Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Court Blocks Bridge Over River Designated Scenic

New York Supreme Court Judge Robert Muller issued a temporary restraining order on Friday blocking the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation from constructing a new 140-foot steel motor vehicle bridge over the Cedar River.

DEC wants to build the bridge to create a shorter snowmobile route between Indian Lake and Newcomb.  The planned route also requires a second legally questionable bridge across the Boreas River, also designated  Scenic, as well as permissions from numerous land owners.

The restraining order was issued in response to a lawsuit brought in January by Adirondack Wild: Friends of the Forest Preserve and Protect the Adirondacks! claiming that the new bridge violates the State’s Wild, Scenic and Recreational Rivers System Act.

The suit challenges DEC’s issuance of a permit to itself for the bridge construction as violating the River Act’s prohibition of motorized recreation, including snowmobiling, in Scenic river areas. The lawsuit also claims that DEC failed to conduct the required legal and environmental reviews prior to issuing the permit.

Adirondack Wild’s David Gibson told the press that the judge prevented DEC from cutting trees, clearing the river bank, driving steel pilings and pouring cement at the remote Cedar River site.

“The proposed bridge is redundant because several miles upstream there is already a motor vehicle bridge over the Cedar River which connects the communities of Indian Lake and Newcomb,” said Peter Bauer, Executive Director of Protect the Adirondacks, in a statement sent to the press. “There are currently two other lawsuits which are pending in higher courts that would also prevent this bridge from being constructed. We see no valid demonstrated public need for the State to build this bridge at this time.”

The Judge rejected DEC’s argument that the Court lacked authority to issue the order because the Department had a statutory duty to build the bridge, ruling instead that constructing the bridge was discretionary.

The restraining order will remain in place until July 19, when the Court will hear arguments on a preliminary injunction motion.

Photo of Cedar River, roughly where DEC wants to build the new steel bridge provided by David Gibson. Map provided by Adirondack Atlas.



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22 Responses

  1. Ethan says:

    What was the DEC’s motive for constructing yet *another* bridge over the Cedar River? Caution to our agency responsible for ENVIRONMENTAL CONSERVATION. The judge’s ruling is a good one.

  2. Boreasfisher says:

    Good on you ADK Wild, and good for the Adirondacks!

  3. Todd Eastman says:

    “The Judge rejected DEC’s argument that the Court lacked authority to issue the order because the Department had a statutory duty to build the bridge, ruling instead that constructing the bridge was discretionary.”

    The DEC’s claim seems like total BS…

    Good for the judge to call that out.

  4. Sand pond says:

    Part of the multi-use community connector trail (snowmobile,bikes,hikers,horses,xc -ski etc.)Like there weren’t enough trails already.Connecting Indian lake around to Newcomb to North Hudson via Boreas tract.Pristine habitat destroyed for basically snowmobiles.The bridge at Palmer pond in North Hudson at a cost of 950,000$ is still the bridge to no where.From North Hudson up to Newcomb thru Boreas tract more bridges will be needed.The State (DEC) will break their own laws/regs for a project that is a done deal regardless of the damage,pollution and utter disregard to the environment. But let’s ban e-bikes,chainsaws,quads,side road parking and close down long lived hunting clubs along with any logging on state land.Ridiculous!

    • Hoffman Notch says:

      That trail coming from North Hudson will likely cut right through the Hoffman Fish & Game Protective Association (Hoffman Club). A Multi Use Club that has stood for Decades (60+ Years) on Leased Land. YES…Leased Land…we pay for the right to use the land so that others can come through scott free? Camp owners on that property now run the risk of having Horses, Snowmobiles and Hikers walk right up to their front doors. Money payed from those clubs goes towards paying taxes in North Hudson. So you can imagine that camp owners might not relish the idea of a State Maintained “Multi-Use” trail coming smack dab through the middle of the property (when there are adequate routes around). ATV use is permitted on club trails and roads…it is only a mater of time before an ATV and a Horse come face to face on those trails. When push comes to shove…this is why the good people of these clubs disappear. Because even though they were there first…they will lose that fight! If the Gooley Club can be dismantled by the great state of NY…So can every other!

      • John Warren says:

        If the club is leased, it has an owner. That owner decides what happens to their property. It’s their decision, not the renters’.

      • Dana says:

        If the connector trail is built, ATVs will likely not be allowed on it – only snowmobiles. But first make sure the trail is actually slated to go through the leased property. I would think the owner would have discussed it with you if it was.

