Monday, January 11, 2016

Legal Questions Swirl Around State’s Plan For Essex Chain

Polaris Bridge and the Upper Hudson (courtesy Protect the Adirodnacks)Two of the Adirondack Park’s four major environmental organizations filed a legal challenge to the Essex Chain management plan, but the two others have legal questions as well.

Protect the Adirondacks and Adirondack Wild filed a lawsuit today in State Supreme Court in Albany, claiming the management plan violates the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan, the state Wild, Scenic, and Recreational Rivers Act, and state snowmobile-trail policy.

Named as defendants are the state Department of Environmental Conservation, which drafted the management plan, and the Adirondack Park Agency, which approved it. Both agencies refused to comment on the suit.

Christopher Amato, a former assistant commissioner at DEC, told the Almanack that the Essex Chain plan is “blatantly illegal.” Amato is now an attorney at Earthjustice, a nonprofit organization that is representing Protect and Adirondack Wild in the lawsuit.

Amato said Earthjustice will file a motion to prevent DEC from implementing the management plan until the lawsuit is resolved.

» Continue Reading.


Monday, January 11, 2016

Adirondack Groups Sue NYS Over Essex Chain Plan

DEC’s Plan for the Essex Chain, Indian River, and OK Slip Falls tracts. The region shaded in blue north of Route 28 would become the Hudson Gorge Wilderness Area. Two Adirondack groups have announced that they will file a lawsuit Monday challenging the State’s approval of a new management plan for the Essex Chain Lakes in the heart of the Adirondack Park

The suit claims that the plan violates state law by allowing motorized and mechanized recreational uses in remote, wild areas that the law declares shall be off limits to such activity.

The lawsuit is being filed in state court in Albany by Adirondack Wild: Friends of the Forest Preserve and Protect the Adirondacks. The two groups are represented by Earthjustice, a non-profit law firm. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Cuomo Seeks $300M For Environmental Protection Fund

nycapitolNew York State Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced that his 2016-17 executive budget will include a $300-million appropriation for the NYS Environmental Protection Fund (EPF). The amount is the largest in the history of the fund, which was created in 1993.

The EPF funds land acquisition, farmland protection, waterfront revitalization, municipal recycling, local government assistance to improve wastewater treatment plants, and acquisition, access, and stewardship of public lands, parks and campgrounds.

» Continue Reading.


Monday, January 4, 2016

APA, DEC Seek Comments On Developing Primitive Campsites

DSCN6012The Adirondack Park Agency (APA) and the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) are holding a joint public comment period to solicit comments regarding proposed guidance on best management practices for primitive camp sites in the Adirondack Forest Preserve.

Guidance addresses roadside camping as it pertains to walk-in sites, and walk-in sites with a single lane parking area. It also includes recommendations for large groups at primitive camp sites, camping permits, tent site size limits, campsite improvements and regulation changes. The APA and DEC will accept comments on these issues until January 29, 2016. No public hearings are scheduled to be held on these changes. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, December 27, 2015

Does Boreas Ponds Dam Belong In A Wilderness Area?

Boreas Ponds aerial - Carl HeilmanWhy do they call it Boreas Ponds? After all, if you look at an aerial photograph, such as the one at left, taken by Carl Heilman II, it’s just one water body. This fact is also evident from the 1999 USGS map below.

The reason is not mysterious. Like many Adirondack lakes, the water level of Boreas Ponds has been raised by a dam. As an 1895 map indicates (it’s shown farther below), Boreas Ponds used to be three ponds connected by narrow channels.

When the state acquires Boreas Ponds from the Adirondack Nature Conservancy, it must decide whether the concrete dam should be retained.

» Continue Reading.


Thursday, December 24, 2015

Forest Rangers And The ‘Christmas Detail’

Gib‘Tis the season for illegally cutting Christmas trees in the Adirondacks. That was the jingle, and it was followed by a stern warning from Conservation Department Commissioner Lithgow Osborne in December 1934 that his forest rangers would be on high alert for those attempting to steal their holiday cheer from the Forest Preserve:

“Forest Rangers are very much on guard this time of year because of the tendency of some persons to take trees from state land. Some of the newer forest plantations on state land offer a tempting array of Christmas trees and it is only by the exercise of constant vigilance on the part of the rangers that thefts can be prevented.” » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, December 23, 2015

APA, DEC Proposals Would Alter Wilderness Protection

Adirondack Park Open-for-Business VignetteThe 2015 report Adirondack Park at a Crossroad: A Road Map for Action begins this way:

“We document recent permit decisions and management practices by the NYS Adirondack Park Agency (APA) and Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) which we believe are inconsistent with the constitutional and statutory requirements designed to ensure long term protection of the Park’s integrity and which are irreconcilable with the agencies’ obligations as the public’s trustees of the Adirondack Park…We illustrate how this significant shift in priorities at APA and DEC…are part of a larger pattern of allowing increasingly destructive development to proceed with little or no environmental baseline data, only cursory environmental review, and little in the way of avoidance or mitigation of negative impacts.”

As the year ends, we see the pattern described in our report of favoring recreational use over the State Land Master Plan’s “paramount” purpose of natural resource and wilderness protection continuing. Several of the State Land Master Plan (SLMP) amendment alternatives sent by the APA in December to public hearing in January would, if selected as the preferred alternative, fundamentally alter wilderness protection policies in place since 1972. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Holiday Hookup? 40,000 Free Endangered Species Condoms

Endangered Species CondomsWith the holiday season in full swing, the Center for Biological Diversity is distributing 40,000 free Endangered Species Condoms to encourage people to invite wildlife into holiday celebrations by talking about the effects of rampant human population growth on the environment and wildlife. More babies are conceived between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day than any other time of year.

