Monday, December 14, 2015

Effort Underway To Change The Rules For Adirondack Park

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

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

Hearings are scheduled to be held as follows:

Ray Brook – January 6, 2016, 7:00 pm
Adirondack Park Agency
1133 NYS Route 86
Ray Brook, NY

Newcomb – January 7, 2016, 7:00 pm
Newcomb Central School
5535 NYS Route 28N
Newcomb, NY

Albany – January 13, 2016, 1:00 pm
NYS DEC Offices
625 Broadway
Albany, NY

APA and DEC have led the efforts by New York State to develop publicly-held Adirondack Forest Preserve lands constitutionally protected as ‘forever wild’.

Recent development pressures by the APA and DEC include the building of roadways for snowmobiles through Forest Preserve; the mining of the Jay Mountain Wilderness by an international mining company; the construction and expansion of various facilities for motor vehicles on Forest Preserve lands; “spot zoning” to avoid conflicts with the State Land Master Plan; and motorizing and building bridges across wild and scenic rivers.

APA and DEC’s proposed amendments to the State Land Master Plan can be found at apa.ny.gov. You can read more about the State Land Master Plan here.

Written comments should be sent to:

Kathy Regan
Deputy Director for Planning
NYS Adirondack Park Agency
P.O. Box 99
Ray Brook, NY 12977

Fax: 518-891-3938

Email – SLMP_Comments@apa.ny.gov


John Warren

John Warren has been exploring the woods and waters of the Adirondacks for more than 45 years. After a career as a print journalist and documentary television producer he founded Adirondack Almanack in 2005 and co-founded Adirondack Atlas in 2015.

John’s Adirondack Outdoors Conditions Report can be heard Friday mornings across the region on North Country Public Radio and on WSLP Lake Placid.

He is also on the staff of the New York State Writers Institute and edits The New York History Blog. He is the author of two books of regional history.




21 Responses

  1. Dave Gibson says:

    Thanks for telling it like it is, John.

    Adirondack Wild is also requesting the DEC Commissioner and APA Executive Director to schedule additional public hearings outside the Park and asking that these also be held at 7 PM to enable more people to participate, and not at 1 PM as currently scheduled.

    • Brandon says:

      These issues should be handled at the local level by the counties and towns inside the park! Albanys opinion and ideals shouldn’t matter unless they start paying their shares of land taxes (for which they don’t) for these lands to the towns and counties. I can see no reason to have hearings outside the park, if you don’t live full time inside the blue line your opinion. Doesn’t matter!

      • Boreas says:

        Brandon,

        But it does matter. Park land isn’t for residents to do with as they please. It is land owned by NYS which means every NY resident has a stake. That is something residents of the park have always had to deal with, It is a fact of living within any park.There are good points and bad points.

      • John Warren John Warren says:

        It’s a statewide park paid for by people from the entire state, including taxes paid for you by others. If you’re going to have an opinion about it, you should learn the facts.

  2. mike says:

    Your title is wrong. The proposal is to change the rules for the forest preserve, not the Park. This issue is only about state land, about half of the Park.

  3. M.P. Heller says:

    I fear we are falling back into a similar pattern of contention to the nastiness experienced in the 1970’s. Those were unpleasant times in the political history of the Park, and the issues at hand were eerily similar to those in dispute now.

    It’s clear that Albany wants this agenda of revision to the SLMP to move forward. In its current form it conflicts with the management practices that leaders in Albany wish to employ. This can be good and this can be bad.

    Good things that can come from this process are the inclusion of updated best practices management techniques when it comes to managing many of our publicly held wild lands. Since its origination, many advances have been made in environmental science, forest management, and the methods employed for the conservation of wilderness lands. (Think of the 150 foot rule, the prohibition of high altitude camping, demolition of non-conforming structures like Marcy Dam, etc.) Incorporating modern management principles to the SLMP while the opportunity exists could be of great benefit, and would have a direct positive impact on UMP revisions moving forward by raising the baseline standard of management.

    Clearly not everything that comes from this process is going to be looked upon as universally positive. This is perhaps the most important part of the process. Making sure that the final revised proposal is the best and most beneficial package possible. Not every party is going to be pleased with the end product. It’s important not to let this process descend into the vapid depths of hate and vitriol. If that happens, everyone loses.

  4. Todd Eastman says:

    Will the ADK and the Adirondack Council roll over for further mining requests within the Blue Line?

  5. Bruce says:

    I think the term “Forever Wild” is way too broad. Folks on both sides of the discussion define it in different ways. To me, it means land left alone in perpetuity, and not sullied by any signs of human activities including hiking trails, roads, campsites, buildings, boat launches, etc. Any form of regular human activity takes something away from the term “wild.”

