The Cuomo Administration has proposed to cap Forest Preserve property tax assessments and change state law from the current system of locally assessed property taxes to a system of Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILOTs) with a rate set by the State Comptroller.
The state is doing this to save money because Forest Preserve assessments and the PILOT for tax payments would be centrally controlled. This proposal raises issues about a likely decrease in state lands tax payments over time and subsequent tax shift to private lands in Forest Preserve communities in the Adirondacks and Catskills. » Continue Reading.
“Salt Reduction by 50% by 2020” – among local governments, highway superintendents and environmental protection groups on Lake George, that’s the buzz phrase of the season.
“30,000 metric tons of salt are deposited every year within the Lake George basin,” said Eric Siy, the executive director of The Fund for Lake George. “But we know we can reduce its use. We can apply salt smarter and make our roads safer.” » Continue Reading.
The decision by the Adirondack Park Agency (APA) is in: by a vote of 8 to 1 the APA Board voted to recommend a classification for the Boreas Ponds Tract that will split the tract between Wilderness and Wild Forest, leaving Gulf Brook open into the heart to the parcel. In their comments many of the Commissioners lauded the “balance” and “compromise” they felt this recommendation represented.
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has announced they are seeking public input on the draft St. Lawrence Rock Ridge Unit Management Plan (UMP).
Located just outside the Adirondack Park, the 21,542-acre St. Lawrence Rock Ridge planning unit consists of fifteen (15) state forests, and nine (9) detached forest preserve parcels and is in a broad area of southwestern St. Lawrence County and northeastern Lewis County. » Continue Reading.
A barely-noticed provision in Governor Andrew Cuomo’s proposed budget could have lasting consequences for the finances of Adirondack towns and school districts, or so some fear.
“I believe local governments will see this proposal as the cap on payments to their jurisdictions, something they have long feared as the state continues to acquire private land in the Adirondacks,” says Fred Monroe, the executive director of the Adirondack Park Local Government Review Board. » Continue Reading.
The Adirondack Park Agency today approved the Boreas Ponds as the State’s newest Wilderness lands in the Adirondack Forest Preserve. The APA approved the classification of 11,400 acres around Boreas Ponds, and nearly 15,000 acres of other lands bordering the High Peaks as Wilderness. The Governor issued a statement following the decision saying he would sign the classification package.
Public motor vehicle use could be as close as .1 mile to the shoreline of Boreas Ponds. Under this classification, the Gulf Brook Road may be retained as a Forest Preserve road open to bicycles and motor vehicles and used as a snowmobile trail. The Wilderness area around the Boreas Ponds limits public uses to canoes, kayaks or rowboats, hiking, cross-country skiing and camping. » Continue Reading.
The buzz this week, of course, is the announcement of the state’s planned classification of the Boreas Ponds. This news came roughly ten years after we learned that the state intended to purchase this tract for the Forest Preserve, and fifteen months after the Adirondack Park Agency kicked off its formal procedure to classify the land according to the guidelines of the State Land Master Plan.
My neck is still sore from the whiplash I experienced late last week when I first heard the news. It wasn’t the classification decision itself that did it, because my first reaction to the map was one of déjà vu, as I’ll explain in a moment. What caught me off guard was the sight of the various “watchdog” groups tripping over themselves to congratulate the state for its decision, and the press that praised Albany’s direct intervention in what should have been the APA’s independent deliberations. » Continue Reading.
The 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.
David 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.
One 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.
The 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.
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.
The 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.
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.
The 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.
The Adirondack Almanack is a public forum dedicated to promoting and discussing current events, history, arts, nature and outdoor recreation and other topics of interest to the Adirondacks and its communities
We publish commentary and opinion pieces from voluntary contributors, as well as news updates and event notices from area organizations. Contributors include veteran local writers, historians, naturalists, and outdoor enthusiasts from around the Adirondack region. The information, views and opinions expressed by these various authors are not necessarily those of the Adirondack Almanack or its publisher, the Adirondack Explorer.
General inquiries about the Adirondack Almanack should be directed to editor Melissa Hart.
To advertise on the Adirondack Almanack, or to receive information on rates and design, please click here.