  5. Paul says:

    Don’t have a dog in this fight but the alternative bridge at another spot that is described does not look to be in very good shape. I suspect it would require more maintenance than a more modern type of structure. As a compromise how about build the new safer bridge and remove the old one. There was apparently a bridge here in the same spot. Sure it was private land at the time but it’s still a bridge.

  6. ADKStampede says:

    How much $$Money$$ did frontier town campgrounds cost to build!!??!!

  7. AdkStampede says:

    And why do they think they can violate mother natures ground

  8. Steve B. says:

    This is essentially a connector of the south section of the Gooley Club road to the roads in and around the Essex Chain. In addition to snowmobiles, it could be used by hikers, horses and bicycles.

    As much as I would love to be able to have a bridge so as to bike in this area, the judge made a good call, that the DEC is violating state law (concerning scenic rivers) with a bridge at this location as well as the illegal end run the state is taking by issuing itself a permit.

  9. Peter Klein says:

    I am sick of all the environmental groups and the judges they have bought.
    When it comes to swamps, not all the swamps are in D.C. Many are here in the Demoncratic controlled government in Albany.
    Impeach the judge and build the bridge.

  10. Dominic Jacangelo says:

    This is just another bite of the apple. They could not win when the lands were first classified and pushed for all the property to be all wilderness.. they could not win when they fought the trails plan for the Vanderwhacker Complex rec plan, so let’s just take the bridge to court. The APA already determined that the trail was not redundant to other trails in their adopting the land classification resolution, now so many years ago. Hey guys if you did not notice, if your plan is to delay with a hope of a change in administration, you have a long time to wait. DEC has clear authority to build a bridge for recreational purposes. If you want to ban snowmobiles from it… so be it, we’ll just cross on the ice as we have for generations or take the southern alternative trail envisioned in the classification document by the APA. But your actions deny every other outdoor recreational enthusiasts a safe Cedar River crossing.

  11. Sandpond says:

    Hey Hoff Notch I am sure the state of NY/DEC has the foresight and wisdom to not cross a club like that.If they do want a right away to cross I am sure the owner has fought tooth and nail and doesn’t want to lose its lease members.If the right away is granted it will be for a small (snowmobile wide) swath of trail that the trespassers will be restricted to.Any deviation from that is your clubs right to detain and have arrested said violators. If they cross your roads you have the right away and they must use extreme caution to avoid your vehicles,quads and said course of travel.Besides who wants to go thru a hunting club property while a great number of club members are hunting shooting ,riding and enjoying their lease…doesn’t sound to bright.God bless you hunt club members who are a NY State after thought!!

  12. Sand pond says:

    Ooooh btw when the community connector trail (snowmobile) does reach Gulf Brook rd. has NYS/DEC picked out the place to put a NEW bridge over the Boreas river and have they issued themselves a permit already ??!! Maybe that’s why Gulf Brook rd is closed Mon-Fri til August??

  13. Sand pond says:

    Why has DEC not let the public know that Gulf Brook road is now open again Mon-Fri.??Supposed to be closed M-F til August??? And the out of State visitor who gets to access for free should be greatful.Mean while the gate is closed and locked during hunting season all thou WE PAY to go in there!!! Any comments..?

    • John Warren says:

      That information has been on the DEC website and announced in the Outdoors Conditions report here at Adirondack Almanack on Thursdays.

      You can in fact hunt in there anytime you want and the gate is not closed during hunting season, except when the road becomes impassible due to deep snow or mud, as was the case for some of the Big Game season last fall. DEC cannot continuously plow all backcountry roads for the benefit of a relatively tiny number of people who would hunt there. That doesn’t mean you don’t have access. They do also keep plenty of more popular hunting areas plowed.

      Because they are working this summer to considerably improve Gulf Brook Road and build out the area’s infrastructure (to make access even easier) it has been typically closed during the week since mud season ended, while work is underway, and reopened for weekends. There has been some delay in the work, and the past couple weeks the road has been open during the week, and on Tuesday DEC announced it would be closed Wednesday and Thursday this week and will reopen for the weekend. The upcoming holiday week will no doubt change the schedule somewhat as well, but it’s always announced on the DEC website and here at the Almanack.

  14. Boreas says:

    Try asking DEC:


    Ray Brook Headquarters
    P.O. Box 296
    1115 NYS Route 86
    Ray Brook, NY 12977
    Telephone: (518)897-1200

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