Sunday, March 13, 2016

Dave Gibson: APA Weakened State Land Master Plan

5th Lake, Essex Chain of Lakes Primitive AreaIt was a riveting 90 minutes at the APA this week. In those 90 minutes, the NYS Adirondack Park Agency amended the State Land Master Plan. In doing so, the agency contradicted and violated basic definitions and guidelines that have been protective of wilderness values since 1972.

The big four amendments:

  1. Authorize bicycling on nine miles of trails in two Primitive areas, the Essex Chain of Lakes and Pine Lake Primitive areas between Newcomb, Minerva and Indian Lake.
  2. Authorize the use of motor vehicles to maintain those bicycle trails indefinitely into the future;
  3. Authorize any able-bodied individual with a permit from DEC to drive into the heart of the Essex Chain of Lakes Primitive Area, and to park their vehicle at 4th-5th Lake
  4. Authorize the use of non-natural materials (such as use of steel) for the building of foot and snowmobile trail bridges in all Wild Forest areas of the Forest Preserve.

There were many other changes to the State Land Master Plan, controversial and not, but these are are the major ones.

What was riveting were statements from Adirondack Park Agency State Land Chair Richard Booth and subsequent reactions from the Park Agency Chair and other members. The customary APA good news machine – virtually required under the Cuomo administration – hailing harmonious collaboration with others and issuing self-congratulatory statements about achieving balance between environmental and economic priorities in the Adirondack Park were overshadowed by a few minutes of frankness.

As in the past, Mr. Booth never let debate became personal. It was all about forcing his APA to confront major public policy choices affecting the “forever wild” Forest Preserve and the Park. He did that before the APA voted to permit the Adirondack Club and Resort in 2012, and he did it again this week.

Mr. Booth put his finger on the key problem the Agency faced in amending the State Land Master Plan: “The Primitive area definition remains unchanged. By allowing bicycling in a widespread section within two Primitive areas, and by allowing State trucks into those areas to maintain trails on just those two Primitive areas, we are allowing exceptions and activities which are in direct conflict with the Primitive area definition.” That definition states that Primitive areas are to be essentially managed as wilderness.

APA staff again protested that use of trucks and other motor vehicles and mechanized equipment to create trails out of the existing old roads and maintain these Primitive trails indefinitely would only be occasional, not routine. “A truck is not a chainsaw,” Booth replied to the staff. “You have to get the truck to the work site.” The very act of getting a truck to a work site, however occasional, means that the route must be maintained as a road, not as a trail, with serious impacts to an area that is supposed to be managed as wilderness.

“If I sound negative, I’m sorry, he said, “but we are weakening the State Land Master Plan. That’s what you are about to do.”

He went on to predict that the weakening of the SLMP today in two Primitive areas would invariably lead to future weakening of Wilderness guidelines affecting the entire Adirondack Park. Or, as my high school football coach used to drill into our heads, if you’re careless about the little things the big things will start to fall down around your head.

With respect to authorizing non-natural materials for bridge-building on Wild Forest, Booth made several policy points. First, that APA had not conducted any analysis of need for the use of non-natural materials throughout Wild Forest areas – other than the one example of need across the Cedar River. Second, that the APA staff offered the voting members only three sketches or photographic examples of what future bridge design and construction with the use of non-natural materials might look like if broadly applied.

“You have not set the outer parameters and have not defined what bridges might look like in the future,” he said. Booth reminded his colleagues that when APA considers variances or permits for private land use we are used to seeing lots of visual material to allow APA to gain a clearer sense of the issues. Here, why are we only getting three visual images of what might take place within a broad swath of Forest Preserve, he asked. We have not had enough discussion about the problem, and policy choices, he said. There is no basis for understanding the magnitude of the change you are asking us to make, change that could affect all trails in Wild Forest” he told the staff.

To that assertion, APA Chairwoman Ulrich said that: “we should mark this as a major issue.” Member Sherman Craig noted that a large snowmobile bridge near his home was built out of telephone poles coated with creosote just to meet the natural material definition (wood), when it could have been built at less cost and fewer impacts using steel I-beams. “You make my point,” Booth replied. “We should be shown a picture of your bridge example. We need more facts, more visual images to consider in making sound policy choices.

