Posts Tagged ‘State Land Master Plan’

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Hearing Set On Hurricane, St. Regis Mtn Fire Towers

Hurricane-mtn-Fire-Tower-Phil-Brown-PhotoThe Proposed Final Drafts of the Hurricane Mountain and St. Regis Mountain Fire Tower Historic Area Unit Management Plans (UMPs) were presented by New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) staff to the Adirondack Park Agency (APA) Board at their monthly meeting on February 14, 2014. Pursuant to the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan (SLMP) requirements for Historic Areas, the Agency will hold a public hearing on Wednesday, March 12, 2014 to solicit public comments related to the proposed UMPs’ conformity with the provisions of the SLMP.

The Hurricane Mountain Fire Tower Historic Area is located on the Summit of Hurricane Mountain in the Town of Keene, Essex County. The St. Regis Mountain Fire Tower Historic Area is located on the summit of St. Regis Mountain in the Town of Santa Clara, Franklin County. » Continue Reading.



Monday, December 16, 2013

Classifications Require Rule Changes

FULL SIZE - APA Essex Chain Lakes Recommendation MapFor 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.



Friday, December 13, 2013

APA Approves Finch, Pruyn Classifications:
Hudson Gorge Wilderness, Motorless Essex Chain Lakes

FULL SIZE - APA Essex Chain Lakes Recommendation MapThe 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.

» Continue Reading.



Friday, December 6, 2013

NYCO Mining Amendment: Fact And Fiction

800px-2013_Adirondack_Land_Exchange_MapLast month, voters in New York State approved Proposition 5, which amends Article 14 of the New York Constitution to potentially allow exploratory drilling and mining by a private mining company, NYCO, on two hundred acres of Forest Preserve lands (Lot 8) in the Jay Mountain Wilderness Area.  The amendment authorizes a potential land swap from NYCO that, in theory, will compensate the people of the state for the loss of two hundred wilderness acres, and further requires that Lot 8 ultimately be “remediated” and returned to state ownership.

In the months leading up to the vote and in the weeks since its passage, Prop 5 has stirred intense and at times acrimonious debate.  Unfortunately, the debate has tended to obscure rather than shed light on what Prop 5 really authorizes and what this novel amendment might mean for the future of “forever wild.” Here is some fact and fiction about Prop 5: » Continue Reading.



Thursday, November 21, 2013

Peter Bauer: Backroom Land Classification Decisions

Essex ChainThe current Forest Preserve classification process underway at the Adirondack Park Agency (APA) for the new lands around the Essex Chain Lakes and the Hudson River is likely go down as the worst administered process in the 40-year history of the APA. Since the close of the public hearing in mid-July, the APA leadership has openly subverted state law and moved decision making from an open and transparent public forum to a smokeless backroom.

The process has gone awry. The train has run off the tracks. This is evidenced by four recent events: » Continue Reading.



Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Backcountry Skiers Continue Push For Glades

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI overslept yesterday, so rather than cheat my employer out of a few hours of labor, I decided to take the day off and ski the Whiteface Mountain Veterans Memorial Highway.

It was my first ski of the season. November 12th isn’t my earliest start to the ski season, but I was feeling pretty good about it.

Not surprisingly, I ran into Ron Konowitz, president of the Adirondack Powder Skier Association. It was Ron’s thirteenth day on skis.

We talked for several minutes about the association’s campaign to maintain ski glades in the Forest Preserve. Adirondack Almanack reported on this initiative back in May. Since then, the association has been meeting with environmental activists and government officials to drum up support.

» Continue Reading.



Tuesday, October 22, 2013

DEC Seeks Comments on Fire Tower Historic Areas

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has released the draft unit management plans (UMPs) for the Hurricane Mountain Fire Tower Historic Area and the Saint Regis Mountain Fire Tower Historic Area.  The UMPs contain management proposals for the fire observation towers located on the summit of Hurricane Mountain in the Town of Keene, Essex County, and the summit of Saint Regis Mountain in the Town of Santa Clara, Franklin County.

The Hurricane Mountain fire tower was discontinued for use as a fire observation station in 1979, and the Saint Regis Mountain fire tower was shut down in 1990. Both structures have been closed to the public ever since.  The UMPs propose to restore the two fire towers to a condition that will accommodate full public access of the structures and include interpretive materials related to the towers’ history. » Continue Reading.



