I have to confess, I love Google Maps, and not just because I’m a map guy. Google Maps is my “go-to” when exploring unfamiliar territory. There’s a reason why Google Maps is the most popular smartphone app. Forget browser searches—it is far more efficient to just type in what you’re looking for into Google Maps, and presto- you have a nice interactive map showing the nearest examples complete with links and (mostly) accurate directions, not only for driving, but also bicycling, public transit and even walking.
However, you may have noticed that the usefulness of Google Maps declines as you get into the Adirondack Park. » Continue Reading.
The 15th Annual Adirondack Park Local Government Day Conference is scheduled for March 20 and 21, 2012 at the Crowne Plaza Resort in Lake Placid. The event is presented by the Adirondack Park Agency (APA), Adirondack Association of Towns and Villages (AATV), Adirondack Park Local Government Review Board (LGRB), NYS Department of State (DOS), NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), and Empire State Development Corporation.
The event begins on Tuesday afternoon with a discussion on the governor’s economic development councils initiative. Co-chair Garry Douglas and regional directors from the Capital, Mohawk and North County are expected to discuss economic development strategies for the Adirondack Park. Tuesday afternoon concludes with a facilitated forum with local and state leaders including AATV President Brian Towers, APA Chairwoman Leilani Ulrich, Adirondack Partnership (a consortium of municipalities and economic development agencies) Chairman Bill Farber, DEC Deputy Commissioner Marc Gerstman, DOS Deputy Secretary Dede Scozzafava, ESD Regional Director Roseanne Murphy and LGRB Executive Director Fred Monroe, who are expected to offer their thoughts on the role of state agencies and local governments in shaping the future of the Adirondack Park.
An informal social with state and local officials follows the Tuesday afternoon session. On Wednesday, a full-day of conference presentations and workshops focuses on Adirondack issues, community planning, and training for planning and zoning board members. Economic development topics continue to be featured along with examples of community initiatives and municipal efficiencies. The full conference agenda and registration materials are available on the Adirondack Park Agency’s website.
With the New York State Legislature wrapping up another session, I thought it would be a good idea to take a look at some of the bills making their way through the process. This list is not complete, but contains those items that are important in one way or another to the Adirondack Park.
There are two online systems that provide information about latest legislative actions and the status of bills. The NYS Senate’s Open Legislation system is still in Beta, but is apparently up to date, includes the latest Assembly info as well, and has the easiest user interface. The older system, the Legislative Research Service system, claims to offer “up to the minute” information.
Prohibiting NYS From Purchasing Land for Forest Preserve Betty Little’s bill to prohibit the state from purchasing forest land in fee title and to only allow purchases by conservation easement. Killed just after 4 p.m. today in the Senate Rules Committee, a final stop on the way to a floor vote. (S. 1501 Little)
National Grid Land Exchange This legislation will complete the Constitutional Amendment authorizing land swap that was approved by voters in 2009, allowing the New York Power Authority and National Grid to complete the Route 56 Tri-Lakes power line project. In exchange for receiving six acres of State Forest Preserve, National Grid is buying and giving to the public 20 acres that will be included in the Adirondack Forest Preserve. The bill is in the Ways and Means Committee in the Assembly and on the floor in the Senate. (A. 8214 Sweeney / S. 4861-A Griffo)
EPF Revenue Enhancer This bill would, over the next four years, add the unclaimed nickel deposits from “bottle bill” revenues as an additional source of money for the Environmental Protection Fund (EPF). The EPF provides grants for land acquisition, invasive species control, smart growth projects and water quality improvements. This legislation is currently in the Ways and Means Committee in the Assembly and Finance Committee in the Senate. (A. 7137 Latimer / S. 5403 Grisanti)
Defines Adirondack ‘Community Housing’ Defines “community housing” for purposes of the Adirondack Park to mean four dwelling units not exceeding 1500 square feet of floor space each, located on one contiguous parcel within a moderate intensity use or low intensity use land use area, and meeting certain other defined land use criteria. Advanced to Third Reading in both the Senate and Assembly on Tuesday; Senate vote expected today. (S. 4165-A LITTLE / A. 8303 Sweeney)