“Setting parameters and establishing clear definitions are what public policy ought to do,” Booth said.  APA staff has not done this, he felt. Other APA members reacted to his statement that they felt future members and staff could be trusted not to allow steel or plastic bridges over Wild Forest trails which are vastly out of character with the forever wild Forest Preserve.

Public policy is not about trusting that others will do the right thing in the future, Booth replied. It’s about clearly establishing the outer parameters of what is acceptable and what is not.

Mr. Booth moved that his committee delay on a vote on the bridge amendment until these matters could be resolved. Nobody seconded his motion.

About the exceptions to authorize bicycling and motors in the two Primitive areas, Booth said: “the average observer of our APA, on viewing these conflicts with the Primitive area definition, might conclude that either the APA does not know what it’s doing, which I do not believe, or that the APA has a magic pen that allows it to make exceptions to the SLMP wherever and whenever it wants.”

At the suggestion that APA is not following its own rules and uses end-runs around a document the paramount purpose of which is to be protective of State Land wilderness and natural resources, there followed (for the APA) quite a commotion.

“I have no interest in weakening the APA or the SLMP” asserted Chairwoman Ulrich. “I take this job very seriously.” She went on to explain her support of the amendments authorizing bicycling on the basis that the Essex Chain purchase in 2012 was unique and offered a unique set of management challenges. This echoed what other APA members usually say about the Essex Chain: “we made promises” with respect to the classification in 2013 which we now must keep. “We all agreed two years ago to consider bicycling here,” said member Karen Feldman. “We lacked the tools to make this comfortable in a legal way,” said member Sherman Craig.

The problem with those justifications is that the 2013 compromises to allow all manner of recreational uses regardless of what the Master Plan states while also attempting to protect the lakes were reached behind closed doors by an exclusive group called together by the Governor. The problem is compounded when the APA fails to abide by its own 2013 classification decisions because it was pressured to do so by the Department of Environmental Conservation.

For example, Mr. Booth again brought up the APA’s agreement to permit able-bodied individuals to drive into the heart of the Essex Chain of Lakes and park their trucks there. The 2013 APA classification decision expressly limited motorized access to 5th Lake only to certified persons with disabilities. Thanks to the APA’s spineless capitulation to DEC, those individuals with disabilities will have to compete for parking space with the able-bodied who could have wheeled their kayak or canoe or simply walked with their fly-fishing equipment to reach the same point. After all, the whole point of the Primitive classification was to keep the Essex Chain of Lakes and its environs motor free and free of aquatic invasive species. Trucks driven to the heart of the lakes flies in the face of that objective.

By my count, Mr. Booth moved that his colleagues amend the policy proposals before it in four ways: 1) to delay a vote until more evidence was presented and more policy discussion could be had; 2) to disallow truck access and parking at 5th Lake for able-bodied individuals (and to reserve it strictly for persons with disabilities); 3) to authorize use of non-natural materials for the bridge over the Cedar River only, and to disallow the amendment’s broad applicability to all Wild Forest areas; and 4) to allow bicycles into the Essex Chain of Lakes Primitive Area but to disallow motorized maintenance of those trails.

He got only one second, from Mr. Lussi on the last motion. On the final motion to accept the entire amendment package and its highly inadequate environmental impact statement, Booth was the sole dissenting vote – again.

My Adirondack Wild colleague Dan Plumley summed matters up from his chair in the APA meeting room: “Booth made it clear that this Agency is the first to weaken the SLMP in its history.”

Photo: 5th Lake in the Essex Chain of Lakes Primitive Area.

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Dave Gibson, who writes about issues of wilderness, wild lands, public policy, and more, has been involved in Adirondack conservation for over 30 years as executive director of the Association for the Protection of the Adirondacks, executive director of Protect the Adirondacks and currently as managing partner with Adirondack Wild: Friends of the Forest Preserve

During Dave's tenure at the Association, the organization completed the Center for the Forest Preserve including the Adirondack Research Library at Paul Schaefer’s home. The library has the finest Adirondack collection outside the Blue Line, specializing in Adirondack conservation and recreation history.

