Thursday, June 19, 2014

Comments Sought On Snowmobile Trails, New State Lands

Essex Chain CampsitesIncreased 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.

The Draft UMP proposes to:

allow mountain bike use on select roads within the complex that are used by lessees;
allow seasonal motorized access to the Chain Lakes Road South and Camp Six Road for big game hunting;
construct public parking near Fourth and Fifth Lakes, including parking for persons with disabilities;
designate canoe carries; and
construct a bridge over the Cedar River for hiking, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing and equestrian use.

“The projects described in these two plans will provide a significant increase in outdoor recreational opportunities for the public and economic opportunities for the nearby Adirondack communities,” DEC Commissioner Joe Martens said in a statement to the press. “Improved access will allow the public to camp, mountain bike, horseback ride, paddle, fish, hunt and snowmobile in a manner that preserves the unique resources of these areas. At the same time, visitors to these areas will be able to enjoy the amenities of the communities that serve as gateways to these lands and waters. Governor Cuomo and DEC are committed to providing quality outdoor recreational experiences on Adirondack Forest Preserve lands and improving the Adirondack economy while continuing to protect the vast and precious natural resources of the region.”

Connector Trail Preferred RouteA portion of the 85,058-acre Vanderwhacker Mountain Wild Forest, located in the towns of Minerva and Newcomb in Essex County, is the focus of the Draft Trail Plan. The Draft Trail Plan also serves as an amendment to the Vanderwhacker Mountain Wild Forest UMP, the Camp Santanoni Historic Area UMP, and the Lake Harris Public Campground UMP.

The Draft Trail Plan proposes locations for multiple-use trails between the communities of Newcomb, Minerva and North Hudson, as well as connecting to the recently acquired state lands in the vicinity of the Hudson River. The Draft Trail Plan also proposes the construction of a bridge over Palmer Pond outlet and the designation of campsites in the vicinity of Great Camp Santanoni and the Hudson River near Northwoods Club Road.

Both the Draft UMP and the Draft Trail Plan also serve as the Draft Environmental Impact Statements for the proposed actions in compliance to the State Environmental Quality Review Act.

The Draft UMP is available for viewing and downloading on DEC’s website. The Draft Trail Plan is also available on the DEC website.

Comments on the Draft UMP and Draft Trail Plan may be sent to Josh Clague at NYSDEC, 625 Broadway, 5th Floor, Albany, NY 12233-4254 or e-mailed to Comments should include the full name of the Draft UMP and the Draft Trail Plan in the subject line.


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64 Responses

  1. Paul says:

    It is interesting there are units that we have owned for a long period of time that don’t have UMPs. This land is brand new and they are working on it like crazy. I wonder how they prioritize things?

    • Paul says:

      This isn’t really accurate. I should have looked at their list again. There are a few that are not complete. I think they are supposed to be updated every 5 years they are way behind in that regard. Not sure why this is really necessary?

  2. Bill Ingersoll says:

    I realize that the article above is simply a copy of DEC’s press release, so I’m not accusing anybody of bad journalism here…

    However, it lists a whole bunch of benefits included in the Essex Chain UMP, but completely skips all sorts of things that I have no doubt will be controversial… once people actually take the time to read the plan on learn what DEC is contemplating:

    –Requiring permits for camping
    –Banning campfires
    –Campsites reserved exclusively for floatplanes
    –A $300,000 bridge over a remote portion of the Cedar River, a structure so big that it would need to be built with a crane… and it doesn’t even resolve the question of where the snowmobile trail will go

    I’m not against backcountry camping permits in the Adirondacks–DEC should be implementing such a system in the eastern High Peaks. Nor am I against campfire bans in places where the demand for firewood outpaces the supply.

    But having perused this plan today, all I can say is that the state is creating a whole bunch of management issues for the Essex Chain by trying to provide motorized access for everybody and their grandmother… and then going through a whole lot of trouble to mitigate the impacts of having all those people trampling the area.

    The easier solution is to simply do what has been done with many other part of the Forest Preserve:


    There is more than one way to “access” state land, even for the disabled. Make people walk in and work up a sweat. Let outfitters cart people in by wagon, like they do at Camp Santanoni. The type of camping pressure that DEC is apparently expecting will disappear, and you won’t need permits or a campfire ban… because all of a sudden the level of use will be brought in line with the carrying capacity. The lakes will still be free and available for everybody, but you’ll just have to apply a little bit of healthy physical effort to get there.

