Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Willie Janeway On ORDA Facility Upgrades

whiteface mtnThe State Olympic Regional Development Authority (ORDA) is accepting comments on a major and much needed multi-million dollar upgrade to its facilities in the Adirondack and Catskill Parks. In particular, ORDA is proposing multiple improvements at Whiteface and Gore Mountain Ski Centers through amendments to each facility’s Unit Management Plan (UMP). Proposed improvements include the addition or replacement of ski lifts, widening of trails, creation of new trails, and re-classification of Forest Preserve lands.

While these improvements appear to be needed to modernize the ORDA recreational facilities, they must to be legal and demonstrate responsible environmental stewardship. The public can provide written comments until February 9, 2018 and are strongly encouraged to add their voice to the larger discussion. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, January 31, 2018

David Brunner, Joe Martens Join Adk Land Trust Board

Adirondack Land TrustDavid Brunner and Joe Martens have joined the board of directors of the Adirondack Land Trust.

David Brunner, of Au Sable Forks, owns and operates Asgaard Farm & Dairy with his wife, Rhonda Butler. Asgaard was the home of artist Rockwell Kent from the 1920s until his death in 1971. Brunner and Butler acquired the farm in 1988. After working to restore the land and buildings, they put the former dairy farm back into production in 2003. Today Asgaard is known for award-winning goat cheeses and pastured meats, including beef, pork and poultry. Brunner worked previously in finance with BNP Paribas. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Gibson: Proposal for Boreas Ponds Falls Short

boreas ponds classification mapOne could almost hear the exhalation of relief by environmentalists when they learned this week that the Governor’s DEC and APA had decided on “Alternative 2 B” for the Boreas Ponds State Land classification.

Large, obvious violations of law were to be avoided, so they learned. Fears held over the past year were apparently allayed. There would be no unclassified area reserved for a future glamorous camping (“glamping”) in the interior, and no bicycle route on vanishing old roads cloaked by balsam fir leading north towards White Lily Pond and the High Peaks Wilderness. Under “2B” the Boreas Ponds themselves at 1200 feet elevation would be incorporated in that Wilderness, as would the boreal forest stretching north to 3,700 feet and the existing High Peaks Wilderness border. Motorized and mechanized access would end at the Boreas Ponds Dam, eight miles in from county highway, or Blue Ridge Road.

I confess I exhaled as well. After all, one year ago the Governor had declared in his State of the State that there would be infrastructure developed and a Hut to Hut program installed in the Boreas Ponds tract. Rumors of a long “Wild Forest corridor” to allow biking far to the north of the Ponds abounded. Wilderness advocates had dodged a bullet, it seemed. A Solomon-like compromise of Wilderness and Wild Forest access to the Ponds had been reached, or so it seemed. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, January 30, 2018

APA Agenda: Land Classifications, Saranac Power Line

APA Building in Ray Brook NYThe Adirondack Park Agency (APA) will hold its monthly meeting at its headquarters in Ray Brook, NY on Thursday, February 1st, and Friday, February 2nd, 2018.

The meeting will discuss rebuilding a transmission line in Saranac, the State Land Classification Package, and will begin deliberation of the Boreas Ponds Tract classification. On Friday the Agency is expected to vote on a resolution for the Boreas Ponds Tract.

What follows is the agenda issued by the APA: » Continue Reading.


Sunday, January 28, 2018

Bauer: Making The Boreas Ponds Compromise

News about the state’s decision on the classification of the 21,000-acre Boreas Ponds tract, part of a larger 54,000-acre classification package released by the Adirondack Park Agency (APA), has been met with a spectrum of cheers and some jeers.

The decision is clearly a compromise, and as with any good compromise there was give and take, with things in it that people both support and oppose. As we evaluate this historic turn of events in the days before the APA takes up deliberations on February 1st and 2nd, it’s worth taking stock of the making of this compromise. » Continue Reading.


Friday, January 26, 2018

Adk Council’s Janeway On Boreas Ponds Classification

Willie at White Lily Pond, with Allen Mountain in backgroundThe Adirondack Park Agency is considering a compromise that would protect the Boreas Ponds as “forever wild” Adirondack wilderness, along with other source waters of the Hudson River in the heart of the Adirondacks. The plan would also provide economic benefits to gateway communities.

If it is approved in its current form, and the buffer to the south of the Boreas Ponds is managed in a way that protects the ponds, this plan will respect the integrity and legacy of legal protections in the Adirondack Park while benefiting both wilderness and communities. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, January 25, 2018

APA Offers Boreas Ponds Tract Proposals

Photo by Phil Brown 2016. View of Gothics from Boreas Ponds.The Adirondack Park Agency has released its official proposal for the classification of the 20,543-acre Boreas Ponds Tract. The Agency will take up this decision at its meeting on February 1-2 in Ray Brook.

The Agency held public hearings at the end of 2016 and deliberated internally over a variety of management options for more than a year.

» Continue Reading.


Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Beyond Boreas: Other Classification Decisions to Watch

Adirondack Land Classification MapThe Boreas Tract is just one part of the proposed classification or reclassification of 54,418 acres of State Lands in the Adirondack Park. The Governor’s Adirondack Park Agency drafted a set of amendments to the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan (SLMP) that included some 100 other proposed classifications, reclassifications, and/or map corrections as part of a large Appendix A of the draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS).

While most of the attention to date has been focused on the high profile 20,543 acre Boreas Ponds Tract, APA watchers expect the Agency to soon release the proposed final set of amendments to the Master Plan for all 100 plus proposed actions. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, January 21, 2018

Ingersoll: Don’t Neglect Adirondack Wild Forest

Moose Mountain overlooks the Wilcox Lake Wild Forest. Photo by Bill IngersollNews of a helicopter sightseeing tour operating out of Lake Placid spawned much discussion this past summer. Unlike a traditional scenic airplane flight high above the landscape, this business promised ridge-running flights at low altitudes above protected Wilderness Areas, as well as aerial safaris in which backcountry wildlife would be buzzed in their natural habitats — all for the thrill of a few paying customers.

This was scary enough for those of us who routinely visit the Forest Preserve for our weekly dose of wildness. But then in the September/October 2017 issue of the Adirondack Explorer, John Sheehan of the Adirondack Council suggested that in the Wild Forest areas, “it may be appropriate to fly in some places at lower heights” — with the stipulation that “some sensitive areas” should be avoided “as much as they can.” » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Rail Or Trail: Warren County Weighs Options

The North Creek Station when D&H still operated the railroadThe time may have come for Warren County to retire from the railroad business, says Ron Conover, the chairman of the Board of Supervisors.

In his annual message to the board, Conover broached the possibility of replacing the rail line between Stony Creek and North River, which the County owns and currently leases to Iowa-Pacific’s tourist train, with a multi-use recreational trail.

“I think the prudent thing at this stage is to begin to investigate whether a recreational trail should be created, by whom, at what cost, for which users; we should also ask how to pay for its creation and maintenance,” Conover said in his message, delivered at the municipal center on January 4. » Continue Reading.


Monday, January 15, 2018

Adirondack Park Agency: An Obstacle to Wilderness?

APA Building in Ray Brook NYNews that the Adirondack Park Agency plans to subvert a minimal wilderness designation at Boreas Ponds with both motorized and mechanized access corridors is not just discouraging, it is frightening. This is not a word that I toss out for emotional effect. It is my genuine reaction to the idea that the agency is becoming an obstacle to the wilderness preservation narrative that defines part of the Adirondack Park’s proud history.

Throughout this current land classification process — initiated in October 2016 and still unresolved today — the state has been setting a poor leadership example by pitting so-called user groups against one another, setting the expectation that one side wins and the other loses in this zero-sum game we politely call Forest Preserve management. » Continue Reading.


Monday, January 15, 2018

LGLC Conserves Land on East Brook, Lake George

McPhillips East BrookThe Lake George Land Conservancy (LGLC) has protected 12 acres in the Town of Lake George along the main branch of East Brook, one of the top ten tributaries of Lake George. The property contains over 500 feet of stream corridor and riparian area as well as several acres of wetlands that help to naturally protect water quality.

Located on the west side of Bloody Pond Road, the heavily wooded property abuts Lake George Elementary School land. Some of the land was zoned as High Density Residential and the topography would have allowed up to five homes along East Brook. A statement from LGLC stressed that the organization was not anti-development, but that the protection of this sensitive land for the benefit of water quality made it a high conservation priority. » Continue Reading.


Monday, January 15, 2018

Erosion, Sediment Control, and Stormwater Training

Hamilton County Soil and Water Conservation DistrictThe Hamilton County Soil and Water Conservation District is sponsoring an Erosion, Sediment Control, and Stormwater Training on February 13, 2018 from 9 am to 1 pm at the Indian Lake Municipal Center, 117 Pelon Road.

The DEC Stormwater Permit mandates that all construction site contractors and subcontractors must have at least one trained individual from their company on their construction sites daily who is responsible for implementing erosion controls and stormwater management for sites that disturb one or more acres of land. These individuals must have completed a four-hour training class renewed every three years. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, January 14, 2018

Janeway: Adirondack Priorities, Proposed NYS Budget

NYS CapitolOn Tuesday, January 16, Gov. Andrew Cuomo is expected to announce his proposed budget for the state fiscal year that starts April 1. The announcement is slated for the day after the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., holiday, when we celebrate the progress made toward civil rights and urge new actions to realize his “dream” of racial equality.

A projected multi-billion dollar state budget deficit has made headlines. Everyone will want to see how the proposed budget is balanced, how the goals the governor announced in the State of the State Address will be accomplished – including environmental and clean water goals – and what projects are likely to be funded. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, January 14, 2018

Cary Institute Planning Road Salt Forum

plowtruck The Cary Institute in Millbrook, NY in the Lower Hudson Valley, has announced a management-based forum exploring the impact that road salt has on natural areas and drinking water supplies, with a focus on successful salt reduction strategies being used regionally and nationally. » Continue Reading.