“The reality is that as human population grows, we’re crowding wildlife into extinction, and if we don’t start addressing this soon it will be too late for many endangered species,” according to Leigh Moyer, the Center’s population organizer. “While it may make family dinner conversation a little awkward, polar bears, sea otters and other wildlife will thank you for making their future a part of your holiday celebrations.” » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Green Groups Differ On Rail-Trail Proposal

Adirondack Tourist Train (Susan Bibeau)Two environmental groups disagree on whether a state proposal to remove 34 miles of train tracks between Tupper Lake and Lake Placid complies with the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan.

In a news release last week, the Adirondack Council praised the proposal, calling it “a good compromise” that protects natural resources and addresses the economic and cultural needs of the region.

Adirondack Wild: Friends of the Forest Preserve, however, contends that the proposal violates the State Land Master Plan. The proposal would amend the corridor’s unit management plan (UMP) from 1996. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, December 20, 2015

Peter Bauer: Essex Chain Plan Violates Laws

Full Essex Chain MapNote: This article is the third of three that looks at the widespread violations of public process, state policies, and state laws in the recent approval of the Essex Chain Plan. Part one can be found here and part two here.

In many ways the Forest Preserve defines the Adirondack Park experience. The trails, mountains, lean-tos, campsite and deep beauty of the forests are what the Adirondacks is all about. The Forest Preserve provides the dramatic scenic backdrop across the Park and brings millions of visitors to the Adirondacks. The Forest Preserve also generates tens of millions in school and local tax revenues. » Continue Reading.


Friday, December 18, 2015

Grants For Adirondack Communities, Organizations Offered

Entering Adirondack ParkAdirondack communities and organizations can now apply for some of $600,000 in Environmental Protection Fund  grants for smart growth projects.

The NYS Depart of Environmental Conservation’s Smart Growth Implementation Grant Program is established to promote projects that combine economic development with protection of the natural and built environment.  The funding includes $400,000 dedicated to the Adirondack Park and $200,000 to Catskill Park.  » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, December 16, 2015

DEC Issues Final Plan To Develop St. Lawrence Flatlands

stlflatump12-page-021Greater public access and more recreational opportunities will be available in the St. Lawrence Flatlands area under its final Unit Management Plan (UMP), according to an announcement by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC).

“The UMP provides greater land access for hunters, anglers and other outdoor recreationalists in northern St. Lawrence and Franklin counties,” Acting Commissioner Basil Seggos said in a statement sent to the press. “The plan develops recreational access to forest lands, increases public awareness of outdoor opportunities on these state forests and ensures sustainable forest management.”

The St. Lawrence Flatlands comprises 30,810 acres in 10 state forests located in the Franklin County towns of Bombay and Moira, and the St. Lawrence County towns of Brasher, Madrid, Norfolk and Stockholm. The specific land units are Brasher State Forest, Bombay State Forest, Buckton State Forest, Fort Jackson State Forest, Grantville State Forest, Knapp Station State Forest, Lost Nation State Forest, Raymondville State Forest, Sodom State Forest and Southville State Forest. The UMP also covers six widely scattered parcels of detached forest preserve lands, ranging in size from three to 350 acres, located in the towns of Lisbon, Louisville, Massena, and Waddington in St. Lawrence County. » Continue Reading.


Monday, December 14, 2015

Effort Underway To Change The Rules For Adirondack Park

APSLMP - LogoThe Adirondack Park Agency is proposing several amendments to the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan. The document is supposed to establish rules for managing state land in the Adirondack Park, but has been at the center of criticism over abuse of power by the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation and the Adirondack Park Agency, who are accused of ignoring its basic tenets.

Three public hearings are planned by APA, none south of Albany and none in the evening outside the Adirondack Park.  APA is accepting comments in writing until January 29, 2016. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, December 12, 2015

This Holiday Season, Buy Local

Entering Adirondack ParkBuy local. It’s much more than a feel-good slogan or here-today-gone-tomorrow topic currently trending on Facebook or Twitter. Let’s face it, the choice we have as consumers – this holiday season and throughout the year – is to either support small, family-run businesses, local artisans and craftspeople or help some fat-cat one-percenter.

We can help our friends and neighbors make ends meet or send a child to college, soccer camp, piano or dance lessons, or we can help a CEO buy another yacht, sports car, or vacation home. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, December 10, 2015

Climate: Our Important Adirondack Carbon Bank

IMG_3904Our small solar photovoltaic system has, over its seven years of use, prevented about 12 tons of carbon dioxide emissions.  The 25 acres of northern hardwood forest in our fee ownership however, has stored over 87 tons of CO2 over the same seven years.

In Paris this week, with the stakes for our planet so very high, I would like to see as much media focus on offsetting and storing carbon emissions through forest preservation and stewardship as we see about reducing fossil fuel emissions. In fact, Paris talks are moving on while great swaths of tropical forests continue to go up in smoke to be converted to small farms and large palm plantations for the palm oil humans greedily consume. These nations are only ravaging in the same way we in the United States have already greedily ravaged our original rainwood forests in the northwest, hardwood swamps in the south, and midwestern and eastern pine and spruce forests. » Continue Reading.



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