    • John Warren says:

      Hi Bill,

      Thanks for pointing out these issues. This post is meant to be a first look at the plan. We’ll no doubt have some reporting on this in the near future.

      John Warren

      • Wally says:

        I don’t get it. Someone dislikes this comment! What the hell is there to dislike? You don’t want more reporting?

    • Bill Ingersoll says:

      As I said, I wasn’t accusing anyone of poor journalism, just pointing out that DEC’s press release was a prime example of sugarcoating! It deliberately avoided all mention of everything controversial.


    • Justin says:

      Hmm… close the roads… so fewer of us can have a greater impact?

      I have seen the campfire impacts DEC describes in the draft UMP in Wilderness areas, miles from roads.

      I think it’s great that DEC is taking some real steps forward to reduce impact, proactively, BEFORE the problems arise.

      As for numbers of visitors and the ease of access, the more people who can experience these places, the more people are likely to advocate for them and future potential acquisitions.

      I think we need to accept the fact that if we want more Forest Preserve, we are going to have to share it, and we are going to need to tolerate some degree of degradation.

      We need to support DECs efforts to reduce the impact of opening these places up to the public.

      • RWG says:

        I love the Five Ponds Wilderness, but if I want to visit, I have to accept the challenge of a long paddle and hike to get in. By your way of thinking, the DEC should cut a road from Inlet so people can drive in. How about a cable car up Dix Mountain, or Cascade? It would give a big boost to access and open up the experience to a lot of people. Maybe they’ll vote for the next land exchange.

        Sometimes, quiet places just need to be left as quiet as possible. For the life of me, I can’t understand why float planes would be allowed here. This is not remote Alaska or the Yukon. Limit the road access to a reasonable distance. People can hike in. Buy a canoe cart. If you have to double your carry, so be it. You’ll live.

        Requiring permits for water body camping is also a horrible idea. I hope they kill that one before it takes root and spreads. Typically on a canoe trip, I’ll travel to 2 or 3 different campsites over the span of an 8 or 9 day trip. Requiring permits will severely limit the freedom of visitors to travel and explore the area, being stuck with whatever site may be available at the time the permit is issued, dictating the number of nights you can stay, and prohibiting moving to another site if desired.

        • Justin says:

          My way of thinking is that if we actually are concerned about preventing the degradation of these areas, we all need to sacrifice a little and accept some very reasonable measures to reduce our own impacts.

          • Woody says:

            Great argument! Let’s all “sacrifice a little and accept some very reasonable measures to reduce our own impacts” by closing the roads as others have suggested. I’m pretty sure that’s not what you meant, but you couldn’t of made the case any better! I want a sense of seclusion in my outdoor experience. Why go through all the trouble of driving up to Newcomb, and then down miles and miles of back roads, just to paddle from one parking lot to the next? I have not read DEC’s plan, but it sounds like their turning the Essex Lakes into the next party spot. Unless they plan to hire additional Rangers to enforce all these fancy new regs, then none of it makes a difference. Turn the roads into trails, ask that people walk in the 2miles or what ever to the water, and turn the lakes into an easy hiking destination. The people who would rather drive than walk can choose to walk, or they can choose to drive to Lake Harris.

            • Justin says:

              Personally, I’d love to see the roads closed. I made that clear to the APA during their comment period.

              But even if the roads were closed, there is no doubt that these regulations would help keep these lands in better shape than if they weren’t imposed.

              Its disappointing but not terribly surprising that some who love visiting relatively pristine areas object to being asked to take reasonable measures to help keep them pristine.

            • Bill Ingersoll says:


              Since your original comment was apparently directed at mine, I’ll point you to this key paragraph that you apparently missed:

              “I’m not against backcountry camping permits in the Adirondacks–DEC should be implementing such a system in the eastern High Peaks. Nor am I against campfire bans in places where the demand for firewood outpaces the supply.”

              If you had read my comment, then perhaps your reaction might have been somewhat less sarcastic. Step one in minimizing human impacts: close the roads. Let people decide for themselves how badly they need to see the Essex Chain. If overuse and degradation persists, then we’ll have ourselves a situation.

              • Justin says:


                I read that and inferred that you support those restrictions elsewhere (” the eastern High Peaks” and “in places where the firewood outpaces the supply”), but oppose them here. Is that incorrect and you do in fact support fire restrictions and camping permit system for the Essex Chain?

                If so, I apologize for my first line noting the apparent contradiction of calling for one measure to reduce impact at the Essex Chain, while objecting to others.This doesn’t make much sense if protection is your top priority, although it does make sense if a certain recreational experience is.