Restricting APA Powers Over Campgrounds Prohibits the Adirondack Park Agency from promulgating or implementing any rule, regulation or land use and development plan, related to campgrounds, which is inconsistent with the provisions of any rule or regulation of the department of health relating thereto. Third reading in the Senate; Environmental Conservation Committee in the the Assembly. (S. 343 LITTLE / A. 149 Sayward)
Re-defining ‘Campground’ in the Adirondack Park Redefines “campground” for the purposes of the Adirondack Park and regulation by the Adirondack Park Agency; defines such term as a parcel of land with 5 or more campsites, including buildings and accessory structures; provides that recreational vehicles may be kept at a campground or campsite, with the consent of the owner of the campground, during periods of time when they are not in use, so long as they are not used in a manner which violates the campground permit. Passed Senate, referred to Assembly’s Environmental Conservation Committee on Monday. (S.345 LITTLE / A. 151 Sayward)
Requiring APA Appointments from Approved List Requires the governor to appoint the five members of the Adirondack park agency who reside in the park, from a list established by the legislative bodies of the counties in the Adirondack park and the Adirondack Association of Towns and Villages. Referred to Finance in Senate; Environmental Conservation in Assembly. (S.822 LITTLE / A. 511 Sayward)
Removing Land Use Planning Power of APA Makes state lands within the Adirondack Park subject to the local land use plan of the municipality in which the land is located. Betty Little Senate bill sent to Senate Finance Committee in May; there is no Assembly bill. (S. 5188 LITTLE)
10 Year APA Enforcement Statute of Limitations Establishes a ten year statute of limitations to enforce violations of rules and regulations of Adirondack Park Agency committed within the Adirondack park. senate bill moved to Finance committee in May; Assembly bill in Codes committee since January. (S. 823 LITTLE / A. 512 Sayward)
“Adirondack Sportsmen’s Club Preservation Act” Requires that state acquisition of open space shall remain subject to the leases of sportsmen’s clubs thereon. “Sportsmen’s clubs shall be deemed to retain exclusive access to and usage rights for hunting and fishing, while allowing public access to the land for other recreational activities.” In Senate Finance Committee. Betty Little bill in the Senate (S. 2487); no corresponding Assembly bill.
Opening Backcountry Waters to Disabled Veterans on Floatplanes Directs the development of a permit system to provide disabled veterans access to certain restricted bodies of water in the Adirondack park through the use of float planes. Passed the Senate; in Assembly Environmental Conservation committee (S.824 LITTLE / A. 518 Sayward).
Public Right of Passage on Navigable Waters Codifies the public right of passage upon navigable waterways of the state for purposes of commerce or recreation. Referred to the Assembly Codes Committee in May; no bill in the Senate since February, 2002 in deference to Senator Betty Little. (A370-2011 HOYT)
Boat Launch Preservation Act Requires that one percent of the 4 cents per gallon gasoline surcharge on gasoline which is used on waterways but not more than 5 million dollars per fiscal year is to be deposited in the dedicated boat launch site fund; moneys of such fund shall be disbursed for design, construction, maintenance and improvement of boat launches and boat access sites. Referred to Assembly Ways and Means Committee in February; no sponsor in the Senate. (A5546 ENGLEBRIGHT)
Requiring Large Water Withdrawal Permits Would grant DEC permitting abilities for withdrawals of large amounts of water (over 100,000 gallons per day) from lakes, rivers, streams or underground sources. Exemptions exist for agricultural water sources. The bill has passed the Assembly and is currently awaiting action on the Senate floor. (A. 5318-A Sweeney / S. 3798 Grisanti)
Creating ‘Non-Trail Snowmobile’ Registration Establishes a non-trail snowmobile registration for snowmobiles which shall be used solely for the purpose of gaining access to hunting and fishing areas. Referred to Transportation Committee in both the Senate and Assembly in January. (S1206 GRIFFO / A 1141 Magee)
Requiring A DEC Wildlife Economic Impact Report Requires the Department of Environmental Conservation to prepare a report on the economic impact of hunting, fishing, and wildlife-associated activities in New York. In Senate Finance Committee since January; no Assembly sponsor. (S653 VALESKY)
Extending DEC Northern Zone Special Muzzle-Loading Powers This bill would extend DEC’s authority to establish, by regulation, management measures for muzzle-loading firearm big game special season in the Northern Zone until October 1, 2015. In the Adirondacks, concern about lower deer numbers might result in a short, early muzzle-loading season. Passed Assembly but modified in Senate; returned to Assembly June 6. (S4967 GRISANTI / A 6953 Gunther)
Allowing Fishing With Three Lines Environmental Conservation Law would authorize an individual to angle for fish with up to 3 lines in freshwater until December 31, 2013. Currently one person may operate not more than two lines on any waters. Passed by Senate, amended and now at Third Reading. Codes committee in the Assembly. (S.2462-B LIBOUS / A.3480-B Russell)
