Tuesday, February 19, 2013

General Permit Fails to Address Today’s Forest Challenges

logging roads on Finch landsThere has been some good writing on forestry issues in the Adirondack Park in the media recently, stimulated by the APA’s proposed, controversial General Permit for clear-cut logging. Adirondack Wild applauds the discussion and encourages more of it.

The APA held a stakeholder meeting recently of Agency staff, forest landowners and managers, scientists, and environmental groups where a conversation ensued about the difficulties that face forests and forest managers today in the Adirondack Park (and beyond). The dialogue needed to happen, and it should continue, but the General Permit (GP) does more than just get in the way of that discussion. It does little to solve the problems discussed, and cuts out the public’s involvement in these matters and, even worse, it subjects forest landowners who might apply for the GP to a perception of unfair dealings with the Agency in order to expedite the clear-cutting of their lands. That’s may be an unfair characterization, but that is the public’s perception. All in all, this General Permit is a just a bad idea. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Setting the Record Straight on Lake George:
Robert Moses, John Apperson, and Tongue Mountain

Christmas PhotographAccording to local lore, Robert Moses, secretary of the State Parks Commission, and John Apperson, leading defender of the “forever wild” clause of the NY constitution, had a confrontation of historic proportions, one summer day in August of 1923. Moses, who was already carrying out an ambitious scheme to grab power, had convinced Governor Al Smith that the development of state parks would be a very popular election issue.

As the center-piece of his plan, Moses wanted to build a parkway on the Tongue Mountain peninsula (plus, eventually, gas stations, scenic overlooks, and hotels). Apperson wanted to prevent development altogether.  He dreamed of bringing the central portion of the lake (Tongue Mountain, the Narrows, Black Mountain and Paradise Bay) under state ownership, and thus under the protection of the NY constitution.

The battle over the highway at Tongue Mountain happened quietly, behind the scenes, and out of the headlines.  In fact, Robert Moses’ biographer, Robert Caro, never mentioned this story, and apparently knew little about the work of John Apperson at Lake George.  Fortunately, we can now examine letters and documents long hidden from view that shed considerable light on the politics concerning the creation of a Lake George Park.
» Continue Reading.


Monday, February 11, 2013

Criticism Of The APA’s Clearcutting General Permit

Easement-Lands-The-Forestland-Group-4withlabels

The new draft General Permit for clearcutting being readied for approval this week by the Adirondack Park Agency (APA) is a flawed document for a number of reasons. It’s simply bad public policy, bad legal work done in the rush to get it approved, bad public process as it willfully ignores overwhelming public sentiment, and bad science as it seeks to dramatically expand the amount of clearcutting in heavily cut forests.

All of this, of course, will lead to a bad outcome for the APA and for the Adirondack Park.

But, there’s a better way. The APA could slow down this train. It should postpone action on the draft General Permit or deny it outright and then begin a better process towards a better outcome. The APA should fully investigate the legitimate issues facing large-scale forest managers across the Adirondacks. It’s important for the Adirondack Park to keep our working forests working well.
» Continue Reading.


Monday, February 4, 2013

State Loses $2.5M Follensby Grant Amid Calls For Funding

follensby pondThe Adirondack Council urged state lawmakers to increase funding for environmental priorities in the FY2013-14 NYS Budget in testimony today at the legislature’s budget hearing. The Council cited the recent loss of a $2.5 million grant secured to aid the purchase of the Follensby Tract as a sign that New York’s Environmental Protection Fund (EPF) needs an expedited increase in funding.

Adirondack Council Legislative Director Scott Lorey called for an additional $11 million to be added in the EPF and also urged Governor Andrew Cuomo to rebuild the staffing at key regulatory agencies whose budgets have been cut in recent years, including the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and the Adirondack Park Agency. » Continue Reading.


Monday, February 4, 2013

Climate Change: Entries From A 1970s Journal

PPR Headline 19 Apr 1976A few weeks ago, in a piece about old-time weather forecaster Billy Spinner, I mentioned insects on our sidewalk near Christmastime, which is certainly out of the ordinary in my life’s experience. In another piece in December, I mentioned the value of keeping a journal. The two subjects came together recently when I was pondering how the winters of my youth seem so different from those we are experiencing today. Of course, we can’t trust our memories, which again demonstrates the value of a journal.

