Monday, February 23, 2015

Major Changes Afoot For ‘Forever Wild’ Forest Preserve

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASome major changes are afoot for our “Forever Wild” Adirondack Forest Preserve. Last fall, the Adirondack Park Agency (APA) held a series of “listening sessions” regarding possible amendments to the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan (SLMP).

The APA sought ideas and comments at these meetings, which staff members dutifully recorded. The APA also solicited comments by mail, fax, or email. All told, the APA received over 1,600 pages of comments, which were distilled to a 15-page report that the APA produced in January.

The listening sessions were beyond the requirements of the State Environmental Review Act (SEQRA), which manages the official public process that NYS government agencies and local government must follow to adopt laws and set rules and regulations. The APA has stated that it will start the official SEQRA process later this spring for two SLMP revision items specified as part of the Essex Chain Lakes classification.

As part of the Essex Chain Lakes classification resolution passed by the APA in December 2013, and shortly thereafter signed by Governor Cuomo, two issues were identified for possible SLMP reform: 1) the requirement that bridges in Wild Forest areas be constructed with natural resources; 2) the prohibition of mountain biking on designated roads in Primitive Areas.

The SLMP was originally approved in 1973 after statewide public hearings (of which good quality cassette tapes exist in Richard Lawrence’s papers at the Adirondack Museum). The SLMP has been amended twice for policy purposes – in 1979 and in 1987. While the SLMP is technically amended regularly with each land classification for new or reclassified Forest Preserve lands, its management policies have been changed only twice in over 40 years.

All that is about to change.

A review of the public comments from the APA listening sessions through a Freedom of Information request found a range of concerns expressed. By and large, the Park’s environmental community urged the APA to proceed cautiously and not diminish the SLMP’s primary focus on the protection of natural resources. But the public comments of motor vehicle advocates and local governments read like a wish list of environmental rollbacks.

The Adirondack Park stands at a pivotal moment for Forest Preserve management. Some have embraced changes, while others shudder at potential losses. Significant changes in Forest Preserve management are already underway.  The NYCO Constitutional Amendment marked the first time that Forest Preserve lands were approved for sale for the benefit of a private corporation. The Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is steadily building a network of Class Two Community Connector Snowmobile trails throughout Forest Preserve areas classified as Wild Forest. These trails necessitate the cutting down of thousands of trees over 3” DBH (diameter at breast height) and tens of thousands of trees less than 3” DBH, as well as miles of grading and excavation of 9-11 foot wide, and often wider, corridors unlike any other trails previously built in the Forest Preserve. The last five years have marked an all-time-low in the ability of the APA to hold the DEC accountable for violations of Forest Preserve management.

This is also a time when organized user groups are clamoring for specialized trail systems to meet their needs. In response, the DEC has organized various efforts to examine new special mountain biking trail systems, rock climbing areas, and high-elevation backcountry skiing zones. These processes are working to identify user needs and desires and recommend management changes.

The priority on recreational management of the Forest Preserve has been evident the past several years, but was especially notable in the December 2013 Essex Chain Lakes classification process, where recreational desires trumped natural resource protection as the top management priority.

In the public comments as part of the APA’s listening sessions, the Adirondack Powder Skiers Association put in the most comments. Often comments were submitted as a form letter that read “Dear APA Planning Director Regan, I want more access for backcountry skiers in the Adirondacks! Please consider the APSA proposal for an Amendment to the State Land Master Plan in order to promote backcountry skiing and healthy low impact recreation.”

Randy Preston, Town of Wilmington Supervisor, endorsed the message of the powder skiers: “The Town of Wilmington fully supports an Amendment to the State Land Master Plan to allow backcountry Ski Trails on NYS Forest Preserve Lands in both Wilderness and Wild Forest. This would have an extremely low impact on the forest and would fit nicely into Governor Cuomo’s push to expand Tourism in the Adirondack Park.”

