Tuesday, February 20, 2024

A breakthrough in Adirondack land protection

follensby pond

The largest land protection initiative in the Adirondack Park in the last decade was announced on a virtual conference call last week.

The state is acquiring two conservation easements, including one on the famous Follensby Pond, from The Nature Conservancy for $9.3 million. About 14,600 acres will be protected overall. People have been waiting for some sort of news about this parcel since 2008 when TNC first purchased it.

The state is expecting to close on the easements in the spring, so we don’t have those documents for details. However, we learned that the state plans to mostly keep closed the 970-acre pond where Ralph Waldo Emerson and other philosophers camped. It will be open to researchers to study cold water fish and other climate-related questions. On Friday I spoke with Katie Petronis, deputy director of natural resources at the state Department of Environmental Conservation, and she said there will be some sort of public access but DEC and TNC are still working out what that will look like. It could be an annual guided tour or some sort of programming with another organization.

“But yes,” she said, “we do anticipate that we will come up with a program that will allow folks who want to get in and see the pond, to be able to go and see the pond.”

We are also coming up with a list of questions and answers to help better explain the easements and access going forward. I will share that when we have it. Feel free to send us your questions, too, and we’ll do our best to keep the page updated.

Debar Pond Lodge faces uncertain future

A constitutional amendment intended to save Debar Pond Lodge, a 1940s-era camp in the town of Duane, was pulled last month. The town of Duane pass a resolution at the end of December that was no longer in support of a land swap so that the lodge could be removed from forest preserve. The lodge remains a non-conforming structure on forest preserve lands and thus its fate is uncertain.

Public comment opportunities

View all APA public comment and hearing opportunities at: https://apa.ny.gov/Hearings/index.cfm.

    • National Grid is proposing to install a new midspan utility pole along an existing electricity distribution line within the County Route 30 (Gabriels-Onchiota Road) transportation and utility right-of-way in the town of Franklin. The new pole will be 34 feet tall. Comments are due March 7. To see site plans and submit comments, go to https://apa.ny.gov/Hearings/ApaCommentPopup.cfm?ProjectNumber=2024-0023.

View all the state Department of Environmental Conservation’s weekly environmental notice bulletin projects.

A programming note this week: The ENB entries appear to lack a contact person for some of these public comment entries. I have reached out to the DEC press office. Hopefully the notice bulletin links will soon be updated.

This first ran in Gwen’s weekly “Adirondack Report” newsletter. Click here to sign up. Photo by Carl Heilman II

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Gwen is the environmental policy reporter for Adirondack Explorer.

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