Wednesday, October 9, 2013

New State Lands: The Ecological Case for Wilderness

Essex ChainThe recent acquisition by the State of New York of the former Finch-Pruyn/Nature Conservancy lands means many things to many people. While economic, social, and political implications fuel many of the broader conversations occurring over these lands, these issues tend to drown out the quieter voice of the land itself.

Any visitor to the North Country knows that wild places are anything but silent, from the ever persistent hum of the mosquito, to the chittering call of the hunting kingfisher, to the push and pull of the wind through the forested hillsides. At the Adirondack Council we pay attention to these sounds, or more specifically, to the scientist and professionals who study how wild places and wild things are ecologically connected, and incorporate this critical input into our decision making process. » Continue Reading.



Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Gibson: Make Protection, Preservation of New Lands Paramount

Essex ChainWhen the Adirondack Park Agency  was reviewing the Adirondack Club and Resort in 2011, board member Richard Booth encouraged APA staff to put all of the most important legal and other considerations from the hearing record on the table early in the review process. Avoid having Agency members get buried in minutia was his advice because it is easy for a board to get overwhelmed by a lot of presentation data, or to assume they know the most important factors and considerations when, in fact, they may not. » Continue Reading.



Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Bill Ingersoll:
Don’t Rush To Judgement On New State Lands

Essex ChainThe Adirondack Park Agency (APA) has issued a set of seven potential classification schemes and is inviting public comments on these proposals. But the process that I am seeing strongly resembles a horserace, with numerous groups and individuals “voting” based on recreational affinity: paddlers pushing for motorless waterways that are accessed by motor vehicle roads, bike enthusiasts advocating for whatever gives them access, snowmobilers pushing for snowmobile trails, and so forth.

The problem is that the new lands are so new that very few people have had the opportunity to visit them. The APA is essentially asking the public to comment on a sight unseen basis. Therefore, as someone who has also not yet visited the Essex Chain, I cast my “vote” for the following classification alternative: NONE OF THE ABOVE » Continue Reading.



Thursday, May 30, 2013

DEC: Skiers Face Uphill Battle For Glades In Preserve

Ron Konowitz skis on Lyon MountainBackcountry skiers who want the state to allow them to maintain ski glades on Lyon Mountain face an uphill battle, but it might be said that those who “earn their turns” are used to uphill battles.

At a public meeting in Saranac last week, several skiers said the glades on Lyon offer some of the best backcountry skiing in the Adirondack Park.

“We’re not looking to cut down mature forest; we’re looking to maintain what’s already there,” said Dean Schneller, a lawyer representing the Adirondack Powder Skier Association. » Continue Reading.



Monday, March 11, 2013

Designing the Park: Updating APA Regulations

Averyville-2As the proposed Adirondack Club & Resort in Tupper Lake wound its way through the approval process, two planning consultants separately recommended in 2008 that the Adirondack Park Agency (APA) require clustering of homes in the backcountry. Under a draft clustering policy written by one consultant, the resort’s “Great Camp” estates would have consumed 280 acres of forest instead of 2,800 acres.

“The same number of homes could have been constructed, but the project would have been largely concentrated near the [Big Tupper] ski area,” said Jeff Lacy, a consultant in Shutesbury, Mass., who proposed the policy on behalf of the Adirondack Council.  “My guess is it would be under construction today rather than under review by a court.” » Continue Reading.



Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Peter Bauer: The Unbearable Wrongness of Will Doolittle

Moose River PLains Road Signs (Dave Gibson Photo)Will Doolittle’s column in the Post Star (“Protecting their Preferences” February 28, 2013) gets a lot of things wrong – really wrong.

We all know that Doolittle is antagonistic towards Adirondack Park environmental groups, but this column sets a new standard for careless editorializing. » Continue Reading.



Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Backcountry: A New State Land Designation?