The powder skiers were followed by mountain bikers and rock climbers in the volume of letters submitted. Mountain bikers are looking for a new trail system specially made for the needs of mountain biking. These are narrow trails where mountain bikers ride single file with specially designed bridges and that differ significantly from hiking trails and snowmobile trails in design and lay out. Public comments called for expanding the successful Wilmington Wild Forest mountain biking trail system to other Wild Forest areas and for connections through Wilderness areas.

The International Mountainbiking Association/New York Mountainbiking Association stated: “While some bicyclists will enjoy riding on a dirt road, they are unappealing to many mountain bikers who are seeking singletrack — the holy grail of good riding (imagine the difference between skiing on a wide snowmobile route versus a narrow meandering trail). Additionally, though it is often suggested that old logging roads should be opened for mountain bike use (roads in the William C. Whitney Wilderness area, for example), these routes are usually not suitable for duty as a singletrack path to support nonmotorized recreational uses like biking.”

The mountain climbing community is looking for a change to update the SLMP’s definition of mountain climbing. Commenters wrote “Mountaineering includes, but is not limited to, the following forms of climbing: rock climbing, ice climbing, slide climbing, bouldering, and ski mountaineering.” The change in definition will drive changes to SLMP policies.

The concerns of powder skiers and mountain bikers were echoed in the official comments from local governments across the Adirondacks.

Adirondack local governments were prolific in written comments. The Local Government Review Board (LGRB) and Adirondack Association of Towns and Villages (AATV) focused on similar themes, which were supported by resolutions of several dozen individual towns submitted resolutions in support. Here’s one key excerpt from the LGRB:

Some would have you believe that nothing can change in the Adirondacks – that any change the state makes in land use will take away from the “forever wild” character of the region. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Sensible, properly managed change will preserve what works and will repair what doesn’t work. Sensible change for Adirondack residents means balancing the needs of our environment – which draws tens of thousands of visitors to our region each year – with the need to have economically strong communities that support our residents and provide services from rooms and retailers to rescue squads and police protection to those visitors. It is sensible change that we are proposing.

We propose that the second paragraph of the State Land Master Plan be changed to reflect the need for sensible balance as follows:

If there is a unifying theme to the master plan, it is that the protection and preservation of the natural resources of the state lands must be undertaken in sensible balance with the needs of the park’s permanent, seasonal and transient populations for growth and service areas, employment, and a strong economic base.

Contrast this with existing SLMP language: “If there is a unifying theme to the master plan, it is that the protection and preservation of the natural resources of the state lands within the Park must be paramount.”

The recommended change in the SLMP’s unifying theme proposed by the LGRB starkly and clearly illustrates the desire by many to manage the Forest Preserve for economic purposes. In short, there is no longer any place in the great state of New York for wildness simply for the sake of wildness.

The LGRB and AATV also supported more constitutional amendments and urged that the SLMP policy section be amended accordingly. These positions were endorsed for the North Country Chamber of Commerce, Warren County Economic Development Council, Adirondack Gateway Council, and CAP-21, among others.

Snowmobilers generated a lot of comments, of which this one is typical: “To whom it may concern. I support allowing manmade materials to be used for the construction of bridges; recommend that the snowmobile trail mileage cap be increased with the acquisition of new lands by NY State; and suggest that mountain bike use be allowed in Primitive land classification areas.”

The NYS Snowmobile Association wrote: “Many of our NYSSA members engage in equestrian activities. NYSSA supports the construction of the Cedar River Bridge in the location the Department has proposed. Several of our members have cautioned us that the width of the bridge is inadequate to accommodate two horses passing or a horse and wagon passing. Complicating this issue is the fact that the bridge will be a popular spot for picture taking, to take in the landscape, and to fish. Rather than attempt to regulate people’s use, it would be preferable to plan now for those uses and construct a bridge of adequate width to accommodate how people will no doubt use it. We propose that a 12 foot wide bridge be considered.”

