Wednesday, December 9, 2015

APA Meeting Thursday: Cross-Country Trails, Master Plan Amendments

APA officeThe Adirondack Park Agency (APA) will hold its monthly meeting at its headquarters in Ray Brook, NY on Thursday, December 10, 2015.  The Full Agency will come to order at 9:00 a.m. for Executive Director Terry Martino’s monthly report.

At 9:30 a.m., the State Land Committee will convene to deliberate the Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement for proposed amendments to the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan.  If accepted, the committee will authorize public hearings to solicit comments regarding the proposed amendments.  The committee will also consider authorizing a public comment period for proposed Primitive Tent Site Guidance.  The committee meeting will conclude with an informational presentation on proposed amendments to the Wilmington Wild Forest Unit Management Plan. » Continue Reading.


Monday, December 7, 2015

Low-flying Plane Expected Over Eastern Adirondacks

airplaneIf you are in Essex and Clinton counties, you may notice an airplane flying a grid pattern at low altitude for a few weeks this December as scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey map buried geological features that provide clues into mineral resources in the area.

The region was known for iron ore mining in the late 1800s and early 1900s, but it also contains deposits of rare earth minerals according to the USGS. Rare earth minerals are used in advanced technology such as in cell phones, rechargeable batteries and super-magnets. The surveys will measure subtle changes in Earth’s magnetic field that reflect different types of buried rock. They will also measure low, background levels of natural radioactivity that help with mapping different types of surface rocks. Together, these data will allow visualization of geological structures at and beneath the surface. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, December 5, 2015

Acid Rain Reductions Should Inform Climate Change Strategy

acid rainAs nations engage in the Paris climate summit, we can take comfort in the fact that we have learned how to vanquish acid rain over the past 30 years and we can apply the same methods to curb global warming.

There was much to celebrate in New York when the International Acid Rain Conference: Acid Rain 2015 was held at the Riverside Convention Center in Rochester in late October. The pollutants that cause acid rain have been curbed sharply.

The amount of sulfur-based air pollution falling on New York State has been reduced by a whopping 92 percent since 1985. That was the year when New York enacted the nation’s first law to control acid rain.  Nitrogen oxides have decreased by more than 70 percent over those same 30 years. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, December 5, 2015

Paine, Kissel Back Expansion Of High Peaks Wilderness

boreas pondsA proposal to expand the High Peaks Wilderness has received the endorsement of two of the Adirondack Park Agency’s founding figures.

The High Peaks Wilderness already is by far the largest Wilderness Area in the Park, but the Adirondack Council and seven other environmental groups are urging the state to add 80,000 acres, expanding it to 284,000 acres.

Enlarging the Wilderness Area “will place New York State and the Adirondack Park in a position of national leadership for creation and maintenance of Wilderness lands equal to any in the Continental United States,” Peter Paine and William Kissel declared in a joint letter. The council intends to use the letter in its campaign for the Wilderness proposal and sent a copy to Adirondack Almanack on Friday. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, December 2, 2015

A Return To The Pharaoh Lake Wilderness

Cathy Pedler's family on the summit of Pharoah Mountain around 1900Although I’ve been working in Albany with the Adirondack Mountain Club over the past two years, the Adirondack Park is relatively new to me.  It’s not new to my family. I am beginning to discover a long familial history with the Adirondacks.

My father recently found an old photo album documenting trips from Philadelphia in 1900 and 1903 when my great-grandmother visited Schroon Lake and hiked Pharaoh Mountain with her family. They traveled to NYC and then made their way north on the Hudson by riverboat.

This summer I traveled back to the area my family visited 115 years ago. I walked to the shore of Schroon Lake for the first time and paddled Lost and Berrymill Ponds in the Pharaoh Lake Wilderness. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, December 1, 2015

DEC’s Responses To Essex Chain Plan Comments

Polaris Bridge and the Upper Hudson (courtesy Protect the Adirodnacks)At its November meeting, the Adirondack Park Agency voted 8-2 to approve a controversial management plan for the Essex Chain Lakes Complex, finding that it conforms to the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan.

Some observers contend that the plan violates both the State Land Master Plan and the state Wild, Scenic and Recreational Rivers Act. Three major issues are:

  • Retention of the Polaris Bridge over the Hudson River for use by snowmobiles.
  • Construction of a new bridge over the Cedar River.
  • Allowing bicycles in the Essex Chain Lakes Primitive Area.

But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Environmental advocates, sportsmen, and members of the general public have raised many more issues, such as the appropriateness of creating a new snowmobile trail between Indian Lake and Newcomb, the appropriateness of allowing floatplanes to land on certain lakes, and whether historical buildings should be preserved or torn down.

» Continue Reading.


Monday, November 23, 2015

Gibson: APA’s Legal Fiction To Motorize Forest Preserve

Dan at APA (2)I wish to recognize Adirondack Park Agency board member Art Lussi for his insistence over the past several months that the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) provide a legal rationale for allowing expanded motorized uses in the Forest Preserve’s protected river corridors. When DEC failed again last week to provide that legal explanation, Lussi joined Richard Booth in voting no on DEC’s plans for the Essex Chain area because they fail to comply with the State Land Master Plan. » Continue Reading.