Now don’t get all excited thinking that I’m trying to prove climate change or global warming. I do know that through my teen years (mainly the 1960s), little time was spent wondering if we would have a white Christmas each year. It was basically a given. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, February 2, 2013

Lost Brook Dispatches: A Third Way

wrestlersThis week I am taking a short break from my surveying series, having been inspired by the spirit of a number of important conversations that have recently been unfolding on the pages of the Almanack.

Consider two Adirondack-loving persons.  Both are reasonably decent, honest, clear-headed, thoughtful people.  They work, they raise families, they vote and they enjoy the woods and mountains in their own way.  They have a variety of views on the wide spectrum of issues that affect the future of the Adirondack Park.  Let’s call one Mr. P and one Mr. N. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, January 31, 2013

Easement Protects Over 1,300 Acres In Essex County

Johnson Family PropertyThe Open Space Institute has announced that a private landowner has donated a conservation easement that will protect a nearly 1,400-acre forest in the northeast corner of the Adirondack Park. The property borders the western shore of Butternut Pond and is bisected by several brooks, most of which feed into Auger Lake, which in turn empties into the Ausable River and eventually into Lake Champlain.

The parcel, a largely wooded Essex County tract owned by the Johanson family, buffers state lands, including Pokamoonshine Mountain, and sits within the viewshed of the historic firetower on the summit of Pokamoonshine, a popular destination for rock climbers, hikers and cross-country skiers.
» Continue Reading.


Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Essex Chain of Lakes and the State Land Master Plan

Third Lake, Essex ChainThe Department of Environmental Conservation has recommended that the new Forest Preserve acquisition at the Essex Chain of Lakes be classified Wild Forest, while the Upper Hudson River just to the east become part of a river corridor Wilderness. Several organizations previously submitted ideas for how these landscapes should be classified.

The APA is now charged with preparing classification documents for 18,000-acres comprising the Essex Chain of Lakes, and Upper Hudson tracts. Those classification documents will be subject to the State Environmental Quality Review Act and must involve public hearings and a public comment period. It will prove most interesting to see if APA acts with the independence it has in law, respects the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan, and acts contrary to DEC recommendations on the Essex Chain of Lakes. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, January 29, 2013

2012 Lake George Invasives Program Report Released

USLakes-2012The Lake George Association (LGA) has released its annual report on the Lake George Lake Steward Program. According to LGA, since 2008 the organization’s lake stewards have inspected almost 25,000 boats at high traffic launches around the Lake, removed over 400 aquatic invasive species samples from boats, and have educated around 60,000 boaters about invasive species spread prevention.

The LGA’s 2012 report summarizes the data collected last year, and includes the number of boats inspected, the total number of animal and plant samples removed, the identity and quantity of invasive species found, and the most recent waterbody boats visited within two weeks prior to launching in Lake George. » Continue Reading.


Monday, January 28, 2013

Adirondack Climate Change: How About Oaks?

Johnny Appleseed, Harper’s New Monthly Magazine, 1871Several weeks ago, it was reported in the Almanack that the Adirondacks might be a potential location for mountain lion reintroduction. Over the past few decades, various types of wildlife have been restored to their former numbers in the Park, and over the past several centuries, many non-native species of flora and fauna have become established, either accidentally or on purpose in our environment.

During this present century, there will undoubtedly be a massive influx of life forms occurring throughout the region in response to the changing climate. While the mountain lion elicits much interest and emotion, its return would not have the same ecological impact as the formation of scattered patches of red oaks, white oaks, basswood, shagbark hickory, sweet birch and other trees that typify woodlands to our south.
» Continue Reading.


Friday, January 25, 2013

Protect’s Vision for Former Finch Pruyn Lands

Protect Upper Hudson mapProtect the Adirondacks has come up with a vision for the former Finch, Pruyn lands that is at odds with the management plan proposed by the state Department of Environmental Conservation.