Currently, Dave is managing partner in the nonprofit organization launched in 2010, Adirondack Wild: Friends of the Forest Preserve.




48 Responses

  1. Boreas says:

    Again, Mr. Booth fights the good fight.

    I liked the statement by Sherman Craig: “We lacked the tools to make this comfortable in a legal way.” I would think that should be the first sign one is doing something wrong and perhaps one should think on it a little longer. Although with the current officials in Albany pushing them, thinking doesn’t seem to be their strong point.

    • Paul says:

      They should litigate this one just like they did the ACR to see if there is really any legal issues. Mr. Craig can ease his mind the APA has a legal team. Mr. Booth knows that, he used to be part of the APA legal team.

      There it was shown that the legality of the decision was just that totally legal. The case was shown to have no merit – AKA frivolous.

  2. John Sullivan says:

    Dave, your analysis is correct. I possess a handicapped permit for my truck, and would rather not use it in the Essex Chain than see the DEC and APA create an amusement park in the area.

    • Paul says:

      The place goes from a commercial timber tract with big trucks and running all over the place to FP land. A few bikes is not going to turn it into an amusement park.

  3. adkDreamer says:

    Oh No! I thought that Tropical Storm Irene flushed the last remnants of Art Monaco’s ‘Land Of Make Believe’ down the Ausable to Lake Champlain. I didn’t know that the river reversed direction and dumped some of it near Newcomb and Indian Lake…..

  4. ADKerDon says:

    Mr. Booth again shows that he has nothing but prejudice for all the elderly, handicapped, disabled and youths. He would deny them all access and use of the state lands in the Adirondacks if he could. Congratulations to those other board members who were smart enough to oppose his prejudices. Time to remove Booth from the APA is long overdue. Time to abolish the forest preserve with all its discriminatory policies. Open the Adirondacks to all for recreation and uses.

    • Boreas says:

      Mr. Booth was fighting for EXCLUSIVE HANDICAPPED ACCESS that wouldn’t have to be shared with anyone!!! What more could you want?? Oh, yes, I forgot your mantra – “abolish the Forest Preserve”.

    • adkDreamer says:

      Rubbish. All Mr. Booth ever does is ask that the APA follow their own rules, follow NY State Law, the UMP’s and SLMPs.

      • Paul says:

        The UMps and SLMPs are law like you say. And specifically they are laws made in a way that they can be amended (changed). Mr. Booth didn’t want them changed everyone else on the board did. So again he is just in the lonely minority.

        Personally I agree with him on this one and they should not have been amended. The land should have simply gotten a Wild Forest classification. But the APA and the DEC wanted to appease some of these environmental groups so they tried to get stricter classifications that required these amendments. They will probably get sued because of it. Go figure. Your friends are often your worst enemies.

  5. Bruce says:

    “In doing so, the agency contradicted and violated basic definitions and guidelines that have been protective of wilderness values since 1972.”

    Let’s be realistic.

    Wilderness, Primitive and Wild Forest lands under the protection of the SLMP have done little but increase in scope and size since the SLMP was put in place. It’s not like there is a fixed piece of forest which is being continually encroached upon. The increases in land far outweighs allowances being made for varied recreational uses. If the definitions and guidelines of the SLMP were meant to be engraved in stone, there would be no mechanism in place (APA amendment process) to change it. The amendment procedure is also one of the guidelines.

    For better or worse, the APA is doing its job

  6. Marco says:

    Using motorized vehicles to maintain trails????? This is just plain wrong…no motorized transport of any kind, except in an emergency. I do not see maintenance as an emergency.

    • joe says:

      Marco –

      They will be maintaining existing logging roads, not trails in any traditional sense. And if these road are to be used in emergencies, as you suggest, they need some level of maintenance. And, BTW, float planes will be using one of the lakes as I recall.

      So there isn’t much pristine about this cut over land with a network of logging roads. Been there yet? Few people have….