Significant changes were also advocated by The Adirondack Park-wide Community-Based Trails and Lodging System project, which called for new “community-based trail development on the Forest Preserve.” This trail network would need SLMP changes to: 1) allow for the placement of removable hut-type lodging (yurts and wall tents, for example) on Wild Forest lands; 2) support the concept of connector trails from existing trails to communities (e.g., a Northville-LP Trail spur to the Village of Long Lake); 3) support bridge development for appropriate recreational uses over select rivers and not require that all bridges be made of ‘natural’ materials.”

A couple dozen letters were also submitted by floatplane operators and organizations urging the APA to eliminate the ban on floatplanes in Wilderness areas.

Beyond the organized pitches of the many stakeholders throughout the Adirondack Park, there were some beautiful comments. Here are some:

“Leave the Park alone. Leave it Wild and unchanged permanently. My family enjoys it as a place of serenity and reflection, without the noise and stress of our everyday world. If we lose these places, we will all go mad.”

“The New York State Land Master Plan must continue to uphold the protection and preservation of natural resources as paramount. It currently prioritizes protection of water and wildlife and allows people to recreate on the lands as the resource allows.”

“I’ve been enjoying backcountry hiking, backpacking and canoeing in the Adirondack Preserve since 1960. The area feels much the same today as it did then. I’d like to see this preservation continue for my children, grandchildren, and all future generations to enjoy.”

“I urge you to adopt policies that limit and prohibit motorized vehicles on State Lands and to expand protections of wilderness areas. Wilderness is so rare in our modern world and yet so important from both an ecological and spiritual perspective. As a hunter and sportsman who is not able to hike quite as far as in my younger days, I still do not support expanded use of motorized vehicles for access as there remains plenty of places I can still go without disturbing and fouling wilderness areas. We need to carefully protect and manage our Forever Wild Park and its wilderness areas so this generation and future generations will be able to experience them.”

“I know there is a lot of pressure to open lands up to development and motor vehicles, especially ATV’s, but I believe that would be a big mistake. The solitude and unique wilderness experiences that everyone seeks will be to some extent diminished and the park that much less grand. In particular, the Hudson Gorge Wilderness and Essex Chain of Lakes Primitive Areas should be designated as motor‐free.”

“I am very proud that my state has had the foresight to set aside such a large and wild area for ourselves and all those to follow. I am very thankful to those past politicians who originally set up the Adirondack Park. I hope that in another hundred years people will be saying the same about our present stewardship of the land.”

The APA now stands poised to make serious changes and possibly reverse over 40 years of successful natural resource protection and management to facilitate a variety of recreational activities. The APA has pledged that SLMP revision will be managed through an open and transparent process, unlike the closed-door process for the Essex Chain Lakes classification. The APA is off to a good start, but the stakes are high for the future of the Forest Preserve and the Adirondack Park.

This is a major moment for the Forest Preserve. The people of New York have a critical choice before them: Should we continue to value the Forest Preserve for its wilderness character, its timeless reflection of a world where natural processes prevail and where human impact is limited? Or should we start down a path where we develop our great public forest for mechanized human use, where parochial economic wants dictate the relentless deterioration of a natural resource that has been a publicly treasured asset for over a century?

Photo by Phil Brown: A list of public comments at the APA listening session.

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Peter Bauer is the Executive Director of Protect the Adirondacks.

He has been working in various capacities on Adirondack Park environmental issues since the mid-1980s, including stints as the Executive Director of the Residents' Committee to Protect the Adirondacks and FUND for Lake George as well as on the staff of the Commission on the Adirondacks in the Twenty-First Century. He also worked at Adirondack Life Magazine. He served as Chair of the Town of Lake George Zoning Board of Appeals and has served on numerous advisory boards for management of the Adirondack Park and Forest Preserve.

Peter lives in Blue Mountain Lake with his wife and two children, enjoys a wide variety of outdoor recreational activities throughout the Adirondacks, and is a member of the Blue Mountain Lake volunteer fire department.

Follow Protect the Adirondacks on Facebook and Twitter.