Essentially, Protect wants more land classified as Wilderness.

The biggest difference is that Protect wants the Essex Chain of Lakes to be included in a 39,000-acre Upper Hudson Wilderness Area. The Wilderness Area would encompass lands that the state owns or intends to acquire over the next several years, including OK Slip Falls and the Hudson Gorge.

As I reported here this week, DEC proposes to classify the Essex Chain Wild Forest. Given this classification, DEC intends to keep open several interior roads, permit floatplanes to land on Third Lake in the Essex Chain (only during mud season), and allow mountain bikers to ride on a network of dirt roads in the vicinity of the chain—all of which would be banned under a Wilderness designation. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, January 24, 2013

Dan Crane: Promoting the Adirondacks to Death

View from Cat MountainTourism in the Adirondack Park is all the rage today. From the approval of the Adirondack Club & Resort in Tupper Lake to the governor’s proposed Adirondack Challenge, there is no shortage of ideas to promote the Adirondacks. The ultimate hope presumably being that people will flock to the area to experience the unique opportunities the Adirondacks provides.

They had just better bring their wallets.

In the race for the almighty dollar, it appears few are stopping to ponder whether increased tourism is a good idea for the Adirondacks. How will increased tourism change the nature of the Park? Will more people turn off those who already loyally visit the Park and favor its plentiful opportunities for solitude? Are hikers prepared for crowded trailheads and busy trails, muddied by the increased traffic and littered with rubbish from uncaring or careless hikers?
» Continue Reading.


Thursday, January 24, 2013

DEC Plan for Former Finch Lands Unveiled

essex classification map - hi resThe state Department of Environmental Conservation is proposing to classify the Essex Chain of Lakes and the surrounding landscape Wild Forest, a designation that environmental activists contend will allow too much motorized access.

Under DEC’s proposal, 13,000 of the Essex Chain Tract’s 18,000 acres would be classified Wild Forest. It would be called the Essex Chain Canoe Recreation Area. The other 5,000 acres, in the vicinity of the Hudson River, would become part of a Hudson Gorge Wilderness Area. The Wilderness Area would incorporate other lands that the state owns or intends to buy.

The Adirondack Council, Protect the Adirondacks, and the Adirondack Mountain Club (ADK) all want to see the bulk of the Essex Chain Tract classified Wilderness. (Click here to read about the council’s and Protect’s rival visions for the tract.) The major difference between Wilderness and Wild Forest is that motorized use is forbidden in Wilderness Areas. » Continue Reading.


Friday, January 18, 2013

Programs Highlighting Sportsmen, Outdoors Enthusiasts

Two program series set to begin this month in Newcomb and Keene offer events for sportsmen and outdoor enthusiasts. The Adirondack Mountain Club’s 2013 Winter Lecture Series will take place at the High Peaks Information Center, while the Adirondack Interpretive Center (AIC), formerly the Newcomb VIC, will offer a variety of programs highlighting the role that sportsmen in the Adirondacks play in conservation and game management.

The AIC’s programs will begin on January 26, with a focus on white-tailed deer. Future AIC program topics will include trapping, and preparing, cooking and enjoying fresh game. This month’s program will be led by Jeremy Hurst, a certified wildlife biologist with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. Hurst specializes in managing New York state’s big-game populations.
» Continue Reading.


Thursday, January 17, 2013

State Takes Action On Lake George Invasive Species

The Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and the Lake George Park Commission (LGPC) have announced they will take actions to prevent the spread and threat of aquatic invasive species in preparation for the summer 2013 Lake George boating season.  In addition, an environmental review of a long-term plan to address invasive species is expected to begin shortly.

The announcement is the latest state and local action designed to reduce the spread of invasive species, particularly aquatic invasives. In 2011 Warren County passed a law making the introduction and transport of aquatic invasive species into Warren County waterbodies illegal. The state’s first county law of its kind imposes a fine of up to $5,000 and up to 15 days in jail for violators. In July 2012, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the Invasive Species Prevention Act  into law, directing DEC and the NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets to develop by September 2013 a proposed list of invasive species to be regulated and prohibited.
» Continue Reading.



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