      • Marco says:

        One of the few places where I can expect no motorized traffic in NY State is the ADK’s. No cars, no trucks. No buses. No bikes. No ATV’s, No motocross bikes racing down trails. No recharging stations for drones. Nothing that nature didn’t put there. And especially no crazies calling for traffic signals at intersections as they flip me the bird for hiking through and making them brake. There are few places to use technologies like cell phones. (No place to recharge them unless I plug into the local tree stump.) The float planes will be going away, though I have used them in the past…in many places they are not allowed. A place to remove yourself from the mechanistic society we endure is *needed.* No. I am not anti-technology. I was a biologist/engineer/computer scientist, before I retired.

        Roads that go nowhere need to be evaluated on a case by case basis. A blanket ruling saying they will be allowed in ALL cases is wrong. Old lumber roads should be *unmaintained* if they just go to some holding area. Why does it need graders, rakes and bulldozers? Why dump piles of rocks and stone to maintain it? Some do. Some don’t. I blanket ruling does not make sense. Maintaining closed roads is like maintaining a vacuum because no one is using the air. It’s just a dumb idea.

        Emergency use is exactly that. Use what is at hand to solve a problem. If the road becomes impassible, it cannot be used. What is the problem? There *are* fatalities in the ADK’s.

        • joe says:

          Marco, you are misinformed. This only applies to a handful of existing roads, Also, the float planes will alays be using the lake in the Essex tract due to a deal the Nature Conservancy did before selling it to the state……it is in the deed.

        • Bruce says:

          Marco,

          “Nothing that nature didn’t put there.” Except the engineered hiking trails, bridges, boardwalks and campsites.

  7. Jay says:

    My question is simple and no one can answer it. Why does NYS require registration of ATV,s and where does the money go?

    • Tom Payne says:

      That’s easy Jay. It is stolen. The money goes to the general fund and spent as NYS sees fit. You receive nothing. The stealing has been going on since Mario Cuomo left office and disbanded the ATV trail fund. I would suggest to the ATV community to file suit against NYS over the theft of millions of dollars of registration funds.

  8. Tony Goodwin says:

    Sherman Craig said, “We lacked the tools to make this comfortable in a legal way.” But all of these contentious issues regarding the primitive classification could have been avoided with one simple “too” – wild forest classification of all land west of Chain Lakes Road. I have said this before and pointed out that wild forest does not mean the uninhibited use of motor vehicle or boats. The UMP process can sort out where motorized us is appropriate and where it is not.

    As I seem to recall, the primitive classification was a sort of compromise between those who wanted wilderness and those who wanted wild forest. Having been to the area twice now, I cannot see this as deserving of a wilderness classification. As group of casual paddlers we met in Keene at 8 AM, drove to the start of the portage, made a leisurely paddle looking a shoreline flowers of all but First Lake, and got back to Keene in time for dinner. A nice day, but hardly what one could call a “wilderness experience.”

    I will be interested to see if even Mr. Booth would now consider going back to a wild forest classification because: a) that is appropriate for the area, and b) the proposed uses do not set any precedents for other areas classified as primitive or wilderness.

    • Greg M. says:

      Agreed wholeheartedly. The place reminds me of the way into the high peaks via Tahawus. Not sure exactly how many decades it’s been, but the roads are still clearly there and it hardly feels like a wilderness area.

      The whole Essex area has been a major bust. A reservation system that is completely unneeded…it’s 50%+ empty. Prohibition of camp fires. One seriously messed up UMP. Would have been much better for everyone to call it wild forest and not allow motorized boats.

      I think this mess is part of why Protect is actually promoting less of Boreas Ponds as wilderness, and for that, while I usually disagree with them, I do agree in this case. They will be managed exactly the same regardless of classification.

      • Tony Goodwin says:

        Greg; I agree that the camping restrictions are excessive for this area. It should be a place where people can come in with some amenities to make a comfortable camp and just relax for a few days. A campfire would be part of the ambiance, but I don’t see the supply of dead and down diminishing too soon.

        At Marcy Dam and Lake Colden there definitely needed to be a campfire ban because one had to go a long way to find legal dead and down. The result was illegal cutting. If it comes to that in the Essex Chain, there could be additional restrictions; but I seriously doubt that the camping pressure would ever bring it to that point.

