Saturday, August 20, 2016

Court Stops Tree Cutting On Forever Wild Lands Again

Peter Bauer measures a snowmobile trail near Newcomb.A justice from the Appellate Division, Third Department, of state Supreme Court, issued an order to show cause Friday to stay further tree cutting on the Forest Preserve by the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) as it builds a new 9-12 foot wide snowmobile thoroughfare between Newcomb and Minerva.

Last week a Supreme Court decision denied a motion for preliminary injunction against tree cutting by DEC, which had work crews cutting trees on the Forest Preserve this week. Tree cutting had been stopped for 25 days in mid-July thru mid-August. This new decision will halt tree cutting for the next ten days while the Appellate Division considers whether to issue an injunction during Protect the Adirondacks’ appeal of the Supreme Court decision.

The DEC has cut over 7,500 trees on 6.5 miles of the new community connector snowmobile trail from Newcomb to Minerva, including many located in old growth forest habitat. The DEC is planning to cut another 7,500 in the weeks ahead.

“Protect the Adirondacks is grateful that the Appellate Division, Third Department has acted to stop tree cutting by the Department of Environmental Conservation while we appeal the decision by the Supreme Court. We believe that the state is violating Article 14, Section 1, the forever wild provision of the State Constitution, with this high level of tree cutting and there should be no further tree cutting until this court case is completed,” said Peter Bauer, Executive Director of Protect the Adirondacks, in a statement sent to the press.

“This is one part of a larger lawsuit on the constitutionality on this high level of tree cutting on the Forest Preserve. Protect the Adirondacks believes that the Department of Environmental Conservation has overstepped what is lawful by cutting and destroying tens of thousands of trees to build a network of these new road-like trails. The Forest Preserve has never seen this level of abuse before by a state agency,” Bauer’s statement said.

In mid-July, the Appellate Division issued a temporary injunction to stop tree cutting on the Forest Preserve, which was lifted on August 9th by the decision in Supreme Court. Protect the Adirondacks is now appealing this decision and is pursuing a preliminary injunction against further tree cutting until this lawsuit is resolved.

Photo by Mike Lynch: Peter Bauer measures the width of a snowmobile trail under construction near Minerva.

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19 Responses

  1. Boreas says:

    Does anyone have a map or a link showing what part of the trail has been cut and what part is pending? I’m kinda losing track…

    • Boreasfisher says:

      I would like to know too…assume it is around Harris Lake/Santononi area. Nice to have a breather, in advance of a long sleep.

  2. Justin Farrell says:

    It is perfectly legal to make your own new ‘winter trails’ within the Adirondack forest preserve….on a pair of snowshoes. No tree cutting is necessary. 😉

  3. John says:

    Ya lost once with the Supreme Court state, so what makes ya think you’ll win again. The Supreme Court for NY State overrode the Appellate court before & they’ll do it again.

    • Running George says:

      That’s not the way it works. In New York the first level is the Supreme Court. After a ruling by the Supreme Court the first step in the appeals process is the Appellate Court which may over rule the Supreme Court. The final step is the Court of Appeals.

      In the current matter it is still up to the Supreme Court to issue a ruling on the merits of the case. If they rule against Protects! position, Protect! can still appeal to the Appellate courts.

  4. Mike says:

    Another example of special interests pushing their agenda. What happened to fair, reasonable, responsible, access for all? Diversity is divine.

    • Boreas says:


      Which special interest are you condemning? Snowmobilers or environmentalists?

    • SusannaDanna says:

      The problem is, motorized use spoils the trails’ enjoyment for everyone else. Not to mention the wildlife. Hikers and cross-country skiers can share, but snow mobiles can’t.

      • Cranberry Bill says:

        Thank you for the clickable photo of Peter Bauer. He looks like the man that I read.

  5. John says:

    Boreas, earlier this spring we walked the cut portion from the west side of 28N not far from the Boreas River. At that point about a quarter mile had been cut through some pristine boreal forest. From that point we bushwhacked NW toward Newcomb following the DEC trail tape markers until they petered out. Have no idea if any was cut from the other end or where the current cuts are. The article lacks in specificity. I saw no purpose/need for this expansion of the snowmobile trail network which is already extensive in the preserve.

  6. John says:

    If you don’t ride then I guess you have no reason to see the need for better access to the local towns in the area.

  7. SusannaDanna says:

    Thank goodness! Devastating our wild lands and terrorizing wildlife for the benefit of a few motorheads has got to stop. There may be a place for these things, but the lands we all want to use is not it. Thank you, Protect!

  8. Charlie S says:

    “The DEC has cut over 7,500 trees on 6.5 miles of the new community connector snowmobile trail from Newcomb to Minerva, including many located in old growth forest habitat.”

    Old growth? This is a good indicator of the mindset of the neo DEC. What a shame! Nothing surprises me anymore!

    • Boreas says:


      I don’t recall anything being said about this road being routed through old growth when it was proposed – or perhaps I wasn’t paying attention. Muir is rolling in his grave…

  9. john says:

    Well, if I cannot get the trees cut, I guess I’ll just have to settle for a majority of those old logging roads being opened up to snowmobile use. I’ll get trails one way or the other! That way I don’t have to cut down a single tree. I already have a ready made trail.

  10. Charlie S says:

    ” Muir is rolling in his grave…”

    So is Bob Marshall! Clarence Petty. Paul Schaefer….my grandfather. I suppose there’s a good chunk of people who have sway in these matters that would like to see everyone who is clear-headed or futuristic in their views,ie…men of wisdom,already in their graves. It would make it easier to administer their reckless natures against all things good that remain on planet earth including the majestic Adirondacks.

  11. Roger Jette says:

    “Tens of thousands”, …7,500
    Someone is exaggerating to push their point or just outright lying. That is the side I will not support.

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