                Like I said above, I too would have liked to see more roads closed. There’s no doubt that it would be a blunt and easy way to reduce impact as long as numbers are low. However, I think our opportunity to fruitfully argue for that (the APA classification process) has passed, and it is time to focus on other ways of reducing impact… before the problems arise.

              • Bill Ingersoll says:

                What I think is that closing the roads would obviate much of the need for the permits and the fire ban. Period. Bad classification decisions can and should be reversed. In fact, the Essex Chain’s classification is 99.9% guaranteed to be revisited because no single SLMP classification allowed all the uses that APA and DEC wanted to allow. Primitive was as close as they could get. They plan to revise the master plan to expand the allowable uses for this area. No joke.

                I see no public issues with the Essex Chain that aren’t being encouraged and caused by DEC, so I have no sympathy whatsoever with their proposed solutions. Campsite crowding and degradation are symptoms of overuse, which is a severe management issue. Permits and bans merely address the symptoms, not the cause. I do not support management methods that address the symptoms of an issue while aggravating the cause at the same time.

                There used to be a sign in Boonville NY that explained what “DEC” stands for: “Destroy Environment Completely.” That sign was about a landfill, but it seems to apply here. The Essex Chain UMP has been rushed, it lacks required information, and it ignores a century’s worth of experience in managing the Forest Preserve. The only thing DEC could have done more wrong was to propose a lean-to within sight of one of Matt Sisti’s roads.

                Regardless, I would be VERY surprised if the camping permit idea survived very long. There is a strong culture of resistance to this idea in the Adirondacks, despite the evidence of permit systems working in wilderness areas across the country. People would be wary of a successful permit system south of Newcomb, out of fear that it might spread to those hills north of Newcomb. Therefore the permit idea may already be DOA.

                • Matt Sisti says:

                  Bill, we should meet face to face. We might be surprised to find we have more in common than we think. Rather than toss barbs back and forth let’s have a cup of coffee and share our differing perspectives . I live about 5 miles from south Trenton in Marcy. My email is.

                • Justin says:

                  Bill, there is no reason whatsoever why you can’t continue to oppose the roads, while supporting these very sensible measures to reduce impact. Roads or no roads, if these rules were in place, the area would be in much better condition than if they were not.

                  It would be great if you would support these rules to reduce impact (while continuing to strongly oppose the roads), rather than fueling the “strong culture of resistance” that prioritizes certain recreational experiences over environmental protection.

    • Matt Sisti says:


      I wish I had more time to give a more detailed response but I have a full time job so time is a fleeting asset of mine. I’ve always respected your opinion and even when I disagree I felt your remarks were well thought. I cant say that here. Your remark in caps was just plain silly and reeked of out of touch eco-elitism. First off, I should state that I’m very fit and capable of visiting these beautiful new lands but I’m said to report that not everyone is capable to “work up a sweat” as you say it and therefore might miss the opportunity to see what they just bought.

      Not only were my taxes used to buy this property so were my 84 year old dads and my neighbor with CP. I’m guessing a few others that arent as fortunate to have the time and ability to walk their dog in the Adirondacks and then write about it would feel the same. I should also mention I own land in Newcomb, just built a house and I can assure you the vast majority of my neighbors would welcome easier access so that visitors might stop by a local establishment and spend their money. Bill, you have many admirers of your work (I being one of them). For this reason, more than others, you have a responsibility to make responsible and well thought remarks. I would expect nothing less.

      • dave says:

        “Not only were my taxes used to buy this property so were my 84 year old dads and my neighbor with CP.”

        This idea, that anything paid for with tax dollars should be accessible to everyone who pays taxes, is one that comes up often in these Adirondack land use debates.

        I always found it an odd position to take, and a bit condescending to those with disabilities and physical challenges.

        Odd because we don’t apply this thinking to other tax dollar expenditures. It takes only a few moments of thought to come up with a near infinite amount of examples where applying that line of thinking would be absurd.

        And while It seems like your heart is in the right place, I find it a bit condescending and misguided to assume that the elderly and disabled do not value and appreciate remote wilderness and are not also looking to experience it.

        I assure you, driving up a road to an area in the woods that anyone else can drive to is NOT a wilderness experience. This is something that can be done in hundreds, thousands, of places in the park already.

        If you are really concerned about those with mobility disabilities, instead of ruining the wilderness experience for everyone – including them – why not promote ways to help them truly experience it? How about proposing that we create and maintain properly graded trails that can be accessed by those who utilize non-motorized mobility assistance?