      • Jim S. says:

        I believe the restrictions on camping and campfires were put in place to keep the usage very low. That way they can try to justify all the ridiculous exceptions to the SLMP as a way to increase visitors .
        As far as roads remaining apparent, a few decades is not a significant amount of time. Give nature a century or two and those old roads will disappear into majestic old forests for our kids and grandkids to marvel at.
        Diluting the protections of the forest preserve is awful. They should have classified the Essex chain as wilderness in the first place, but I think it would be better to reclassify it as wild forest now.

    • scottvanlaer says:

      I thought the area should have been classified as Wilderness. I agree it would have been better to classify it Wild Forest instead of the gerrymandered classification complex that now exists. The entire unit is now functionally a Wild Forest, accept for the inexplicable reservation system and quasi ban on campfires. Why is it so difficult for them to follow the master plan and framework that was already in place? APA continues to make the job harder of the actual stewards of state land whom now must explain to the public the regulations and classification system.

      • adkDreamer says:

        Best Answer! Five stars.

      • Joe Smith says:

        I think our “stewards” are paid well enough to do some explaining… Maybe it’s time to go back to being just rangers instead of cops.

        • Scott says:

          Go back to…? Did you ever read the legislation that originally created the forest ranger job title in 1912 ? It says specifically that forest rangers will have “full police duties” relative to the protection of state lands. The steward idea comes from their mission statement (which still specifies law enforcement too). Rangers are the only ‘cops’ in the state whose job was created to protect the forest preserve.

          • Joe Smith says:

            I’m thinking of the time, not to long ago, when they didn’t carry weapons, I’d see them skiing the back country (I know a few still do), and even listen to them talk of cutting the avalanche pass ski trail… before it was approved by the powers that be… It is different now as I guess most things are.

            • scottvanlaer says:

              Joe, things do change but the Forest Ranger job is still very much at it’s essence, the same. People still get lost, fires still happen and they still educate the public via enforcement and education. Forest Rangers have “carried weapons” since their inception in 1912. The difference then was it was their personal guns. It is true that they did have a choice then while today they are required to carry. Rangers were first issued state owned sidearms in 1974. The search for Robert Garrow was the final catalyst for this after a long fight by the rangers to be issued state owned firearms instead of having to purchase their own. Rangers prior to that had to actually apply for a pistol permit. I agree Rangers are not in the backcountry as much as they used to be…say prior to 1970. Prior to that Rangers were stationed at many remote rangers cabins. They were an “occupying” force in the Forest Preserve. Rangers were removed from the cabins and most of them were burned down. Rangers today certainly still patrol the backcountry, camp and stay at the few remaining outposts. The low staffing levels, relative to the amount of Forest Preserve and easement lands makes their job much more difficult to cover interior areas frequently. By my research the “ranger per acre patrolled” is at it’s lowest number in their 100+ year history! Add to that, rangers respond to more S@R missions then ever before. How can you expect that some services will not suffer. Please do not think the dedication and commitment has waned within the ranger force. I can assure you it has not.

              • Boreas says:

                SV,

                Can’t agree more! Staffing should automatically increase with every acquisition and not wait until disasters occur to get the attention of state officials. The State should not be allowed to acquire new lands without additional funding in place to patrol and protect it. This is just common sense that officials seem to ignore. Write the Governor and make sure he adds appropriate staff funding to the budget!

                • Paul says:

                  “The State should not be allowed to acquire new lands without additional funding in place to patrol and protect it.”

                  You are absolutely right. Do you think that environmentalists would give up an opportunity to buy more land for the Forest Preserve because there isn’t sufficient funds to maintain it – not a chance. They will be supporting buying more land this year and next and the staffing will not be going up and they will be happy to see the problem get worse. All they want is more public land.

                  • Boreas says:

                    Paul,

                    I’m having trouble following your logic. Us nasty environmentalists encourage and help the state acquire the lands often through a 3rd party. But it is ultimately up to the state to determine if it is warranted and if they can afford it. Proper stewardship comes along with state acquisition of any lands and needs to be factored into the cost of ownership. If the state fails to fund the stewardship, one can hardly blame environmentalists. Rather, all parties need to wake up the elected officials in Albany to their responsibilities to provide proper stewardship of any and all state lands.

