By Harsh Vaish, Skidmore College
The Department of Environmental Conservation – henceforth referred to as DEC – has been developing plans for major community connector snowmobile trails between Adirondack communities for a number of years. Protect the Adirondacks first sued the DEC in 2013, contending the trials cause significant environmental damage and violate the Constitutional clause for the ‘forever wild’.
Peter Bauer, executive director of Protect the Adirondacks, the environmental organization that sued to block the construction said the litigation is about Class 2 snowmobile trails and not hiking trails. He specifically called out the Adirondack Mountain Club and Open Space Institute’s concerns “specious claims.”
I agree with Mr. Bauer’s claims about the case. I believe that the removal of trees from the Forever Wild area will negatively impact the ecology. The number of trees being cut in the 25 miles of these trails has violated the forever wild clause in the state constitution, according to Protect the Adirondack. The clause ensures that millions of acres of forest preserve lands are protected for future generations, and prevents the harvest and sale of timber.
I understand the sentiment of wanting an area of wild that is used for recreational activities, but the park already does contain a lot of land for those purposes. There are trekking and other commuter connector trails available in other parts of their park. I believe that if the DEC would like to take the forever wild land then another piece of land should be categorized as the forever wild or the DEC should offer and give up some of their other lands back towards the preservation of the ecology and the forest land.
-Harsh Vaish is a junior at Skidmore College majoring in environmental studies.
Please note that comments and commentary included on the Adirondack Almanack are those of the individuals and not the Adirondack Almanack or Adirondack Explorer. Send in your commentary to Almanack Editor Melissa Hart at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo: Seventh Lake Mountain Class II Snowmobile Connector Trail/Almanack archive