Gift Cards for Hunting and Fishing Licenses Directs the commissioner of environmental conservation to create gift cards for hunting and fishing licenses. Ordered to Third Reading in the Senate yesterday and on today’s Senate Floor calendar; Referred to Assembly Environmental Conservation Committee in May. (S. 5161 RITCHIE / A. 7576 Gunther)
Extending Coyote Season from March 28 to May 31 Establishes the open season for hunting coyotes as October 1 through May 31 (currently march 28). Sent to Environmental Conservation committee in January; currently no Assembly sponsor. (S2486 LITTLE)
Bear Gall Bladders Senate version at third reading: “Prohibits the possession, sale, barter, offer, purchase, transportation, delivery, or receipt of bear gallbladder, bile, or any product, item, or substance containing, or labeled or advertised as containing, bear gallbladders or bile; exempts federal and state government and individuals with a valid hunting license from transporting one bear gallbladder.” In several committees in the Assembly.
Sacandaga Inland Waterway This bill would add the Sacandaga River to a list of inland waterways which are eligible to receive funding through the Department of State’s Waterfront Revitalization Program (part of the Environmental Protection Fund). It was already passed in the Assembly and waiting for consideration on the Senate floor. (A. 7241 Sayward / S. 4763 Farley)
Commemorate Adirondack Medical Center 100th What is known today as the Adirondack Medical Center began as two separate hospitals, the General Hospital of Saranac Lake, and the Placid Memorial Hospital of Lake Placid. Built at the top of Winona Avenue, the General Hospital of Saranac Lake was founded in 1911; The Placid Memorial Hospital Fund, was organized in 1947, and plans for construction of a new hospital to be located on a Church Street parcel were developed. Doors were opened at the Placid Memorial Hospital of Lake Placid on February 4, 1951. Referred to Finance yesterday. (J. 2567 LITTLE)
Creates A Constitutional Right to Hunt, Fish, and Trap Prohibits counties and other local municipalities from regulating hunting, fishing, and trapping. Both referred to Attorney general for Opinion in May. (S2382-A SEWARD / A 6864-A Gunther)
Soil & Water Conserv Dist Invasive Species Program Authorizes a public information and education program for soil and water conservation districts and relates to the spread of invasive species. Passed Senate in May; Sent to Assembly’s Environmental Conservation Committee the same day. (S2839-A YOUNG / A 3555 Magee)
Establishes Invasive Species Stewards, Paddling Fee Establishes the aquatic invasive species volunteer steward program within the office of parks, recreation and historic preservation; such program shall use volunteers to collect information on alien plants and animals in state water, and educate boaters thereon; imposes an annual $6 permit fee upon non-motorized vessels and requires the revenue to be deposited into the I love NY waterways vessel access account. Referre to Senate Finance Committee in February; no assembly sponsor. (S3519 JOHNSON)
Repeals Defunct Water Quality Compacts Repeals the Champlain Basin Compact, the Mid-Atlantic States Air Pollution Control Compact and the Delaware River Basin Water Commission Compact. To clean up and clarify the Environmental Conservation Law by repealing certain outdated sections which relate to proposed interstate compacts that were never established. These include: a 1966 law which proposed a Champlain Basin Compact; a 1967 law which proposed a Mid-Atlantic States Air pollution Control Compact; and a 1952 law which proposed a Delaware River Basin Water Commission Compact (not to he confused with the existing Delaware River Basin Compact). Refereed to Senate Environmental Conservation Committee in May; no Assembly sponsor. (S5139 FARLEY)
The 14th Annual Adirondack Park Local Government Day Conference is scheduled for March 22 and 23, 2011 in Lake Placid, New York at the Crowne Plaza Resort. This event is presented by the Adirondack Park Agency, Adirondack Association of Towns and Villages, Adirondack Park Local Government Review Board, NYS Department of State, NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, and Empire State Development Corporation. The annual event begins on Tuesday afternoon with a discussion lead by Curt Stiles, Adirondack Park Agency Chairman; Bill Farber, Adirondack Partnership; Garry Douglas, Governor’s Committee for Economic Development and Labor; Matthew Driscoll, President, NYS Environmental Facilities Corporation; Joe Martens, Acting Commissioner, NYS Department of Environmental Conservation; and Darrin Derosia, Associate Counsel, NYS Department of State to examine the challenges facing governmental organizations in 2011, the opportunities for change, and the future for the Park’s environment, economy and communities. Immediately following will be a facilitated forum style question and answer session with local and State leaders.
