The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has announced that oak wilt, a tree fungus that causes disease in oak trees, has been detected in Canandaigua, Ontario County.
This is the third location in New York State where oak wilt has been confirmed and the second location discovered in 2016. The disease was confirmed in Islip earlier this year and had previously been found in Glenville in 2008 and 2013. » Continue Reading.
The growing number of hikers in the High Peaks in recent years has heightened concern for the fragile alpine vegetation found on many of the summits.
If the number continues to increase, summit stewards charged with educating hikers may find themselves overwhelmed, said Julia Goren, the Adirondack Mountain Club’s education director.
“I don’t think we’ve lost ground yet,” said Goren, who heads the summit-steward program. “But I do think it’s not hyperbolic that we’re kind of at a tipping point where there’s not much more we can take before there’s going to be some kind of loss. One summit steward can’t talk to six hundred people in a day and make sure that people are respecting every patch of alpine vegetation.” » Continue Reading.
My favorite activity is paddling quiet waters. I cherish the experiences I’ve had on the lakes, rivers, and ponds in Adirondacks, including canoeing on the Boreas Ponds. I think the spectacular view of the high-rising peaks to the north is unmatched.
I also believe that reasonable access to these waters is in the best interest of the public, while minimizing harm to the environment. However, the definition of reasonable access and minimizing harm varies among the stakeholders, primarily centered on the use of the existing Gulf Brook Road – a 6.8 mile gravel road from Boreas or Blue Ridge Road (County Route 84) to the ponds.
A couple of weeks ago I drove up Gulf Brook Road for 3.2 miles as allowed by the state’s interim access plan, which is 2.5 miles from the ponds. I wanted to orient myself to the access issues raised in the many articles in the media, including the Adirondack Almanack. I parked my car at the parking lot, skirted the stop sign, and walked about a half-mile toward the ponds. Looking at the trail register I saw the names of two friends who had been to the ponds recently, and decided to email them, asking how they experienced the 2.5-mile carry on the road and the ponds. » Continue Reading.
A trail weaving its way through the woods to a summit takes up just a minuscule fraction of the wild lands it traverses, which may leave the impression that trails have little impact on wildlife. Research in recent years by the Wildlife Conservation Society suggests that is not the case.
“You’d be surprised by the ripples left by a day hiker’s ramble through the woods,” wrote Christopher Solomon in the New York Times in 2015. “In 2008 Sarah Reed, an associate conservation scientist at the Wildlife Conservation Society, and her colleagues found fivefold declines in detections of bobcats, coyotes and other midsize carnivores in protected areas in California that allowed quiet recreation activities like hiking, compared with protected areas that prohibited those activities.” » Continue Reading.
Adirondack Wild has left the BeWildNY coalition, saying it disagrees with the coalition’s proposal to allow the public to drive to within a mile or so of Boreas Ponds.
Adirondack Wild announced its decision as the Adirondack Park Agency prepares for public hearings on the classification of the 20,758-acre Boreas Ponds Tract, which the state bought from the Adirondack chapter of the Nature Conservancy in April.
The classification decision could influence how much motorized access is allowed on the tract.
Much of the debate over Boreas Ponds has focused on the future of Gulf Brook Road, a dirt road built for logging trucks when Finch, Pruyn & Company owned the land. » Continue Reading.
The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (State Parks) has announced state grants to public schools throughout New York State to fund field trips to state parks and historic sites for environmental, history and physical education programming.
Funding for the $500,000 Connect Kids to Parks Transportation Grant program comes from the state Environmental Protection Fund’s enhanced Environmental Justice programming approved in the 2016-17 State Budget. The grant is available to Kindergarten-12th grade classes in Title 1 public schools. » Continue Reading.
The Adirondack Land Trust has announced that it closed on the purchase of Glenview Farm, a 238-acre property in Harrietstown, Franklin County.
The property is known for its views of Whiteface Mountain, the McKenzie Range and High Peaks Wilderness. It borders a ¼-mile stretch of State Route 86 between Saranac Lake and Paul Smiths just beyond Donnelly’s farm and extends to Twobridge Brook and Bloomingdale Bog, considered the third largest boreal peatland in New York.
A draft Harrietstown plan and the Adirondack Park Agency have designated this as a view worth protecting. » Continue Reading.
There are many ways to constrain the boundaries around public participation in decision-making. One way is to sidestep the law without amending it, thereby limiting public awareness and legislative debate of the issues. An example of this is occurring on the former Finch, Pruyn lands where the State wants to issue itself a permit or a variance to allow snowmobile connectors in river corridors when the law says that that motorized recreational activity is not permitted.