30 Responses

  1. Penn Hoyt says:

    A balance needs to be in place and there isn’t one, yet. People who live in the park need to have opportunities to pursue a quality livelihood. To those who say that the towns are dying of their own accord, I say BS. NYS policies have chased business away state-wide. Towns in the north country, being smaller, are affected more so and therefore the populations continue to decline. Schools are now smaller and the economic opportunities fewer. Times change and so do needs and wants. The park is not just for a few who would put a fence around it, but for everyone. The regulations need to change with the times. When it was originally written, none of the recreations of today were event imagined nor were the issues of climate change and fossil fuels affect on water and land. The parties need to work together and develop a plan that allows current residents to enjoy a prosperous life and invite new permanent residents to take up full time living in one of the best areas of the US, as well as retain the unique aspects of the park that wilderness brings.

    I am very excited about the new areas now open to the public and look forward to exploring them in future. But if there are no communities, what then?

    Work together and get great things accomplished!

    • AG says:

      If you look across the country – regions that are in colder climates have been stagnant or decreasing for a while now.
      The exception are the areas with fossil fuel production.

      The world is moving towards an information economy… While more tourism can be a good thing for the ADK – mechanized vehicles aren’t the way to go…

      As to climate change – having large unbroken forests are very important..

    • Greg says:

      What sort of balance are you looking for? Balance between motorized and unmotorized recreation? Wild forest, where motorized use is allowed, currently makes up almost exactly 50% of the state land in the Adirondacks. Motor-free wilderness, primitive, and canoe areas are just under 48%.

      Or between public and private land? That split is also very nearly 50/50.

      To me, I believe there *is* a balance. It’s just that neither side seems comfortable with it. Motorboats have access to most lakes in the Adirondacks that you can drive a trailer to, yet complain when a very small subset of roadside lakes are set aside for exclusive use by paddlers (for example the Essex chain). Wilderness advocates have access to well over a million acres of motor-free recreation, the largest this side of the Mississippi, and complain that they’re being overrun by motors.

  2. Paul says:

    Given that we are such a large state it doesn’t look like too many people are paying attention to this if you look at the number of comments. The powder skiers were the most numerous?

    Peter were the total number?

    How many of the type that you highlight at the end were sent in?

  3. Wren Hawk says:

    Good overview Peter, thank you. It does look like we are on the brink of a sea change. The bulk of folks living here and those who visit – who often love the wild nature of the place as it is – still want to use it for recreation or economic purposes. It is a natural instinct. But these days folks seem less willing to suffer inconvenience in most parts of their lives. Some have extra money to have a hobby with specialized gear and they want to use it to its fullest. Some have less time and want to get into a wild place quickly. Some just don’t want to deal with the down sides of a wilderness experience. It is where we are as a culture right now really.

    On top of that, these same folks are being told by many local and regional leaders, by conclaves of smart people looking for common ground, and even by some environmental groups, that they can have both. That sensible broad use is possible. Perhaps it is for some short term. But erosion is erosion – once it starts it unseats equilibrium and takes on a life of its own.

    Like the respondent quoted above, I too am proud to live in a state that over 100+ years protected the largest wilderness area in the eastern United States and the largest park in the lower 48. We have at our doors a complex and delicate set of interrelated ecosystems that are invaluable as they are (it is a scientific paradise). We have much to learn from this remnant of reclaimed wilderness. I’m saddened that we don’t embrace the wilderness park concept more, the thing that makes the Adirondacks unique, and instead want to create a forested recreational playground. But I know there is a desire for money to be made and fun to be had.

    I will continue to add my voice to protect wilderness for its own sake, but fear the tide has turned. In the next 100 years our wilderness will be fragmented further. More tree and plant species will be lost, wild animal populations will decline – some precipitously, more roads, houses, trails, perhaps even a few bustling hamlet centers will take their place. It will still have places of peacefulness – like any other region – but not places of wilderness in the few ways we still have left. We will sacrifice what is unique for what we feel we need.