        • Matt Sisti says:

          Dave, I’m admittedly confused by your reply. Where did I suggest that ” the elderly and disabled do not value and appreciate remote wilderness and are not also looking to experience it”. We’re you referring to my post? If so, you have conjured up something from left field. I’m not only seeking access for those that would have a difficult time…I’m also seeking easier access so that the local community can capitalize to their benefit. Join me on a brief imaginary trip to the Essex Chain. “Boy Dave, that was tough pulling our canoe cart filled with all our gear for that mile.” “Yeah Matt, sure was…but were here for three days, isnt it beautiful.” “Sure is Dave, glad we brought in our own little grill, our cooler of beer and all that food cause I’m not making that out and back walk to visit the Newcomb House Bar and Grill.” “Damn straight Matt, we have this place to our own, let’s enjoy.”

          Dave, do you kinda see my point. It’s not just access for old folks, or folks with disabilities. It’s a bigger picture you and others need to get in your viewfinder

    • Bill Ingersoll says:

      Sorry, that’s my final opinion. The problems anticipated by this UMP could eliminated (rather than mitigated) by simply closing the gates. We’re not talking about some inaccessible wilderness here; the peripheral roads come within a mile or two of the lakes–and you don’t need to be an Olympic athlete to cover distance like that. No one gets shut out except the lazy. Some outfitter might even make a few bucks hauling people in by wagon.

      • Matt Sisti says:

        Hmmm, Not the most forward thinking on your part. “No one gets shut out except the lazy”. Also, so nice to think of the outfitter who can make money hauling lazy carcasses in. I’m a bit surprised at you. You’ve been so involved in the Adirondacks. Shouldn’t you evolve?

      • Bill Ingersoll says:

        Advocating for roadless wild areas IS forward thinking. Note that this my conviction. I hold tight to these beliefs to satisfy my conscience, not yours. If you like DEC’s proposals, tell them that, not me. I’m not interested.

        Close the damn roads!

        • Matt Sisti says:

          Thanks for the well thought and open minded reply. Just what we need . More decisions based upon satisfying individual conscious . No need to reply further. Who you are is perfectly clear

        • Bill Ingersoll says:

          I’m flattered if you think I’m a “decision maker” in this process, but I’m just a private citizen who is just as entitled to an opinion as anyone else. Take a good look in the mirror before you start insinuating anyone who doesn’t think the way you do is not open-minded. We all act on personal biases and assumptions, without exception. I wouldn’t be very good at what I do if I changed my personal views and convictions every time someone I never met disagreed with me on the internet.

          So I’ll say it again:


          And yes, I do plan to make the same suggestion to DEC in the form of a comment letter. This UMP creates its own problems, and then suggests a whole bunch of heavy-handed regulations to mitigate them. The only things that DEC forgot to propose banning were glass bottles.

  3. Paul says:

    It sounded like the camping permits would have to be purchased 10 days in advance and they cannot be reserved online (at least according to the DEC guy talking to the APA at their last meeting). You have to buy them in Newcomb or maybe in Ray Brook. This is not gonna spark a lot of camping business in there or for businesses in Newcomb looking to cater to campers passing through. Maybe it would mean more businesses for lodges there but are there many?

    As far as the bridge it is probably one that you can fly in with a helicopter and place it when it is brought in.

    I disagree with the close the roads idea, but there certainly are issues not described here that will ruffle feathers of a lot of different birds.

    In defense of the Almanack there is a link here to the DEC’s UMP that fully describes all this.

    • Paul says:

      According to the “preferred” plan you can reserve a site over the phone by calling Newcomb. They are working with the ESF folks there.

      It looks like close to a half mile carry to get a boat to deer pond. There are no launches that you can drive right up to on any ponds in the chain.

      This will certainly help to discourage any single parents who want to take their small kids on a paddling trip to camp in there. So at least you don’t have to worry about too much of that activity.

  4. Jim S. says:

    It strikes me as too convenient to camp in what is a primitive area. Close the roads and make it less accessible for people interested in beer parties.

    • Paul says:

      Why do they draft a UMP that does not show where the “30” camp sites will be in the primitive area and then they close the comment period (July 18) before you have any idea what is going to be where?

