarters in Ray Brook, NY on Thursday, December 10, 2015.  The Full Agency will come to order at 9:00 a.m. for Executive Director Terry Martino’s monthly report.

At 9:30 a.m., the State Land Committee will convene to deliberate the Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement for proposed amendments to the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan.  If accepted, the committee will authorize public hearings to solicit comments regarding the proposed amendments.  The committee will also consider authorizing a public comment period for proposed Primitive Tent Site Guidance.  The committee meeting will conclude with an informational presentation on proposed amendments to the Wilmington Wild Forest Unit Management Plan. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, December 5, 2015

Paine, Kissel Back Expansion Of High Peaks Wilderness

boreas pondsA proposal to expand the High Peaks Wilderness has received the endorsement of two of the Adirondack Park Agency’s founding figures.

The High Peaks Wilderness already is by far the largest Wilderness Area in the Park, but the Adirondack Council and seven other environmental groups are urging the state to add 80,000 acres, expanding it to 284,000 acres.

Enlarging the Wilderness Area “will place New York State and the Adirondack Park in a position of national leadership for creation and maintenance of Wilderness lands equal to any in the Continental United States,” Peter Paine and William Kissel declared in a joint letter. The council intends to use the letter in its campaign for the Wilderness proposal and sent a copy to Adirondack Almanack on Friday. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, December 1, 2015

DEC’s Responses To Essex Chain Plan Comments

Polaris Bridge and the Upper Hudson (courtesy Protect the Adirodnacks)At its November meeting, the Adirondack Park Agency voted 8-2 to approve a controversial management plan for the Essex Chain Lakes Complex, finding that it conforms to the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan.

Some observers contend that the plan violates both the State Land Master Plan and the state Wild, Scenic and Recreational Rivers Act. Three major issues are:

  • Retention of the Polaris Bridge over the Hudson River for use by snowmobiles.
  • Construction of a new bridge over the Cedar River.
  • Allowing bicycles in the Essex Chain Lakes Primitive Area.

But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Environmental advocates, sportsmen, and members of the general public have raised many more issues, such as the appropriateness of creating a new snowmobile trail between Indian Lake and Newcomb, the appropriateness of allowing floatplanes to land on certain lakes, and whether historical buildings should be preserved or torn down.

» Continue Reading.


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