Thursday, May 13, 2021

This week’s APA meeting and the tree-cutting decision

fish creekWe have another jam-packed Adirondack Park Agency meeting to look forward to this week.

The board will hear from staff about solar projects in the park, upgrades to the Fish Creek Pond Campground and the long-awaited visitor use management and wildlands monitoring guidance that has been delayed the last couple of meetings. I have a preview of the meeting up on our website. I’ll be covering the meetings, too, for you.

If you’d like to listen in for yourself, go to apa.ny.gov for the agenda and the virtual meeting info.

It’s not on the agenda, but I’m also wondering if the Adirondack Park Agency will discuss the Court of Appeals ruling that was handed down Tuesday last week. The state’s highest court ruled that Class II community connector trails, which are trails big enough and graded to accommodate snowmobiles, were unconstitutional. The majority said the trails required cutting too many trees and violated the “forever wild” clause of the state constitution. The 4-2 decision was in favor of Protect the Adirondacks, which brought the suit against the state Department of Environmental Conservation and the Adirondack Park Agency.

What we don’t know yet is how far-reaching this decision is. Protect the Adirondacks and several environmental organizations in favor of its side have said they believe the decision only impacts these community connector trails. Others worry that the decision will impact more than that, including hiking trail maintenance, new hiking trails and campground maintenance. So far the APA and DEC are consulting with the state Attorney General’s Office to get guidance on that. As we learn more, we’ll have more information for you.

Editor’s note: This first appeared in Gwen’s weekly “Adirondack Report” newsletter. Click here to sign up.

Fish Creek Pond Campground photo by Mike Lynch/Explorer

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Gwen is the environmental policy reporter for Adirondack Explorer.




One Response

  1. Lorraine Duvall Lorraine Duvall says:

    About tree cutting – from the website for Protect the Adirondacks:
    ———————–
    “We’ve heard a lot of handwringing that somehow this ruling will prevent hiking trail construction or maintenance. Those wringing their hands are either under the impression that somehow they need to cut down 1,000 or so trees per mile 1” DBH or bigger to build or maintain a hiking trail, or they are simply attempting to mislead the public.

    Class II trails are nothing like hiking trails. For example, 13 trees were cut to build the popular new 1-mile-long Coney Mountain Trail south of Tupper Lake. The new 1.3-mile Goodman Mountain trail had 63 trees cut. Under the Court’s decision, this type of trail can continue to be built and maintained. There are simply no hiking trails that require cutting hundreds of trees per mile. No hiking trails require the massive terrain alterations required to build Class II trails, or are constructed with multi-ton excavators.”

    https://www.protectadks.org/time-for-nys-department-of-environmental-conservation-and-cuomo-administration-to-get-on-the-right-side-of-forever-wild/

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