  5. Paul says:

    It will be interesting to see how the campfire prohibitions might affect the use of the area. Many people just love to have a campfire in the woods. You can’t hardly find an old picture of and adirondack campsite with out a fire burning night or day! I think that many folks may prefer to visit the St. Regis Canoe Area rather than this area just fort this reason. Time will tell. Imagine the Philosopher’s Camp on Follensby without a fire. They just would have gone to bed an not talked philosophy I guess!

    • Justin says:

      They also hacked down small live trees for the frames of their shelters, stripped sheets of bark off of big live trees for their roofs and walls, shot pretty much anything using whatever tactic they wanted (hounds, jacklighting), and kept every fish they caught!

      I’m glad those days are relegated to old paintings.

  6. Jim S. says:

    What sort of details are available concerning the parking area by Fourth and Fifth lakes?

  7. Dan'l says:

    Here are links to the PR and both plans….

  8. John Warren says:


    Please be sure to send your comments to DEC if you want the DEC staff to know your concerns.

  9. Jan Hansen says:

    All this talk of motorized vs non motorized access to the Essex Chain is all well and good, but as it stands right now, there is no motorized access for the public to the Essex Chain. The gate has been locked and will continue to be locked until the State or the Town of Newcomb or whoever fixes the road to the parking area. This is frustrating to say the least. This fabulous resource is once again locked to the public.
    Mr Ingersoll, hauling a canoe 4-5 miles down a road is not my idea of fun.

    • Bill Ingersoll says:

      If you’re hauling a canoe 4 or 5 miles to the Essex Chain, then that’s your own fault, even if the gates into state land are closed. It would not even be half that long from the nearest potential trailhead on the surrounding easement lands.

    • Matt Sisti says:

      Jan , I fully agree. Well stated. You clearly understand that our world is made up of people with varying degrees of ability and time . You also appear to recognize the concerns of the local community. There are out of touch people that feels the solution is to simply CLOSE THE GATE. Perhaps less time walking dogs and more time with people would change their perspective

    • troutstalker says:

      Where is your sense of adventure? Part of the fun is the portaging experience. You sound like the lazy people mentioned in these threads.You must be one of those county club campers that need a cooler full of beer to make it FUN! Part of your fun should be in the planningof your trip and how to lighten your pack! I’m 66 years young and planning to do the 740 mile Northern Forest Canoe Trail with 55 miles of portaging. You can’t do two miles? STAY HOME!! CLOSE THE DAMN ROADS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  10. Paul says:

    Several environmental groups made the mistake of trying to advocate for these areas as economic engines for the local communities. For that to be realistic the use of the areas has to be extensive. And that extensive use is going to lead to management challenges.

    You can’t argue that we need to buy these areas to make them accessible to lots of people and then once we do buy them argue that we need to make them less accessible?

    The population is aging, that is just plain demographics that every tourist destination has to come to grips with. On the positive it means that folks have more time, and in many cases more money to spend. But on the negative they are going to seek out things that are fun and possible.

    Even if a carry is a half mile that discourages a very large portion of your possible market. It will also lead you to lose some family visits where they can’t make multiple trips dragging stuff and kids and boats at the same time. Most 5 year olds cannot carry a boat! (I could of course but I was legendary in the Adirondacks!).

    Folks can argue here now that things should be as restrictive as possible but it will poison the well for the next deal.

    If I was a outfitter working on the St. Regis Chain I would not be as worried about losing business given this UMP.

    • Woody says:

      So… the population is aging, we need to come to grips with the demographics, and open up the roads to wild places so that folks too infirm to hike a couple miles any more can still enjoy the woods like they did when they were younger… when they could travel longer distances to find peace & quiet… and perhaps griped that 4wheelers and snow machines were intruding on their solitude.

      By extension we should cut funding for schools and increase spending on retirement homes and Bingo halls. The kids are just gonna leave anyway when they grow up, so why waste time & money trying to educate them and trying to create places where they can play.

      I can remember when these new land deals were made with future generations in mind. If the older people of the day new they would never get to these places, that was ok because their kids or grandkids would go there. All this hubbub over the Essex Lakes being about sharing is a fantasy. Todays older generation is saying “this is ours. If we can’t drive in then we’re cut out. You kids are elitist. No one in their right mind wants to walk that far!

      As for the families that you dream are gonna want to visit the Essex Lakes… is there a Waterpark in newcomb? An ice cream stand at the parking lot so they can get a treat after the bonding adventure with Dad? Newcomb has to import students from other countries to keep it’s school district running, so its a stretch to say that families are going to flock here now that the State has opened up some long dead-end roads into the middle of the sticks, miles and miles from other family friendly attractions. If others made claims like that, don’t blame me for it. I’m just using common sense here.