  4. Justin says:

    Verplank Colvin is probably rolling in his grave. The forest preserve isn’t a state park , but the fact that most people think it’s a state park perhaps us creating a park like management plan and expectations.

    As far as NYCO, that was a tragic precedent set and one I feel is going to have long term implications beyond that land swap, which really wasn’t a great deal for the people of NY.

    • Paul says:

      The Adirondack Park is specifically a park that was designed for people and wild places to live in some sort of balance. One that could change over time. It isn’t a big Wilderness that some folks would like to see. It’s different.

      • Joe says:

        It is called the Adk Park, and there must have been a reason for choosing that name. They could have picked Adk preserve or reserve or wilderness but they picked Park, with a capital P.

        Apparently this was intentional. Does anyone know the story behind the choice?

        • David D says:

          While the area inside the blue line is called the Adirondack Park the state land is called the Adirondack Forest Preserve.

          While I don’t know the history of this differentiation the fact that it exists at all tells me it was done for a reason.

  5. I am glad to read of Peter Bauer’s efforts to alert the public about threats to “Forever Wild.” I keep hoping I can find support for my efforts to tell the story of early battles to protect the constitution in New York State. I have written a book about John S. Apperson, early preservationists and lobbyist, but am looking for funding…
    We cannot do an effective job of defending the constitution without knowing how similar threats have been averted in the past!
    Union College’s Kelly Adirondack Center has all the Apperson archives and is finally starting to professionally organize and digitize the collection. Organizations such as Protect the Adirondacks could help by raising money to support me and all my research and writing about Apperson.

    • Ethan says:

      I am not a member of Protect but generally the environmental groups (Adirondack Council, Protect the Adirondacks, Adirondack Wild) are focused on current advocacy not historical research.

      Have you tried approaching the Adirondack Foundation about crowdsourcing funding for your project on their Adirondack Gives site?

  6. Tim-Brunswick says:

    “Penn Hoyt” is definitely on target with his response. From where this old guy is sitting the article itself is just one more slanted editorial by Peter Bauer on behalf of the Folks who want the entire ADKS. classified as wilderness. I love wild places and I’m outdoors far more than many of my contemporaries. Years ago I backpacked, hiked, canoes etc. in many of the ADK wilderness/wild areas.

    I did the best I could for a guy born with a heart defect and one operable lung. I didn’t whine about it and got to the places I could given my limitations, always wishing I had enough steam to someday penetrate into the West Canada Lakes Area. Unfortunately I couldn’t make it happen. Today I’m still pretty spry/mobile and I would love to be able to be plunked down in that area by a Float Plane for a week and allowed to ramble around the same trails French Louie frequented.

    Look at the State of Maine Folks. They have incredible wilderness areas, canoeing, back country fishing, hiking and it’s shared with ATV’s, Snowmobiles, Mtn. bikers and the list goes on. The ADK Communities are starving for tourism and New York State throws them a bone now and then, when they really need a five-course meal.

    The ADKS should be shared, not kept as the exclusive playground for only those who are young enough and physically fit. More access by motorized vehicles (OMG….Heaven forbid!….) is desperately needed.

    I’m done. Thanks for listening.

    • Greg says:

      The Adirondacks *are* shared! Half the state land in the park is open to snowmobiles, mountain bikers, etc.

      If everyone can be flown in by float plane to wherever they’d like, where does that leave the person who wants to get away from such things? Many people who go to wilderness do so to get away from the noise, bustle, convenience-at-all-costs, and instant gratification of modern life. By opening every acre of state land to motorized use, the land isn’t shared at all.

  7. Jim S. says:

    Look at the state of Maine folks, if the state of New York allows more access to floatplanes , snowmobiles and mountain bikes in the very unique wilderness and primitive areas it may be a much better place to visit. The distance Maine enjoys from the huge population centers close to New York make it a better option for avoiding the noise ,smell ,pollution and distractions that come from mechanical access.

