Posts Tagged ‘adirondack report’

Thursday, March 23, 2023

Why we don’t use the term “overuse”

Panelists speak about diversity, equity and inclusion at Camp Chingachgook in Fort Ann last week. Photo by Gwendolyn Craig

Camp Chingachgook in Fort Ann hosted a diversity, equity and inclusion panel on Friday evening providing interesting perspectives and discussion. The evening was sponsored by the Lake George Land Conservancy’s Next Generation Committee. The panel included Raul “Rocci” Aguirre, acting executive director of the Adirondack Council; Martha Swan, executive director and founder of John Brown Lives; Tiffany Rea-Fisher, director of the Adirondack Diversity Initiative; and Pete Nelson, co-founder of Adirondack Wilderness Advocates and the Adirondack Diversity Initiative.

It was one of the first public appearances for Rea-Fisher in her new role and one of the first for Aguirre since Willie Janeway announced he was stepping down.

» Continue Reading.

Tuesday, March 14, 2023

Big solar, plus APA court decisions

Solar panels

I sifted through the new Office of Renewable Energy Siting’s regulations and talked to some state and nonprofit sources about large-scale solar projects and the permitting process. Some of you have had questions about solar capacity factors and decommissioning, among other things, in my time covering these solar facility permits. We try to answer some of them for you here.

The Adirondack Park Agency lost two separate court decisions —one involving a marina permit on Lower Saranac Lake and another involving an herbicide permit on Lake George. The Court of Appeals case involving a private marina was the first to come out, and in an unanimous opinion judges criticized how the APA has been applying its wetlands regulations. We learned Judge Robert Muller, of the state Supreme Court in Warren County, issued a decision on a Lake George herbicide permit suit that scolded APA for being “one-sided” in its application review and said the agency should have held an adjudicatory hearing. » Continue Reading.

Tuesday, March 7, 2023

Adirondack Council leader to step down

lobby day 2020

Willie Janeway, executive director of the Adirondack Council for the last decade, is stepping down in September. The news follows leadership changes coming for other prominent Adirondack Park organizations including the Barkeater Trails Alliance and Protect the Adirondacks.

Janeway said he is not retiring, and he’s not sure what’s next. It was time for a transition, he said. You can read more here.

» Continue Reading.

Monday, February 27, 2023

Budget requests for the park

From left, Justin Driscoll, acting president and CEO of the New York Power Authority; Doreen Harris, president and CEO of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority; and Basil Seggos, commissioner of the state Department of Environmental Conservation, testify before lawmakers during a joint budget hearing on Feb. 14 in the New York State Capitol in Albany.

Gov. Kathy Hochul’s proposed $237 billion state budget did not include carve-outs for visitor safety and management for the Adirondack and Catskills parks in the $400 million environmental protection fund. The state Department of Environmental Conservation has said the money is still available for those items, but Commissioner Basil Seggos noted in his testimony last week that there are differences in opinion over whether an earmark is needed.

Several Adirondack Park organizations called for the line item to be restored. Some, including the Adirondack Mountain Club, also called for it to be boosted from last year’s $8 million to $10 million.

You can read more about Tuesday’s environmental conservation budget hearing here.

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Wednesday, February 22, 2023

Wild Forest roads questions continue

roads in wild forest

Adirondack Park Agency commissioners appear closer to making a decision on wild forest roads and what constitutes a “material increase.” In a more than hour-long discussion last week, they considered a fourth option that may be sent to public comment at next month’s meeting, showing that the other three options may be fading into the background.

These policy questions are important because they could determine whether long-used roads are closed and if local governments support future state land acquisitions. Roads also impact the park’s ecology and in a presentation before commissioners, APA staff showed just how much a relatively small strip of road can impact wildlife habitat, invasive species spread and hydrological systems.

But first, here’s a quick recap on this policy-dense matter that has been circulating since May (and arguably since 1972, though the questions were more recently pressed).

» Continue Reading.

Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Behind the scenes look at the governor’s budget reveal

Gov Kathy Hochul, wearing red, at a podium

Last week, Gov. Kathy Hochul presented her $227 billion executive budget in Albany. Here’s a little glimpse into how it all unfolds for reporters in Albany.

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Monday, January 30, 2023

New diversity director; outgoing APA commissioner

Tiffany Rea-Fisher is the new director of the Adirondack Diversity Initiative.

The Adirondack Diversity Initiative has a new director starting next month, Tiffany Rea-Fisher. I spoke with her over the phone last week about her role as an area choreographer and her upcoming role at ADI. Rea-Fisher will take the helm after former Director Nicole Hylton-Patterson left in the fall.

I also spoke with members of ADI’s core team and staff with the Adirondack North Country Association, which houses the ADI program. There will be a push this state budgetary cycle for a $100,000 increase in what the state gave ADI last year ($300,000). You can read more about ADI’s new leader and the organization’s future in our story here.

» Continue Reading.

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

Remembering Gary Lovett, forest expert

Gary Lovett, a forest ecologist at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, presents at an invasive species meeting in October 2022 in Blue Mountain Lake. Lovett died in December.