      So lets just admit that the folks who will be most attracted to a place like this are the younger people who want a little bit of adventure, not parking lots at every place and a laundry list of restrictions. Just because your fit and under 50 doesn’t make you elite. It just makes you a normal able bodied person.

      • Paul says:

        My point was simply – don’t sell the transaction as being a big draw for tourist dollars if you don’t want to attract the largest growing segment of the population. If you want to tailor the plan to draw a shrinking segment of the population that is another option. But maybe not one that will keep tourist dependent towns on the maps in future generations.

        • John Warren says:

          Paul uses one straw man to prop up another straw man in order to defeat a third straw man.

          He should open a scarecrow stand.

        • Woody says:

          So where are these “future generations” going to come from if you scare off the younger folks by telling them their elitist for wanting places to hike and bike? If that segment of the population is shrinking like you say then you don’t write them off by focusing only on the AARP crowd who suddenly feel like they need roads every where. You do things that improve the quality of life for younger folks by giving them physical challenges to meet and overcome. Create a party spot by opening roads to a remote area with no law inforcement and you just attract beer parties.

          • Paul says:

            Who said that the younger folks were “elitist”? Not me. And the idea here is not needing roads everywhere but simply not having a carry to the first pond. Old and young can use the landing? Focus on both “crowds”. I am not favoring one over the other. The younger ones can carry farther in.

            • Woody says:

              Do you even read your own posts?

              The idea is not to have any “crowds” at all, because “crowds” will give the lakes a bad rep and drive the folks who just want peace and quiet away. Newcomb doesn’t have a cop, and no one hear has said that any new Rangers are being hired to police this place, so it seems to me that focusing on “crowds” is the wrong way to go.

              It would be one thing if the Essex lakes touched a public road that anyone could drive to anyway. But they are back in a ways, so if done right this could be a place to get away from it all. Shutting the gates and asking people to walk in a mile or 2 is not that much to ask for. If the lakes are that good folks will want to go there. Look at all the people who go to Pharoh Lk over near Brant.

              Your argument makes it sound like someone is going to close down the Fulton chain to tourists, so we need to open up new places for people to drive to. The sight see-ers who need to drive everywhere can do that all ready, right? Isn’t the idea with these land purchases to protect places that are supposed to be harder to get to?

              • Paul says:

                Isn’t the idea with these land purchases to protect places that are supposed to be harder to get to?”

                I don’t think it is in this case. The deal was marketed as something that was going to have a substantial economic impact on the local area. Hard to do that without attracting a crowd.

                In this particular case we have bought a parcel of land that has an extensive network of roads. I guess you can argue that we are now supposed to make them harder to get to?

                • Woody says:

                  Then take up your issue with Cuomo, because that came from him. He’s the type of governor who thinks everything in NYS is broken and needs him to fix it . He arrived while the purchase was already in progress and started tying the land deal to the economy. This all started back in 2007 when Spitzer was gov. Remember him?

                  And as for buying a parcel of land with a road network, the solution has all ready been suggested. Close them to vehicles, make them trails. Very easy to do. People will still be able to get to the lakes. They just might get a little sweaty tho. It happens all the time.

                  I have seen google, but thanks for pointing it out. I see roads all over the place. Not sure what your looking at. It seems to me that people need to dive to a destination have plenty of options.

                  • Paul says:

                    Woody, that didn’t start with a visit from the governor. Many environmental groups specifically argued that these purchases would have a significant impact on the tourism economy. That contention is probably correct, but to have a significant impact you gotta have significant use. I don’t see any other way around it other than limiting use which seems to take you full circle to no less economic impact.

                    And as for buying a parcel of land with a road network, the solution has all ready been suggested.” There is no need for a solution when there really isn’t a problem.

                    • Woody says:

                      Some of the groups started mentioning the economy when Cuomo did. I guess they probably know who butters their bread. Before that they wanted a wilderness area. Since your so fond of google, search for the term “wild rivers wilderness.”

              • Paul says:

                Take a look at google maps there are far more waterbodies in the Adirondacks that have no road access than there are ones that do. There simply is not a shortage of places to paddle where you have to carry your boat to get to them.

                • Paul says:

                  “Some of the groups started mentioning the economy when Cuomo did.”

                  I don’t think that is accurate. These groups have been specifically talking about how additional Forest Preserve land is a boost to the tourist economy for years. In many cases the argument is that the Adirondacks may even have an advantage over other rural areas because of these public lands and their ability to attract visitors and residents. Like I said I think these are probably pretty good arguments on some level but how that land is managed is going to determine how much of an economic impact it will have.