    I don’t believe this was the purpose of establishing the AP or the Forever Wild Amendment, but rather to prevent abuse, primarily from logging, mining, and uncontrolled development. It has been long recognized that all forms of recreation in the park are a major source of the economic lifeblood in the region. As such, simply locking up new acquisitions is contrary to keeping that lifeblood flowing, and it’s unfortunate that some groups believe anything more than regular foot traffic is abuse in their eyes.

    There must be balance and control. Let the professional folks decide what’s best suited for any given tract, and keep the emotional blanket responses out of it.

    • Paul says:

      The balance is there. The Forest Preserve is steadily growing. More and more land is being protected. There have been some “development” allowed (some of it done to secure more land to protect (Prop 5 or whatever the mining thing was for example)). In fact you could argue that the balance is on the side of forest preserve protection. The development mentioned is a tiny percentage of the land in question.

      • Bruce says:

        Paul,

        I pretty much agree with you, and think the powers that be do a pretty good job of balancing the need to protect sensitive lands while considering the desires of park users at the same time.

  6. Paul says:

    One way to make this seem more fair would be to have one meeting in the DEC office(s) where the actions are centered. Here I think they would impact 5 and some of 6. Then a meeting in Albany and one in Buffalo. All in the evening. Most people have to work for a living.

  7. Paul says:

    ” NYS Department of Environmental Conservation and the Adirondack Park Agency, who are accused of ignoring its basic tenets.”

    Guilty until proven innocent.

    • Marco says:

      “Guilty until proven innocent.”
      Ha, ha, yes. This is indeed the way governments operate.
      It is often political murder to accuse some governmental office of corruption. It does not have to be true, just the hint of possible ties to big business, the perception of favoritism, or the smell of breaking their own rules can be enough to cause a backlash of the type we are seeing. All government agencies are open to public opinion and are often presumed to be “guilty until proven innocent.” They make the laws, they are allowed to break them or simply not enforce them. However, they are subject to review by the representatives of the citizens, and, the citizens themselves that gave them the power, initially.

      Proposition 5 was such an example. They did not strictly have the power to make the deal, it needed to be ratified as Paul mentioned.

      This review is part of the process, let us proceed. Thanks for bringing this up!

  8. John Sullivan says:

    Master stroke by Andy’s spin-meisters: quick hearings, announced during holiday season for minimum attendance, limited hours and access, so why bother listening. I’m surprised they haven’t asked Six Flags to submit a proposal. Maybe that’s coming.

  9. John janesik says:

    If you want to control land buy it and pay taxes on it!

    • SLMPdefender says:

      Actually, we do own the land and pay taxes on it, as residents of NYS!

      This is precisely why we should have NIGHTTIME hearings in NYC, Buffalo, Syracuse, and Bingamton.

      This is a sham by the DEC and APA. Where did their spine go in standing up to the 40 people asking to do away with our long standing policies that have protected this asset that belongs to All NY’ers… the Forest Preserve?!

      • Paul says:

        “do away with”? Think you may be taking it just a little too far. Besides they are going to ignore the comments no matter where they come from. You have seen their response to these things. Noted. Noted. Noted.

      • Joe says:

        “Do away with”…..silly uninformed hyperbole

  10. Boreas says:

    If humans were responsible beings, there wouldn’t need to be stringent controls within the Park – especially in sensitive areas. One of my pet peeves with any type of vehicle access into the preserve is littering, illegal dumping, and failure to stay on trails and roads. One of the reasons DEC drive trucks is to remove mattresses, tires, refrigerators, deer carcasses, etc. from along virtually any woods road that can be driven on. Campers destroy live timber by peeling bark and pulling down live limbs and leaving trash in their fire pit or leanto. Hikers stray from marked trails to avoid getting muddy, thus creating erosion. Hunters leave spent shotgun shell casings, fishermen leave styrofoam containers of worms, ATVers seem to look for mudholes to wallow in or circumvent the ones they should ride through by driving off the trail. Boaters distribute species of fish and invertebrates to waters they were never in. Builders create monstrosities on mountaintops, ridgelines, and shorelines. The list is endless. And these things happen WITH regulations.

    Do all people behave this way? Of course not – but enough do to make strict rules and regulations necessary. People behaving poorly was what deforested and consequently trashed nearly the entire eastern forest over a century ago – and it was accepted practice! But rules and regulations are meaningless without enforcement. There is no reason for the APA if they fail to enforce the rules they were chartered for. Perhaps a better way of choosing APA officers should be investigated.

  11. Charlie S says:

    John Sullivan says, “Master stroke by Andy’s spin-meisters: quick hearings, announced during holiday season for minimum attendance, limited hours and access.”

    Welcome to the corporate state of America John.

  12. Charlie S says:

    Well said Boreas.