Alternative snowmobile corridors proposed in the Remsen – Lake Placid Travel Corridor Draft Amendment violate the law and the “forever wild” mandate of the NYS Constitution and should be immediately removed from the draft according to Adirondack Wild: Friends of the Forest Preserve.
“The Department of Environmental Conservation’s inclusion of highly controversial alternative snowmobile routes which violate the law and a July 2019 court decision in a document dedicated to a Travel Corridor makes no sense to us,” the group’s managing partner David Gibson said in a statement sent to the press.
“This plan should stick to its topic, meaning the future of linear Rail and Recreational Trail segments from Big Moose to Lake Placid, and avoid mapping snowmobile community connectors outside of the Corridor on Forest Preserve which needlessly raise red flags and which blatantly violate wilderness law and a recent court decision.”
The Travel Corridor amendment includes “Snowmobile Trail Alternative 4, Long Lake to Raquette Lake,” which runs four miles through the Blue Ridge Wilderness. This would be in violation of the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan and Article XIV of the NYS Constitution, the group’s press announcement said.
“The Travel Corridor document inaccurately states on page 76 that this Wilderness motorized corridor is ‘approved in the Moose River Plains Wild Forest.’ In fact, it is still being considered by DEC as a draft amendment to the Blue Ridge Wilderness UMP. That proposal received heavy criticism in late 2018 from Adirondack Wild and others for violating Wilderness guidelines and the NYS Constitution. Public motorized uses in Wilderness areas are strictly prohibited,” the announcement said.
Adirondack Wild cited another example a proposed alternative snowmobile route at the edge of the Round Lake Wilderness Area. This proposal “has been heavily criticized for decades and… could not pass constitutional tests,” they said.
Adirondack Wild’s position is that both proposed alternatives would require the cutting of many thousands of trees on Forest Preserve which would be in direct violation of the July 2019 Appellate Court decision declaring such intensive tree-cutting on the Forest Preserve to be a violation of Article XIV of the NYS Constitution.
“Why the DEC’s draft Travel Corridor Plan got so far off track to include alternative snowmobile routes which would conflict with the state constitution and the master plan is very perplexing,” Gibson’s statement said. “Proposing Forest Preserve snowmobile routes many miles distant from the Travel Corridor itself completely ignores last July’s Appellate Court prohibition on extensive tree cutting and other legal issues.”
“The sensible course is for DEC to immediately remove the Alternative Snowmobile Route section of the Travel Corridor Draft plan,” said Gibson. “The focus should be on the future of the Rail and Trail from Tupper Lake to Lake Placid and not on more motorized uses requiring extensive tree cutting on Forest Preserve which a court has already decided is unconstitutional.”
The DEC’s public comment period on the Draft Remsen – Lake Placid Travel Corridor Amendment has been extended until January 8, 2020.
Map of Remsen – Lake Placid Travel Corridor provided by DEC.