                  Not a huge fan of Google. But I did as instructed and the top hit was a 24,000 acre “Wild Rivers Wilderness” in NH. I think you are referring to the idea proposed by the Adirondack Council back in the early 1990’s. I am aware of that idea. There was also a piece here on naming some of this land with that moniker and adding Paul Schafer to the label.


                  • Woody says:

                    Your mixing the value of the preserve with the value of the roads in the preserve. Its one thing to make the case that preserving land in its wild state benfits the economy, but what your talking about is the leap that these lands need to have roads, else they are useless.

                    Since you clearly struggle with facts, lets recap:

                    There was a proposal to make the Essex chain a roadless area going back to 1990, when Mario was gov. Only when Andrew started talking about the recreation and tourism value did some of these groups start compromising on the idea of roads in this roadless area. Wild Rivers was the council’s idea, but they were one of the orgs. that signed onto Cuomo’s press release to sing the praise of APA’s multi use classification. That sounds to me like they were influenced.

                    Oh and I love how facts are like clay to you, shape them as you wish. Heres another term to google: gish gallop. Best thing to do with you is ignore you, I guess.

                    • Paul says:

                      The fact that more users means more local economic impact is pretty straightforward. My personal preference here would have been for the land to have remained in private ownership protected from development by conservation easements and used by fewer people than if it were all classified as public Wilderness and opened up for much more use than it has had in the past. Now that we have convinced the local towns that this road is the one we wanted to go down (no pun intended) the land should probably be used by as many folks as possible. The young and the old and everyone in between.

                    • Woody says:

                      But whether more people will go there depends on how good the place is. Youv’e all ready invented a “fact” that green groups wre lobbying for roads here before Andrew Cuomo, when they were lobbying for aquisition for wilderness. Believe what ever props up your own beliefs best.

                      No one questions that people should use these new lands. The idiotic assumption is that by closing the roads your creating some kind of apartheid where certain people are barred from ever setting foot there. this is insane. Who ever wants to go can go. Some folks will decide the lakes aren’t worth the walk, and thats ok too. Its their choice not to go. Closing the road to cars will make the lakes seem more remote and enjoyable, and less crowded. No one is excluding anybody. With the roads all you get is a party spot. Then no one is happy.

  11. Paul says:

    John, his UMP does not appear to address anything about snowmobile trails so I am not sure that they are really seeking comment on “snowmobile trails” as you have in the title?

    It is mentioned only in one paragraph starting with this:

    “There are currently no snowmobile trails which exist or are proposed to be designated in the Complex UMP Area.”

    This will certainly prove to be somewhat controversial.

    • John Warren says:

      “Multi-Use Community Connectors” ARE snowmobile trails.

      Paul knows that, he’s just trying to confuse readers, his feeble contribution to an organized e-mail misinformation campaign in the past few days designed to outrage motorized access advocates.

      • Paul says:

        That is a fair point on the fact that there is a connector here that you could comment on but basically leaving out snowmobile use at this stage (which it seems the UMP does) kind of leaves that conversation for later.

        Not sure what your other comment is about?

      • Matt Sisti says:


        I read your posts on a regular basis and I’m troubled by your very aggressive stance with people whose opinion differs from you. Both Paul and Woody eloquently stated their arguments and although they agree to disagree they did so with apparent respect. I noted your two posts referred to Paul’s “feeble” attempt and earlier you had some strange reference to a scarecrow stand. John, really? I would have expected more from you. The fact is, the subject of access is near and dear to many people and they will defend their position. Wouldnt we all agree that the best solution often sits in between? Of course, some groups view any compromise as unacceptable. Well,anyway. John, lighten up.

        • John Warren says:

          Paul continues to lie and spread misinformation. He comments repeatedly – often many times on the same thread overwhelming others with multiple comments using either outright lies (for ONE example, last week’s claim that easement lands were Forever Wild) or in ways that are designed to confuse others (the snowmobile comment). Readers who have followed the Almanack know full well what Paul is up to, and many have called him out, while others simply ignore his concern trolling. You apparently let your politics persuade you to defend him against big bad John Warren, who you don’t know and have never met.