Monday, November 23, 2015

Lake Pleasant Green Infrastructure Demonstration Projects

This rain garden is a landscaped depression that captures and absorbs stormwater from the Hamilton County Soil and Water Conservation District’s driveway and roof. My coworkers and I completed the installation of green infrastructure demonstration projects at the Hamilton County Soil and Water Conservation District office in Lake Pleasant including a rain garden, a bioswale and two rain barrels.

Local homeowners and municipalities have the opportunity to see the benefits of stormwater pollution prevention practices. The projects are designed to protect and preserve water quality as essential aspects of public health, a vibrant local economy and a flourishing ecosystem. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, November 17, 2015

APA Approves Whiteface Porcupine Lodge Project

Early Whiteface Mountain Trail MapThe Adirondack Park Agency (APA) Board has voted unanimously to approve an amendment to the Whiteface Mountain Ski Area Unit Management Plan (UMP) to renovate the existing Porcupine Lodge located on top of Lookout Mountain.

The Lodge, a part of the original ski center, will be used by ski patrol and as a day-use only public warming hut and snack bar.  The APA Board found the proposal conforms to the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan.  ORDA is authorized to begin work to ensure Porcupine Lodge is open for the 2015-2016 ski season. » Continue Reading.


Monday, November 16, 2015

Advocate: Essex Chain Plan Snowmobile Policies

snowmobile trailNote: This article is the second 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.

One of the most controversial elements of the Essex Chain Complex Unit Management Plan (Essex Chain Plan), approved last week by the Adirondack Park Agency (APA), is the proposal to cut a new five-mile snowmobile trail through the western part of the Vanderwhacker Mountain Wild Forest area, east of the Hudson River. This new snowmobile trail will retain and use the Polaris Bridge and is designed to connect the communities of Indian Lake and Minerva with a major new snowmobile trail, despite the fact that these communities are already connected with a major snowmobile trail.

» Continue Reading.


Friday, November 13, 2015

APA Approves Controversial Essex Chain Plan

Polaris Bridge over the Hudson River (Linda McIntyre Photo)The Adirondack Park Agency board voted 8-2 Friday to approve a management plan for the Essex Chain Lakes region that one of the dissenters denounced for its “legal fiction.”

One of the major controversies is over the decision to retain an iron bridge over the Hudson River for use as a future snowmobile trail.

The Hudson in that area is classified as a Scenic River, a designation that normally precludes motorized uses and large bridges. The state Department of Environmental Conservation, however, contends that motorized use over the river predated the law and thus can continue.

» Continue Reading.


Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Dave Gibson: Park Priorities, Budgets Out Of Whack

MRP-Snowmobile-Trail-3During my first Adirondack conservation meeting, in January of 1987, one of the top issues discussed was the pressure the Forest Preserve was under due to the limited State budgets and loss of DEC staff personnel.

How were the hundreds of miles of state’s Forest Preserve boundaries to be surveyed and marked? How were the “forever wild” natural resources on the Forest Preserve to be properly cared for by so few foresters and rangers? Someone on my board of directors (I was still a greenhorn) had invited DEC Lands and Forests Director Robert Bathrick to our meeting to discuss the problem he faced caring for the Forest Preserve and more. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Groups Seek Expansion Of High Peaks Wilderness

boreas pondsEight environmental groups are urging Governor Andrew Cuomo to dramatically expand the High Peaks Wilderness once the state purchases Boreas Ponds from the Adirondack Nature Conservancy.

At 203,526 acres, the High Peaks Wilderness already is by far the largest Wilderness Area in the Adirondack Park. Under the environmentalists’ proposal, it would grow to more than 280,000 acres, making it larger than Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado or Mount Rainer National Park in Washington.

» Continue Reading.


Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Bauer: A Poor Public Process For The Essex Chain

Essex ChainThe Adirondack Park Agency (APA) will take up the question of the conformance of the Essex Chain Complex Unit Management Plan (ECCUMP) with the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan (APSLMP) on November 12th.

This will be the APA’s “first read,” having completed on October 16th its public hearing on the final draft ECCUMP submitted by the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). The DEC held its own public hearing in July on this UMP. The APA is expected to approve the ECCUMP in December. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, November 7, 2015

Reflections On Idaho And The Adirondacks

cowboy routeIt’s true. The mountains out west are bigger than the Adirondacks. I confirmed this when I went to Idaho last month to visit my son Nathan.

Nate used to work at the Adirondack Daily Enterprise in Saranac Lake, but he moved to Idaho last year (after a stint at the Middletown Times Herald-Record) to cover politics.

I never thought of traveling to Idaho before Nate relocated there, but I’m glad I went. It’s a gorgeous state with all sorts of opportunities for hiking, scrambling, rock climbing, and, in season, backcountry skiing.

Did I mention BASE jumping?

» Continue Reading.



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