  8. Tom Payne says:

    I agree with Penn Hoyt as well. There needs to be balance here. It appears that the Environmental Groups feel the whole six million acres needs to classified “Wilderness”. Is this part of the Grand plan “The Bob”, to turn much of the northeast into “Wilderness”? Also, there is a snowmobile mileage cap in the Adirondack Park of 848.88 miles. Approved by the APA in March 2008. Their trails are on public lands classified for their use or private lands.

    • David D says:

      There needs to be a balance, the question comes down to where that balance should fall. Clearly saying that the whole park should be paved over or made into a 6 million acre wilderness is a straw man and gets both sides nowhere.

      When the Essex Chain was being designated (here I go sounding bitter still) I couldn’t (and still can’t) understand why you would choose to put a snowmobile route through the center of state land instead of across the easement lands that surround the plot. Unfortunately all of these recreation groups seem to fight over the preserve land and ignore completely easement land. Wilderness is important. Other recreation is important too. Easements and state land can provide recreation, but wilderness cannot exist on most easements.

  9. Jim S. says:

    I don’t believe the entire area should be wilderness, I believe the wilderness areas are the ultimate “draw” of the Adirondack Park. correct me if I’m wrong but, wilderness comprises quite a bit less than half of the state owned land. Wilderness should be kept free from mechanized travel in my opinion. Wild forest areas provide as much or more acreage for activities like mountain biking and snowmobiling. Together the wilderness and wild forests provide ample opportunity for everyone to enjoy their passion.

  10. Charlie S says:

    “The park is not just for a few who would put a fence around it, but for everyone.”

    “if the state of New York allows more access to floatplanes , snowmobiles and mountain bikes in the very unique wilderness and primitive areas it may be a much better place to visit.”

    “More access by motorized vehicles (OMG….Heaven forbid!….) is desperately needed.”

    >> Yep let’s allow noisy float planes and atv’s and why dont we just open the whole park to motorized use so that the lazy, unspiritual neo-american can have his way with what’s left of the serene wild places in this country, including the Adirondacks. Over the generations this society has undergone a metamorphosis that continues to weaken the human vessel. I see no hope for us!

  11. AdkGuy says:

    No motors or bikes in the wilderness, please.

  12. Paul says:

    Keep in mind that the amount of protected land within the Adirondack park continues to grow. This includes large additions of new Wilderness area. The amount of protected land including Wilderness is the largest it has even been in history. These discussions seem to make it sound like things are going the other way?

  13. Hawthorn says:

    Those who complain that there isn’t enough motorized access to the park seem to believe that motors will bring prosperity–based on what evidence? Sure, some parts of the park already benefit from snowmobile visitors, but opening up wilderness to motorized use might instead drive away the many thousands of people who already visit using their own muscle power. Same with float planes. One plane brings in how many people? Maybe four to six, but how many paddlers and hikers are chased away when a place gets overrun by motors. Of course the entire argument is false in the first place. The economy of most of the Adirondacks, including employment, education, and tourism, is far better than at almost any time in its history.

    • Paul says:

      There is plenty of room for both types of activities and to do them where the two won’t interact much if that is what people want.

      Having a camp on the Saranac Chain I can tell you that there is no shortage of paddlers on the water despite the motor boats. Sure, some are chased away but there are still plenty and the numbers of paddlers seems to be on the rise so I don’t think it as big a deal as some make it out to be.

      Both types of recreation have an economic impact there is no argument there. There are three marinas in the Saranac Lake area all three seem to have very good businesses. There are also a number of outfitters that do quite well. It is not a question of one or the other. My guess is that a marina generates more income and tax revenue for a town than an outfitter with an equivalent amount of business. The sale of one ski boat can generate 50 thousand to 150 thousand in gross revenue for a marina. That is a considerable amount of tax revenue for that one transaction alone. There is service work etc. There isn’t much of that sort of work for a guy selling canoes or hiking supplies. But again they do have some impact.

  14. Charlie S says:

    Paul says:”Keep in mind that the amount of protected land within the Adirondack park continues to grow.”