          If you have a legitimate argument to make against something I’ve actually said, feel free to express it. After all, I created Adirondack Almanack to allow people such as yourself the opportunity to be heard and discussion about these issues happens more here than anywhere else. I did not, however, create the Almanack to allow anonymous Paul from outside the region to spend all day attempting to misinform and confuse our readers. Paul has commented 1,633 times in the nearly 10 years I’ve been editing the Almanack, more than 1,400 times more than our most prolific contributor. Another moderator would have banned Paul a long time ago. Most news media in our area have banned commenting altogether for exactly the kind of abuses Paul exhibits repeatedly.

          While I appreciate your new-found interest in the Adirondack Almanack over the past year or so, your coming along lately on your high-horse decrying my use of “feeble contribution” would be hilarious, had it not been that a review of your 14 comments so far shows that indignation is your stock and trade.

          So save it for someone else.

          • Matt Sisti says:

            I dont know Paul, nor was i defending him. I was defending his right to exchange freely without drawing a slap from you and your minions. Since I’ve only read a handful of his posts I clearly lack the context of his arguments so if he has behaved badly on this board then my bad. As far as your remarks to me. I really dont have a new found interest, as you state, in the Adirondack Almanack but rather a lifelong interest in the Adiroondacks. My “politics” have nothing to do with my views on seeking proper balance in the park. As far as my 14 comments showing that indignation is my “stock and trade” I can not even fathom what you are referring to. My posts reflect who I am. Someone who respects others opinions even when they are not parallel to mine. Someone that seeks to act as a steward of these great lands (just as you do) but at the same time recognizes that man does have a place within it. If, at any time, my posts appear indignant I would suggest you look at the post I might have been replying to. I always first seek to understand, then compromise and always respect but I caution you and others to not mistake that good nature with shying away from defending myself or my position. John, I understand this is your bully pulpit. I also understand the vast majority of readers and those that post hold a position somewhat different from mine. I would tell you that without any hesitation that I think we all are closer in our mindsets than we truly think.

            • John Warren says:

              Release the minions!

              Matt, you are far more pleasant the most. Thanks for that.


              • Matt Sisti says:

                John, if you and a select group of your minions find yourself in Newcomb and want to have an open and and challenging exchange on this subject over some wine and beautiful views let me know. My email address is in one of these threads. Keep up the fight as will I!

            • Bill Ingersoll says:

              Mr. Sisti,

              Considering that several of your comments to me–about needing to evolve, about knowing “who I am”, about being out of touch, and about needing to spend “less time walking dogs and more time with people”–were ad hominem attacks that offered little substance to the discussion. Therefore I find your claim to be “someone who respects others opinions even when they are not parallel to mine” to be patently false. If you really see yourself as respectful and open-minded, then you seem to lack a certain amount of self-awareness. You didn’t just respectfully disagree with my views and offer a counter argument, you tried to characterize me as close-minded for not immediately dropping my deep convictions on this subject and agreeing with you. So pardon me if I feel unmotivated to meet you in person.

              None of this disqualifies you from the right to speak your mind here on this forum, but it hardly gives you the moral high ground to criticize John Warren’s comments.

              As for my views, I am a hiker, backpacker, paddler, and wilderness advocate. My views will naturally flow from these experiences. Interest groups that would prefer greater motorized access to wild lands can speak for themselves. I see no obligation to take the relativist’s approach and speak for them. The level of motorized access being proposed for the Essex Chain property will essentially nullify its potential as a backpacking destination, and it will apparently contribute to overuse the area, judging by DEC’s proposed regulations. It is my firm opinion–not subject to negotiation–that the first and best stewardship activity for this land is to close the roads to motor vehicles at the state land boundary. I will not apologize for expressing this opinion.

              My possession of this view also does not preclude the possibility of accepting a compromise, for what it’s worth–although as I’ve already pointed out, I’m just a commentator in this process, not a state official responsible for the classification and management of this land.

              • Matt Sisti says:


                In retrospect, my remarks were inappropriate and out of place. I found your response to other viewpoints as very dismissive and I reacted. My apologies. By the way, our dog is named Lexie as well. As a 3 lb Morkie, she would serve better as a coyote’s lunch than my hiking partner. OK, well it appears we will not be meeting to exchange on this important subject. Not a problem. Perhaps someday I’ll run into you on one of “my roads” in Newcomb. 🙂

  12. troutstalker says:

    CLOSE THE DAMN ROADS!BAN COOLERS. Dehydrate your own food or bring freeze dried food. Ban canned foods! Lighten your load and portage or hike in! Man-up and leave the creature comforts to home! Learn how to camp without all that unnecessary gear! CLOSE THE DAMN ROADS!!!!!!!!!!!!

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