Monday, November 19, 2018

Blue Ridge Wilderness Snowmobile Trail Being Planned

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has announced they are seeking public input regarding a proposal in an amendment to the Blue Ridge Wilderness Unit Management Plan (UMP) to develop a Community Connector Snowmobile Trail in Hamilton County.

The proposed trail extends the Seventh Lake Mountain Trail to Sargent Ponds Multiple-Use Trail and will be maintained as a Class II Community Connector Snowmobile Trail. Establishing a connecting trail between Indian Lake and Long Lake was included as community connection goal in the 2006 Snowmobile Plan for the Adirondack Park and the 2011 Moose River Plains Wild Forest Unit Management Plan. A press release from DEC said the agency is working to relocate designated snowmobile trails away from water bodies for safety reasons.

A public meeting will be held at 6 pm on Nov. 28, 2018, at the Raquette Lake Union Free School District, 115 Route 28, Raquette Lake. The meeting facility is wheelchair accessible. Provide requests for specific accommodations to (518) 623-1275 at least one week in advance.

The proposed trail segment within the Blue Ridge Wilderness will start at the bridge over the South Inlet of Raquette Lake and follow a route parallel to the south side of New York State Route 28 eastward for approximately four miles to private property near Bear Brook.

The Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan allows DEC, in conformance with a duly adopted unit management plan, to locate a snowmobile trail within 500 feet of the wilderness where the wilderness boundary abuts a public highway.

The Draft UMP Amendment is available on the DEC website to view or download.

The deadline for public comments is December 7, 2018. Provide comment at the public meeting, mail to Forester Nick Addison, NYSDEC, P.O. Box 1316, Northville, NY 12134, or email to R5.ump@dec.ny.gov. DEC considers all comment equally no matter how they are received.

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4 Responses

  1. Todd Eastman says:

    Looks like the Cuomo administration has yet to find a Wilderness that they won’t violate…

    • Jim Halpert says:

      While I agree that the administration has pushed the bounds on areas such as Boreas Ponds I don’t agree that that this action is a violation of Wilderness. The action is approved by the APSLMP, will be within 500′ of the highway so that it remains on the periphery of the unit, and is ultimately providing a safer route for snowmobilers, while also allowing for a longer hiking route.

      • Todd Eastman says:

        Yup, and then the noise buffer?

        And place the snomo trail within 25 ft of the highway…

      • Boreas says:

        Jim,

        Wilderness is being violated, just not the SLMP. In the future, will the SLMP be amended again to allow a Class I trail system yet another 250 feet into the Wilderness side of the C lass II trail?

        See Todd’s comment about a noise buffer. 250 feet doesn’t sound like much, but any snowmobile activity can be heard for amazing distances depending on weather and terrain conditions. It is especially noticeable to people who camp in winter. In a previous life, there were few places even in Wilderness areas I could camp in winter that I didn’t hear the whine of snowmobiles on trails or lakes – especially on a clear, cold night. It is hard enough simply getting away from automobile noise. But you could probably route Class II trails 1/4 mile away from a road on the OPPOSITE side from a wild area and the snowmobile noise would still be more noticeable than the road traffic, which is typically mostly tire noise. Higher snowmobile speeds = more engine noise. It sure seems to me they could make the engines quieter, but that would likely be enforced as well as motorcycle noise. Don’t EVEN get me started on that…

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