                    • Paul says:

                      The state is driven by politics. Those politics are influenced by special interest groups with deep pockets. What I would like to see is a group like the Nature Conservancy say to the state – sorry we are not going to sell you a parcel like Follensby Pond because you can’t properly maintain it. In my opinion many parcels would do better from an environmental perspective if the remain protected as private parcels (with conservation easements if necessary). Like you say the state should stop buying land that they cannot properly manage.

                    • Boreas says:

                      Paul,

                      I agree that perhaps TNC should hold on to especially sensitive lands. They do a good job of stewardship.

  9. Tim-Brunswick says:

    CONGRATS “ADKerDon” & “Joe”………………thatsa “BINGO”!!

  10. Freethedacks says:

    This whole discussion is an example of how insane we are as a society. As the State grabs more and more land within the Adirondacks, economic opportunity for the Adirondacker diminishes. That should be the most important discussion we are having. Instead, the usual suspects get their shorts in a knot over who can and who cannot use an old logging road, based on some BS written on paper years ago by a previous generation of control freaks (that being the sacrosanct SLMP). What’s really an outrage is that we have a taxpayer funded agency (the APA) spending time and resources on this issue. All so maybe a hundred people a year can go and see the latest “acquisition” of state land usurpation on boots but not bikes. Or maybe the bikes, but not the trucks with boats. Or maybe the trucks as long as they have a state employee driving it. This is all nonsense. We’ve got people dying all over the planet from wars and plunder whilst here in the Adirondacks we are arguing over who has the right to look at a lake!

  11. Charlie S says:

    Freethedacks says: “As the State grabs more and more land within the Adirondacks, economic opportunity for the Adirondacker diminishes.”

    What would you suggest Freet? Disneyworld? Mega shopping centers? Refreshment stands at trailheads? Souvenir stands? Housing developments? A free-for-all on trails with 4-wheelers or mountain bikes?
    Let’s turn it into what we’ve turned every other place into….a dysfuncional monotonous entertainment center. Hey Freet?

    • Freethedacks says:

      Hi Charlie, we don’t have Disneyworld but we do have the Great Escape and Santa’s Workshop. Last time I checked both entities are pretty significant contributors to the local economy and provide jobs for locals. And what’s wrong with housing developments? A little affordable housing for locals is not such a bad idea. In fact, Ausable Acres in Jay, a housing development from the 1960s, is perhaps the only place an Adirondacker can find a modest priced home. The refreshment stand sounds like a good idea, thanks for that one. I think a place at the trailhead that sells cold beer would be a welcome sight at the end of a long hike!

      • Ethan says:

        the problem is that without adequate regulation it doesn’t stop there. Let’s be honest, no one is going to travel to the Adirondacks to see Great Escape North. They travel there to see the woods. Take that away — put a recreation stand at every trailhead, amusement parks etc. etc. — and you’ll kill the region’s economy far more surely than any regulation the APA has done.

        • adkDreamer says:

          Adirondack Loj serves beer & wine. Hey what about the Exit 30 pull off where the occasional portable ‘snack shack’ appears?

        • Freethedacks says:

          Charlie, Ethan, et al…why must you go to the extreme? Allowing private enterprise to flourish does not necessarily lead to “Disneyland” or mega shopping centers. My point was, we already have some ticky tacky tourist development, and while you and I may not like it, many people do, and these entities do add to the economic bottom line. Ironically the largest, most disruptive developments of all within the Adirondacks are the state owned ski areas. Tell me how the massive development called Gore is in any way compliant within a wilderness (adjacent Siamese Ponds WA). But that’s OK because the development is allowed in the SLMP as “intensive use.” SO it’s all arbitrary, based upon some suit in an office in Albany making the determination. And now we are here arguing over the SLMP designation overlaid upon former private property which obviously has some human impact. Why designate it as “Primitive” when it is obviously not? The Wild Forest designation is clearly more applicable, except for the fact that wilderness advocates want the more limiting use classification. I would argue that labeling land “wilderness” makes human intrusion more conspicuous. Try finding solitude anywhere within the High Peaks “wilderness” on any weekend. The “road” to Mt Marcy sure seems to be non-compliant to a wilderness designation. And the 100 or so people you will meet on the summit on a summer’s day is not exactly the coveted “wilderness experience.” To the contrary, I can personally attest that the true wilderness experience is more likely found within the Wild Forest designated lands of the southern adirondacks There are actually trails that are hard to navigate because of the LACK of human traffic. And you probably won’t see another soul or your entire trip. So all you wilderness lovers are in the wrong place! My point here is sticking a label on a tract of land and attaching legalese restrictions upon it to appease a small group of people is all BS. And all this arguing back and for over designations is but shear insanity, when the economic conditions for the humans who happen to reside within the Blue Line (a fictional legalese designation if there was ever one) continues to degrade. 30 years ago the private-public land ration was 60/40. With 30 years of APA regulation, that ratio has flipped. How much more land must the state own so that the wilderness can be happy? And an even better question, why is the state the preferred manager/steward of Adirondack land by wilderness advocates? But the real big question is, how can humans thrive when they cannot use the land under there feet? Sounds a lot like neo-feudalism has arrived. Google “Agenda 2030” to see where this is all really going. Love you all!