I’m sorry to report that Gary Lovett, a forest ecologist at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies in Millbrook, died last month while cross country skiing in the Catskills. Lovett was a source I could often turn to about Adirondack forestry issues, and was most recently featured in our January/February issue for a story about hemlock woolly adelgid. I learned of his death this weekend from Mark Whitmore, of the New York State Hemlock Institute at Cornell University. Whitmore and Lovett had recently presented at an Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program summit on invasive species in October. Whitmore said Lovett’s “passing leaves a huge gap in New York’s scientific awareness of issues impacting our forests.”

» Continue Reading.

Tuesday, January 10, 2023

A wrap up of 2022 policy news

Gov. Kathy Hochul celebrates the start of construction on the Champlain Hudson Power Express on Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2022 in Whitehall. Photo by Gwendolyn Craig

The end of 2022 was busy with policy news as Gov. Kathy Hochul signed and vetoed remaining bills. On the afternoon of Dec. 23 she signed the 30-by-30 bill setting a conservation goal for the state to protect 30% of its lands and waters by 2030. You can read more on that here.

» Continue Reading.

Monday, January 2, 2023

Great Sacandaga campground approved

An Adirondack Park Agency presentation shows the slice of a proposed campground in Mayfield that is located in the Adirondack Park.

The Adirondack Park Agency gave its stamp of approval for an RV campground in the town of Mayfield at is monthly meeting last week. It also sent out to public comment plans for an expanded boat launch and a beach closure in Broadalbin, about seven miles from where the campground is planned.

The two projects brought up some interesting questions about the park’s boundary, which does not include the southern tip of Great Sacandaga Lake. You can read more about the projects and the Blue Line discussion here.

» Continue Reading.

Tuesday, December 13, 2022

Champlain Hudson Power Express breaks ground

An indoor ceremonial groundbreaking for the Champlain Hudson Power Express in Whitehall. Photo by Gwendolyn Craig
Last week, about a couple of hundred people attended a ceremonial groundbreaking of the Champlain Hudson Power Express in Whitehall, including Gov. Kathy Hochul. Whitehall is just outside the Adirondack Park in Washington County. Its population is about 2,485. It’s the birthplace of the U.S. Navy and perhaps also known for its Sasquatch Calling Festival. The village has had its share of building and water infrastructure struggles. I’ve covered some of them in past newspaper jobs, but just this morning I received a New York alert from Whitehall’s department of public works about a water emergency, asking users to conserve water and to look for any signs of a major leak.

» Continue Reading.

Monday, December 5, 2022

An APA chairman’s legacy

john ernst

John Ernst has been chair of the Adirondack Park Agency for over a year now. I sat down with him and his wife Margot over the summer to see how his new role was going. We also talked about his deep family connection to the Adirondacks, which is how I learned that Ernst’s grandfather, a magician and the attorney for escape artist Harry Houdini, started the multi-generation treks to Elk Lake from New York City.

» Continue Reading.

Tuesday, November 15, 2022

APA case spurs free speech question

On July 28, 2022, Gov. Kathy Hochul visited Lake Placid ahead of the 2023 FISU World University Games. Photo by Darren McGee/Office of Governor Kathy Hochul

Last week, voters approved a $4.2 billion environmental bond act and kept Democrat Gov. Kathy Hochul in office. We took a look at how voters within the Blue Line cast their ballots. Adirondack Park residents heavily favored Hochul’s competition, Republican Lee Zeldin. They also had mixed voting on the bond act.

You can read our story here.

» Continue Reading.

Thursday, November 10, 2022

Bug battle on Lake George

A hemlock branch covered in the white masses of invasive hemlock woolly adelgid seen on Oct. 27, 2022 at Paradise Bay on Lake George. Photo by Gwendolyn Craig

We are getting to that time of year where you can more easily check hemlock trees for invasive woolly adelgids. The insects sprout white wool to keep them warm in the winter, which is easier to see than the black specks they tend to look like in the spring. Remember to flip the branches over to look.

It’s strange talking about aphids bundling up for the cold weather, though, when it has been such a warm start to November. Some of our local lilac bushes have budded, and my small vegetable garden rebounded with a few grape tomatoes–a tasty surprise, but unsettling. But back to the bugs.

» Continue Reading.

Friday, November 4, 2022

Election Day is coming, and here’s a bond act breakdown

Funding left from the 1996 environmental bond act may build a new fish ladder on the Imperial Mills Dam so salmon may spawn upriver of the structure. Anglers would like to see the dam removed. Photo by Benjamin Chambers

Environmental Advocates Action released its scorecard of 2022 last week, ranking lawmakers on their environmental voting records.

State Sen. Dan Stec, R-Queensbury, received a score of 47/100 and state Sen. Jim Tedisco, R-Glenville, received 59/100. In the state Assembly, Plattsburgh Democrat Billy Jones received a 63/100 while Horicon Republican Matt Simpson received a 34/100. You can view the full scorecard here.

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