Six Rivers Overview Map (Bill Ingersoll Proposal)Ever since the state announced that it had closed on its purchase of the Essex Chain of Lakes and sections of the Hudson River — part of the property formerly owned by Finch Pruyn — there has been much preliminary discussion for how these lands should be classified under the State Land Master Plan (SLMP). What you are about to read is one more such proposal. This one, though, is not from the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) or any conservation group. Rather, it is my own personal, independent proposal. » Continue Reading.



Monday, February 25, 2013

Why PROTECT Is Going To Court Over Connector Trail

MRP-Snowmobile-Trail-3Why PROTECT is suing the state over its policy, design and construction of new road-like snowmobile trails

Protect the Adirondacks has started a new lawsuit against the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and Adirondack Park Agency (APA) to challenge recent snowmobile policy and trail construction practices in the Adirondack Forest Preserve. » Continue Reading.



Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Essex Chain of Lakes and the State Land Master Plan

Third Lake, Essex ChainThe Department of Environmental Conservation has recommended that the new Forest Preserve acquisition at the Essex Chain of Lakes be classified Wild Forest, while the Upper Hudson River just to the east become part of a river corridor Wilderness. Several organizations previously submitted ideas for how these landscapes should be classified.

The APA is now charged with preparing classification documents for 18,000-acres comprising the Essex Chain of Lakes, and Upper Hudson tracts. Those classification documents will be subject to the State Environmental Quality Review Act and must involve public hearings and a public comment period. It will prove most interesting to see if APA acts with the independence it has in law, respects the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan, and acts contrary to DEC recommendations on the Essex Chain of Lakes. » Continue Reading.



Friday, January 25, 2013

Phil Brown: Mountain Bikes and Wilderness

essex map croppedGenerally, I regard the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan as a sound document, but when it comes to mountain bikes I have some qualms. It seems to pit environmentalists against bikers, and the bikers I know consider themselves environmentalists.

I thought of this while reviewing the state’s proposals for the classification and management of the former Finch, Pruyn & Company lands.

The state Department of Environmental Conservation is recommending that bikers be allowed to ride on a network of dirt roads in the Essex Chain of Lakes area and on the access road to the Boreas Ponds Tract (known as Gulf Brook Road). » Continue Reading.



Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Upland Development: Highlands At Risk

Upland Development: Highlands At RiskIn a field bordered by forested hills and rocky ridges, Dan Plumley unfurled a zoning map of the Adirondack Park. The color-coded map was a reminder of how much private land lay before him, and how potentially fleeting the natural views from Marcy Field could be.

He pointed to a bald patch on Corliss Point above the valley, where lights from a house inconspicuous by day blaze into a flying saucer at night, one of many signs that growth in the backcountry is creeping higher.

“Hundreds of thousands of people drive by on this road every year,” said Plumley, gesturing toward Route 73. “They see this view and think it will always be there. I’m here to say that the way this land-use plan is being implemented, the transcendental beauty and ecological integrity of this scene is in jeopardy.” » Continue Reading.



Thursday, July 12, 2012

Popular Boat Launch Overhaul Planned Near High Peaks

The Adirondack Park Agency (APA) and the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) have announced a plan to update the popular Second Pond Boat Launch on Route 3 in Harrietstown, part of a 10.5-acre Intensive Use Area that provides key access to the Saranac Lakes. A part of the plan includes a land swap with the adjacent High Peaks Wilderness Area.

The DEC is planning to rebuild and expand the boat launch and resurface the parking area, including the addition of a new firewood storage building, the removal of an old cabin, and the construction of a new registration booth and invasive species kiosk. According to press reports a boat washing station, considered important to prevent the spread of invasive species by boaters, was not included in the plan. » Continue Reading.



Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Dave Gibson: Authority to Protect the Backcountry

I write in praise of the scope and content of Adirondack Explorer’s current lead article “The Future of Open Space” by Phil Brown, but wish to add emphasis to one very important aspect. The article rightly notes that “it is vital to have an APA staff and board willing to use their authority to protect the backcountry.”

Attempts to strengthen or change APA laws and regulations that protect the open spaces of the park are for naught if APA lacks the will to use the legal tools available to it. That was the case with Adirondack Club and Resort (ACR), where APA had plenty of legal authority, but lacked the courage to deny ACR, greatly modify the project, or reopen the hearing to obtain evidence missing in the hearing. » Continue Reading.



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