  12. Charlie S says:

    “This is all nonsense. We’ve got people dying all over the planet from wars and plunder whilst here in the Adirondacks we are arguing over who has the right to look at a lake!”

    So let us plunder the Adirondacks so as to appease economic insecurity created by a dysfunctional system.

  13. Dave Gibson says:

    A brief comment of appreciation and respect for the job of the NYS DEC Forest Ranger, explained in this particular exchange by Scott Van Laer. And for the Rangers’ willingness to express themselves and broaden awareness of their critical role visa vi the public and the public’s Forest Preserve.

  14. Charlie s says:

    Ethan says: “Let’s be honest, no one is going to travel to the Adirondacks to see Great Escape North.”

    I’m not so sure Ethan.This society is all about entertainment. People need a diversion to get out of themselves. We’re generally an insecure species and if amusement centers were to be put up every other few miles in the Adirondacks I’m certain the main-streamers would flock to them by the hundred lots to satiate their desires.
    Of course our crafty capitalist leaders can capitalize on this and push for more and more deregulation and before you know it they’ll be more ugly housing developments,shopping centers,etc…. so that they can salivate over their newly created tax havens.

  15. Charlie s says:

    Freethedacks says: “As the State grabs more and more land within the Adirondacks, economic opportunity for the Adirondacker diminishes.”

    This is a national problem Freet not something that is unique to the Adirondacks.People are hurting everywhere thanks to a corrupt system that favors the rich at the expense of every thing else! Fifty years from now,or less,we’re going to be thinking less about economics than we are about the few wild places that remain. Some of us like when the State “grabs” more land. That means more wild places for wild animals and other species to co-exist though that still doesn’t guarantee their survival the way things are going what with the earth warming up,species migrating further north,more diseases coming in,etc. Every where man goes disease follows Freet. The expansion of wilderness will benefit future generations more than short term economics will.

  16. Charlie s says:

    Freethedacks says: ” we don’t have Disneyworld but we do have the Great Escape and Santa’s Workshop.”

    Santa is a fictitious character,a lie we tell our children. The Great Escape is Hollywood,television,millionaire entertainers passing balls around in fields…..
    We’re creatures of comfort.We’ll employ motorized contraptions more than we’ll put our feet to work.It’s in our conditioned nature to be this way and i’ll be darned if it isn’t making saps out of us.

  17. Paul Martz says:

    Motorized vehicles as well as bicycles should be banned from the ADK Park’s primitive areas. If they are allowed, the ranger’s work will be handicapped unless they are permitted to use motorized transportation. Also, motorized vehicles have breakdowns plus accidents. When those kinds of incidents occur, AAA will be seen driving to people’s rescue. I definitely oppose any effects to weaken the forever wild principle.

    Paul Martz
    Year round resident at Coreys

  18. Dave Gibson says:

    Paul Martz, I of course appreciate the values you espouse and objections to weakening wilderness guidelines; and acknowledge your additional point about the practical impacts of making primitive area exceptions in the master plan for mechanized uses on rough, eroding former roads with motorized maintenance. All this complicates response to accidents.