Eight years after landowners sued him, outgoing Adirondack Explorer Editor Phil Brown will stand trial in August in a case that could clarify paddlers’ rights in the Adirondacks and perhaps the state.
Brown was sued for trespass in 2010 after canoeing through land owned by the Brandreth Park Association and the affiliated Friends of Thayer Lake. The disputed waterway — Mud Pond, Mud Pond Outlet, and a part of Shingle Shanty Brook — connects two pieces of the state-owned William C. Whitney Wilderness.
Brown, who wrote about the trip for the Explorer in 2009, had been scheduled to stand trial in July, but the trial was postponed to August 20. It will be held in New York State Supreme Court in Johnstown and is expected to last into September.
New York State has joined the lawsuit in defense of the public right of navigation on the waterway.
State Supreme Court Justice Richard Aulisi, the presiding judge, dismissed the lawsuit in in 2013. The state Appellate Division upheld that decision, but the Court of Appeals, the state’s highest tribunal, ruled in 2016 that a trial needed to be held.
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Adirondack Explorer is the publisher of Adirondack Almanack.
Photo of Phil Brown canoeing Shingle Shanty Brook in 2009 (photo by Susan Bibeau).