The Adirondack Council has reviewed the agenda for the upcoming February 14-15 Adirondack Park Agency Board meeting. We offer the following comments and suggestions:
1. P2018-218 Approval of Trail Enhancements at the Frontier Town Campground, Equestrian and Day Use Area: (Support) As the Council stated in comments at the public hearing in North Hudson on January 23, 2019, the Council appreciates that the proposed enhancements primarily use natural materials and seek to minimize impacts to wetlands and other sensitive areas on the site. The Council supports these enhancements and hopes that future construction of trails leading from the Frontier Town complex onto the Forest Preserve will also use natural construction materials to the greatest extent possible and in keeping with approved best management guidelines.
2. Climate Change in the Adirondacks: Predictions, Evidence, and Monitoring for Changes that Can Impact Local Communities and Ecosystems Presentation: The Council applauds the APA for embracing the issue of climate change in the North Country. Given the Governor’s ambitious vision regarding climate change in the State of the State, now is the time for bold action. As future renewable energy projects figure more prominently in the work of the APA, the Agency will be an important forum for engaging on this important issue. All should benefit from the presentation by the Paul Smith’s College faculty summarizing current scientific information on climatic changes on the ecosystems, plants, and wildlife in the Northeast and the Adirondacks. Looking forward, renewable energy projects in the Park should be considered and developed consistent with the attached principles.
3. Saranac Lakes Wild Forest UMP, Board Adoption of Resolution on APSLMP Conformance: (Support if amended) In the Council’s July 13, 2018 comment letter, a number of substantive SLMP compliance issues, including carrying capacity concerns, were raised. Recent unit management plans like Vanderwhacker Mountain and Hammond Pond Wild Forests have included implementation language about the phased wildlands monitoring program. Given the high level of use the Saranac Lakes Wild Forest experiences, the Council encourages the APA to incorporate the same monitoring and limits of acceptable change language into this UMP, and to do what is required regarding carrying capacity. The brief statement included on page 149 of the redline version is insufficient. The plan should also explicitly recognize the waters as “Wild Forest.”
In closing, the Adirondack Council appreciates the complexity and wide variety of issues that regularly come before the Park Agency. It is appreciated when there is opportunity provided for consideration of comments.