Tuesday, September 5, 2023

The case of the missing management plans

UMP map

The September/October issue of our magazine is out, and in it you can read about unit management plans. It is difficult to make any sentence sound exciting with the phrase “unit management plans” in it, but here’s why they are important. “UMP’s,” as they’re often called, are inventories of physical and natural resources in an area of the park. They also include a list of projects the state Department of Environmental Conservation wishes to accomplish. No UMP? No project. This includes hiking trails, campsites, water body studies, ski trails, parking lots—any variety of recreation or natural resource protection projects.

We found that hundreds of thousands of acres in the Adirondack Park are without UMPs. That includes Lake George Wild Forest, one of the most accessible places in the park. That means the eroded trail up Prospect Mountain cannot be rerouted. A designated trail up Rogers Rock cannot be made. The William C. Whitney Wilderness, dubbed by the state the “crown jewel of the Adirondacks,” is without a UMP, too. The state is relying on a stewardship management plan from the ‘90s, which some say isn’t protective enough.

If you aren’t already subscriber, you can sign up for our bimonthly magazine here: https://www.adirondackexplorer.org/subscribe. The article includes the map below, provided by the DEC, which shows the status of these plans across the park.

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


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Gwen is the environmental policy reporter for Adirondack Explorer.

9 Responses

  1. Keith says:

    The Draft UMP for the Wilcox Lake Wild Forest was issued in 2006. I was told by DEC’s Kirsten Seleen that it would be finalized in 2021 with development plans for trail work off Lens Lake Road in Stony Creek and a parking lot in Day, NY.
    When I explained to her that the portion of road in Day was illegally built and sent her all the historical proof and current Day tax map, she no longer takes my calls or responds to emails.
    The 800 acre Livingston Lake Club at the end of this remote road is a vacation haven for 7 wealthy, primarily out-of-state owners that FRAUDELENTLY pay no taxes on their illegally accessed land. An illegally obtained Fisher Act Tax exemption.

    This is only one of what may be many tricky issues that DEC & APA has to deal with that will forever delay the finalization of the WLWFUMP!

    • Paul says:

      Keithe, What do you mean “pay no taxes” I see tax bills in the Day property tax website (Saratoga County) for these camps? I was just curious so I had to go take a look.

      • Keith says:

        The 7 individual homeowners pay tax on their small subdivided lots.
        The Livingston Lake Club, 810 acre parcel has a Fisher Act tax exemption which by law requires legal access for forestry management.
        Look at the Day tax map. No road…though one illegally exists.
        This is a century long tax fraud that was aided by corrupt DEC foresters when this tax exemption was established.
        I have all the historical maps. Letter from Day supervisor stating that they have no knowledge of a road at this location.
        I would be happy to provide you with all the documentation I have collected in the 23 years that I have been witnessing this scam.

        • Paul says:

          No, but thanks for the info. Just one more, so is the tax exemption legal or illegal as you said in your comment? Illegal and “you don’t like it” are different things.. There are lots of roads like this on the Forest Preserve, the way I see it, this is a consequence of managing a patchwork of private and public lands. The alternative would be to manage it like these other “true” parks mentioned.

          • Keith says:

            Historical maps provided to me by DEC show no road at this location prior to NYS aquisition. This 810 acre lot was sold by the Livingston Trust to ancestors of the current owners shortly after NYS land aquisitions eliminated all legal access to the site.
            The road that is there today through Stony Creek and Day was illegally constructed over Forest Preserve, a definite illegality then and now.
            Stony Creek shows a road on their tax map ending at the town line. Day shows no road on their tax map. Stony Creek has been involved in this for a century.

            The Fisher Act is a legitimate tax exemption granted to large land owners.
            A specific requirement to be eligible is “legal access”. This 810 acre tax exempt parcel has no legal access as anyone can readily see on tax maps.
            DEC inadvertantly supplied me with an old map 1926?? prepared by a Conservation Dept forester showing the Stony Creek / Day boundary drawn where the existing road intersects with the parcel. A fraudlent document that was probably furnished to qualify for the Fisher Act exemption.

            This is an incredible story, unbelieveable until you look at all the available public records.
            DEC is doing nothing. Only DEC lawyers will even talk to me to simply “stonewall”. Town of DAY has no interest in pursuing this 100 year tax scam that must have cost the town close to a million dollars to date.

            • Paul says:


              Perhaps your assessment is correct but there are also other real property legal issues that could apply here. For example this could be a “proscriptive easement” that the current owners have making the road perfectly legal. If they have been using this road for access for decades like you suggest, with no objection from the current owner (NYS) as you also suggest, then the owners can argue that they have a easement. The current owners don’t have to worry about how the thing originally got there, even if there were some shenanigans with the past owners.

              More legal info here:


              Have a good weekend!

              • Keith says:

                Thanks for your input.
                Consider this. 2006 Wilcox Lake Wild Forest Draft UMP describes this 1 mile long section of road through the Forest Preserve as a “non-DEC” road whose legality is questionable.
                The 1990, 2020 Vision Report on the Adirondacks, cited The Livingston Lake Parcel as well as the last private property in Stony Creek for State aquisition, for the purpose of establishing a recreational area.

                The Livingston Lake Club is not a person but a large, politically connected NYS law firm that receives this fraudulent tax exemption.The 7 individual homeowners are protected from liability.

                The recently completed study conducted by the APA on Adirondack road mileage includes a road map that does not even show the portion of road in Day and they ignore my request for an explanation.

                You have to know the back story on how I was forced to become aware of this fraud. I purchased a legal building lot on the road neighboring this fraud. The Livingston Lake Club mounted a three year opposition campaign calling on their friends in APA management to try and keep me off my property.

                Have a good weekend too.

  2. Paul says:

    Also, the DEC has created some of these issues. By doing things like illegally closing roads (Old Mountain Road in Keene is an obvious example) on land purchased by the state. So it’s a legal quagmire.

  3. Paul says:

    The map here shows the Debar Mountain Wild Forest UMP “under development”. It was completed in 2020.

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