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.