An informal social with State and local officials follows the Tuesday afternoon session.
On Wednesday, a full-day of conference presentations and workshops focuses on Adirondack issues, community planning, and training for planning and zoning board members. Keynote speaker, Dede Scozzafava, Deputy Secretary for Local Government at the NYS Department of State, will deliver her message during the lunch time session. The full conference agenda and registration materials are available on the Adirondack Park Agency’s website.
A long awaited report sponsored by the Adirondack Association of Towns and Villages (AATV) that profiles all the 103 municipalities that comprise the Adirondack Park was released on June 3rd. My copy was provided by Fred Monroe (Town of Chester Supervisor, Chair of the Warren County Board of Supervisors, Executive Director for the Adirondack Park Local Government Review Board, and an Executive Board Member of the Adirondack Association of Towns & Villages).
A certain Almanack editor turned 43 over the weekend, reaching the average age of an Adirondacker. But in this respect, the Adirondacks is anything but average.
Elsewhere in New York State and most other parts of the country the average age is more like 31 or 35, says Brad Dake, coordinator of a new comprehensive statistical study of the Adirondack Park. It’s no surprise to people living here that young people often leave to find work. But what surprised Dake is the number of older people who have moved to the park. “This inmigration is causing a rapid aging of the population. We could almost find ourselves at the level of western Florida in two decades,” Dake says. Almost every Adirondack community has a handful of new-ish residents in their 40s, 50s and 60s who have made their money elsewhere and decided to move here for a lifestyle change, he says. Collectively they form a demographic wave. Three decades ago the average age in the Adirondacks was 31. “The Adirondack age is growing at a pace of four years per decade, which is astounding. That is cause for at least curiosity, if not alarm,” Dake says.
This nugget of information is one of many to come from the Adirondack Park Regional Assessment Project, a two-year study of infrastructure, education, land use, geography, demographics and government services in every town in the Adirondack Park.
The study originated with the Adirondack Association of Towns and Villages (AATV), which will publish a final report of about 70 findings on its Web site around April 15. Other participants include the Adirondack North Country Association and the LA Group, a Saratoga-based consulting firm. Dake, who is chairman of the Arietta planning board, took an interest in the project and helped obtain a $93,000 grant from the Department of State. AATV provided $20,000. The partners previewed their findings at a meeting of local government officials in Lake Placid last week.
Some other numbers:
— 40 percent of private land parcels are owned by people or companies in zip codes outside the park — 76 percent of land inside the Blue Line is protected from development — After subtracting steep slopes, wetlands and unsuitable soils, 15 percent of the park remains for building (much of it already built) — There has been a 31 percent drop in school enrollment over 30 years — There has been a 40 percent increase in the number of teachers — 44 percent of Franklin County workers are employed by government — One out of 26 park residents lives in a correctional facility (5,125 out of 132,000)
Dake says the partners have tried to avoid interpreting the data or making recommendations so that people don’t think the numbers are twisted to suit an agenda. “If we’re going to be talking about what the park already is, we’ve got to start talking in terms that everybody understands,” he says.