    Considering how much damage we’ve done to the landscape in this country,and continue to do unabated on a daily basis everywhere,there will never be enough protected land in the Adirondacks Paul,especially to those of us who deeply appreciate beauty and art in the natural world.Especially to those of us who are aware that the wolf at the back door is ever-waiting for a favorable circumstance that allows him to have his way with what remains because ego is more important than a good thing.

    In increments we fragment and tear-up the wild places which in turn take away the purity that once was.Over and over examples can be cited of this or that natural area that is no more because economics is more important than real values, biota, peace, morality, history, virginity……

  15. Charlie S says:

    Paul says: “My guess is that a marina generates more income and tax revenue for a town than an outfitter with an equivalent amount of business. The sale of one ski boat can generate 50 thousand to 150 thousand in gross revenue for a marina. That is a considerable amount of tax revenue for that one transaction alone.”

    You sound like a politician Paul. With them it’s all about tax havens,nothing more…is why they take down woodlots and put up storage units or shopping centers or housing developments in their places.Parking lots! It’s not because more of these are needed as much as it is because tax bases are sacred cows to them. You can hardly talk in simplistic terms to a politician as they are a very complicated species who can never get beyond the science of wealth. Sure,economics is important as we are all consumers of goods and services and we need to maintain our material way of life……. but at what expense? On and on we continue doing the same thing and nothing changes. Matter of fact things are progressively getting worse.Look at the world around us Paul,look at all of the problems,and tell me i’m wrong. The things that are sacred,the few that remain…we just keep chipping away at those few and before you know it we’re all going to be empty spirits looking forward to the day we die.

    • Paul says:

      Again we are not chipping away at protected land in the Adirondacks we are continuing to set aside more land for Wilderness and other types of protected land in the park. Yes, it is going the other way in some other places no doubt about that you are absolutely correct.

      What I put in that other comment is simply a fact I am placing no judgment on it one way or the other not sure why you would accuse me of sounding like a “politician” (rather a bit of an insult I would think?).

  16. Chris says:

    This is a very sad state of affairs. I’m also surprised that this post garnered no comments. It seems that we are all just too fatigued by the onslaught from so many corners that we have exhausted out collective will to maintain anything these days, from forests to schools. We have pretty much given up.

    Re: need for strict preservation of wilderness, here is an interesting article on just how “leave no trace” doesn’t http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/15/opinion/sunday/leaving-only-footsteps-think-again.html

    Thanks for all your efforts, Peter. They are appreciated.

  17. ADKerDon says:

    It is time to abolish the forest preserve and admit it was a failure! It has destroyed numerous strains of our brook trout, poisoned waters by denying locals to protect them, destroyed wildlife habitat, starved and murdered wildlife species into near extinction, denied everyone but hikers access to and use of these lands and waters, destroyed co2 removing and oxygen generating trees,etc. by its non-harvesting policies, and destroyed all jobs, tourism, outdoor recreation and industry throught the Adirondacks. Abolish the forest preserve now!

  18. Tim says:

    There needs to be a majot overhual in the ADK Park. I do not really want to see a 4 wheeler trail or anythign like that, But they need to start practiving woods managemant. The forest is so over grown and dence there is no vegitation and little wildlife. They need to selectivly harvest mature trees and create food plots for the wildlife. By doign this they will be creating job growth and revenue. It will also increase tourism and hunting and fishing opertunities.

    For all of you people who think I am totoally wrong for wanting to selectivly harvest the ADK Park, start a google search and look for forest fires. It happens all over the west every year and the Park is not immune to the threat. The threat is actually getting greater and greater every year due to the down trees. You can only turn a blind eye to it for so long before it happens here. Also, research the wild fire form the middle 80′ at Yellowstone Park. At the tiem they said it destroyed the Park, only for a few short years latter they admitted it was the best thing that happned to the Park. The fire cleared down trees and allowed for regrowth. When this happened it brought back the Wildlife