Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Wild forest roads policy up for public comments

APA logo.

Ray Brook, NY – The Adirondack Park Agency Board, at its March 16, 2023 meeting, authorized a 30-day public comment period to solicit input to help inform the Board’s interpretation of the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan’s Wild Forest Basic Guideline No. 4, including a new No Material Increase Alternative #4.

The Agency will accept public comment through close of business on April 17, 2023. All public comments will be shared with the Department of Environmental Conservation, who the Agency works in consultation with on Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan implementation.

Wild Forest Basic Guideline No. 4 states:


Public use of motor vehicles will not be encouraged and there will not be any material increase in the mileage of roads and snowmobile trails open to motorized use by the public in wild forest areas that conformed to the master plan at the time of its original adoption in 1972.


The Agency is seeking comments regarding “No Material Increase” Alternative #4, which reads as follows:


The current estimated non-CP3 mileage of roads in lands classified as Wild Forest, 206.6 miles, does not constitute a material increase in road mileage since 1972, nor would increases of mileage up to and including the 1972 estimated mileage of 211.6.


In addition to offering this fourth alternative, staff acknowledged board members’ interest in employing a visitor use management framework (VUMF) in assessing road impacts and conditions and in informing management decisions. Efforts to develop a set of draft desired conditions for Wild Forest roads are underway.


Any proposals for the opening and/or continued maintenance of roads or CP-3 routes on Wild Forest shall be considered through the unit management planning process, and such proposals shall demonstrate adherence to the desired conditions for Wild Forest roads, particularly in maintaining “wild forest character” as identified in Wild Forest Roads and Administrative Roads Guideline #3 (SLMP Page 38) and “wild forest atmosphere” identified in Wild Forest Basic Guideline #1 (SLMP Page 35).


Existing roads and CP-3 routes that have been approved in UMPs have been found by the board to be in conformance with the State Land Master Plan, but the board did not specifically and explicitly address Park-wide mileage and materiality required by Wild Forest Basic Guideline No. 4. All future proposed CP-3 routes must meet desired conditions set forth for roads regardless of whether the board determines that these routes meet the definition of road per the State Land Master Plan.


The mileage of roads open for public use of motorized vehicles on lands under jurisdiction of DEC in existing areas classified Primitive, Historic, or Intensive Use will not be subject to Wild Forest Basic Guideline #4 but will be documented in the unit management planning process.


The previously presented NMI alternatives include the following:


NMI Alternative 1: 15% increase in road mileage

This alternative is consistent with the 2008 snowmobile trail NMI interpretation. Snowmobile trail and road mileage are both limited by Wild Forest basic guideline No. 4, such that the same threshold for what constitutes a material increase could be established for each.


NMI Alternative 2: Increase more than 15%

This alternative accounts for the fact that there is no replacement of road mileage closed due to reclassification of Wild Forest to Wilderness, Primitive, or Canoe areas (unlike snowmobile trails, see SLMP page 38). The Board would have to set the percentage or mileage increase if this alternative is pursued.


NMI Alternative 3: Increase less than 15%

This alternative recognizes that the SLMP treats roads and snowmobile trails differently in the SLMP, in the sense that snowmobile mileage that is lost due to reclassification may be replaced, but there is no such provision for roads. The Board would have to set the percentage or mileage increase if this alternative is pursued.


Presentation materials shared during the February 2023 meeting are available at:



Presentation materials shared during the March 2023 meeting, including a comprehensive synopsis of the issue and the three interpretations of the State Land Master Plan that staff have posed to the board, are available at:



Additional presentations and content can be found in the May, September, and November 2022 Agency mailing packets for the State Land committee: https://www.apa.ny.gov/Agenda/MonthlyMeeting.htm.


Please address all written comments to:


Megan Phillips, Deputy Director for Planning

Adirondack Park Agency

P.O. Box 99

Ray Brook, NY 12977

Phone: (518) 891-4050

Email: SLMP_UMP_Comments@apa.ny.gov  



Photo at top: Image courtesy of the Adirondack Park Agency.


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3 Responses

  1. Rob says:

    Hopefully there are some changes made to this. Would be nice to see more trails added in the Adirondacks

  2. Paul says:

    After the “old Mt road” (final) decision have they made a determination of how many other roads were illegally closed on state land, and which ones towns need to decide on?

  3. Wayne Kobler says:

    I pay,I pay,I pay so I can legally enjoy snowmobile trails,along with thousands of New York residents and snowmobile tourists from other states as well pay to come enjoy the snowmobile trails and the 6 million acres of scenery.Limiting and MICRO MANAGING the BEST snowmobile trails is killing this lucrative TOURIST based sport.With lack of snow the last 5 years,New Yorkers and Tourist are being forced to trailer to the Higher Snow areas of our state namely the Adirondack Park.As this Micro managing grows the trails we have to ride on are reduced thus creating a huge need for a higher level of maintenance to this limited system.I have ridden snow machines for 40 years in THIS state and I have found the Adirondacks to be the most scenic and the best snow conditions and laws created 50 years ago by someone who never enjoyed snowmobiling intend to not let us use the THOUSANDS of miles of EXISTING truck trails in these 6 million acres is simply UNPRACTICAL,UNSAFE,UNUSEABLE,and UNREALISTIC.The joy on families faces is being limited by NYS and APA.A child who experiences snowmobiling in the Adirondacks returns to the Adirondacks for his or hers while life.Is that not what the APA and the DEC were created to insure the USE of the Adirondack Park for ever,not limit peoples experiences and joy?????We need to utilize the motor vehicle roads that already exist and spread out the trails to ride on,NYS continues to think that snowmobiles should all use the same trail when 95% of the riding is on Saturday everyone’s day off,creating the I-95 Interstate effects in scenic,beautiful,ADK PARK,New Yorkers and Tourists will continue to travel to the best snow areas in NYS which is the ADK PARK and is going to be interesting if NYS.APA and the DEC embrace it,and grow the sport so people can enjoy it,or kill it for no GOOD reason.

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