Adirondack Wild: Friends of the Forest Preserve has submitted comments (Comment Letter) to the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) opposing what it describes as DEC’s attempt to issue itself a permit to build an illegal snowmobile bridge over the protected Cedar River in the Adirondack Park.
The Cedar River was designated by the Legislature in 1972 as a “Scenic” river under the New York Wild, Scenic and Recreational Rivers Act. The Act prohibits construction of new, motorized bridges over Scenic rivers and also prohibits snowmobiles and other motorized recreational uses within one-quarter mile of Scenic rivers.
The following is from a press release issued by Adirondack Wild:
DEC proposal would irretrievably damage the scenic, tranquil, currently non-motorized Cedar River shoreline, which lies within the State-owned Essex Chain of Lakes Complex. The proposed new snowmobile bridge would be nearly 140-feet long and 12-feet wide, and would be the only man-made structure along this scenic and remote part of the Cedar River. Despite the clear legal prohibition against such intrusive and incompatible uses on a Scenic river, DEC proposes to issue itself a permit purportedly exempting it from the River Act’s requirements.
Adirondack Wild has called upon DEC to hold an adjudicatory hearing before an administrative law judge in order to resolve the substantive and significant legal issues raised by DEC’s proposal.
“DEC is required by law to abide by the protections given to Scenic Rivers. This proposal is a blatant effort to evade those protections,” said Adirondack Wild’s David Gibson. “We urge DEC to follow the law and regulations protective of our beautiful Adirondack rivers. It’s really that simple.”
The bridge proposal is part of DEC’s plan to build a new snowmobile trail through State Forest Preserve lands classified as Wilderness on one side and Primitive on the other side in order to connect the communities of Indian Lake and Minerva. However, as Adirondack Wild has pointed out, those communities are already connected and served by an existing and well-used snowmobile trail.
Adirondack Wild is a non-profit, membership-supported organization which acts on behalf of wilderness and wild land values and stewardship throughout the region. For more information about the organization visit their website.
Photo of existing snowmobile crossing of the Cedar River by Dave Gibson.