Under the Essex Chain of Lakes Primitive Area Unit Management Plan, the State recently argued in Albany County Supreme Court that DEC regulations allow the agency to issue itself a permit or variance to do things that others could not do, like build a motorized bridge over a scenic Cedar River, or operate motor vehicles over a scenic river like the Hudson River. Other parts of these River regulations expressly disallow the State from issuing itself a permit or variance to undertake a project which the statute disallows. » Continue Reading.
The Adirondack Park Agency (APA) will hold a series of public hearings to solicit public comments for State Land classification and reclassification proposals.
The action involves proposals for State Lands in all 12 counties in the Park, including the recently acquired Boreas Ponds Tract.
The 2016-2017 classification package includes 33 State Land classification proposals totaling approximately 50,827 acres, 13 State Land reclassifications totaling an estimated 1,642 acres, and a number of classifications involving map corrections (1,949 acres). » Continue Reading.
After 16 years on the job, Mike Carr says the time is right for him to step down as the executive director of the Adirondack chapter of the Nature Conservancy and to work full time for its affiliate, the Adirondack Land Trust.
Carr was instrumental in negotiating the deal to acquire 161,000 acres of Finch, Pruyn timberland for $110 million in 2007. Over the ensuing years, it sold 65,000 acres to the state. Most of the rest were protected with conservation easements.
The state purchased the last Finch, Pruyn parcel – the 20,758-acre Boreas Ponds Tract – in April. Over the next few years, the Nature Conservancy will oversee the removal of hunting camps on the Finch lands, but its work on the blockbuster deal is largely done.
“It feels like the right time,” Carr said when asked why he chose to change jobs now.
Michael Carr has been named the full-time executive director of the Adirondack Land Trust and is stepping down as the director of the Adirondack Chapter of The Nature Conservancy.
Carr has played a leadership role in land conservation during his 26-year career with the Conservancy, which began with serving as director of the Lake George Land Conservancy, a local land trust the Conservancy helped to establish and has since fledged.
His efforts helped protect over half a million acres in the Adirondack Park, including the recently completed 161,000-acre Finch, Pruyn acquisition, which resulted in the largest addition of lands in over 100 years to the park’s publicly owned and constitutionally protected Forever Wild Forest Preserve.
In response to public criticism, the Adirondack Park Agency staff came up with a fourth option for classifying the Boreas Ponds Tract, but it hasn’t ended the controversy.
The APA board is expected to vote Friday to hold public hearings on the four options, despite complaints that the staff failed to present a full range of alternatives for the tract and failed to properly analyze the alternatives it did present.
On Thursday, the State Land Committee voted to approve the hearing schedule and the four options, setting the stage for a vote by the full board, which is expected to follow suit.
The geology of the Adirondacks is the focus of the latest volume of the Adirondack Journal of Environmental Studies.
Published by The Adirondack Research Consortium and Union’s Kelly Adirondack Center, the journal includes articles on the history of geological studies, mining, fracture and fault systems and soils, among other topics.
The papers summarize historical and current work, calling upon the accumulated studies of geoscientists who have worked in the Adirondacks over two centuries. » Continue Reading.
Adirondack Forest Preserve advocacy groups are calling on the Adirondack Park Agency’s board to reject at this week’s meeting all three staff proposals for classifying the 20,758-acre Boreas Ponds Tract.
The major objection is that under all three proposals, a 6.8-mile logging road that leads to Boreas Ponds would be designated Wild Forest, which could allow people to drive all the way to the ponds.
Neil Woodworth, executive director of the Adirondack Mountain Club (ADK), said it’s even possible that motorboats could be allowed on the water. Under the APA’s first alternative, the ponds would be classified Wild Forest, which could allow motorboats. The other two alternatives are silent on the ponds’ classification.
Woodworth said the APA board should direct the staff to come up with new proposals, a step that would delay public hearings on the Boreas classification. “It’s more important to get this classification right than do it fast,” he said.
At its meeting this Thursday, the Adirondack Park Agency board may discuss, in addition to the Boreas Ponds Tract, the classification of two other large parcels abutting the High Peaks Wilderness, known as MacIntyre West and MacIntyre East.
Like the Boreas tract, both MacIntyre tracts were acquired by the state from the Adirondack chapter of the Nature Conservancy. They formerly had been owned by the Finch, Pruyn paper company.
All told, the APA board will consider classifications for 90 parcels of state land scattered throughout the Park. At 20,758 acres, the Boreas tract is by far the largest. The other 89 parcels together add up to 32,053 acres. They include 32 parcels of newly acquired land (totaling 30,284 acres) and 56 corrections to the APA map (totaling 1,949 acres).
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