Posts Tagged ‘APA’

Friday, April 9, 2021

At 50, how are APA and DEC Performing?

Report of the Commission on the Adirondacks in the 21st Century April 1990In the just-approved 2021-22 state budget is a $3 billion-dollar environmental bond act, subject to voter approval this coming November. If approved, it may make a small dent in the $60+ billion needed statewide to upgrade our state’s old water and sewage treatment systems. If approved, it may help to do even more than we are doing today to prepare and make more resilient New Yorkers and their villages, towns, counties and cities for the more frequent and more severe weather events that will continue during a warming climate. And it may help to create more incentives to protect intact forests in private ownership to offset our carbon emissions.

If approved, maybe a tiny amount, relatively speaking, perhaps as little as a few hundreds of thousands of dollars from the $3 billion could go towards an independent evaluation of how well the Adirondack Park Agency and Department of Environmental Conservation are fulfilling their respective, but also overlapping missions.

This also being the 50th anniversary of the Adirondack Park Agency, the question should be asked: has there ever been an evaluation of the agency’s current and past performance visa vi its legislated responsibilities and jurisdiction? The answer is a qualified no.

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Tuesday, April 6, 2021

The ‘Forever Wild’ fight

Rockefeller

A couple of years ago we started kicking around some ideas for sharing with readers the story of the people who fought to create the Adirondack Park Agency: their fervor and idealism, their mapping and lobbying, and the pushback they encountered then and for years to come.

We had only started to discuss how we might go about assembling such a narrative, and who might be best to write it, when Ithaca journalist and author Brad Edmondson wrote us an unsolicited email suggesting that we might have a use for a bunch of interviews he had conducted with the same characters — both APA proponents and opponents — over the years. He had taped some of them with the understanding that he wouldn’t print anything until after they had died, and now that time had arrived.

 

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Monday, March 29, 2021

APA at 50: A daylong symposium

APA In June 1971, New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller signed legislation creating the Adirondack Park Agency, and the modern era of Adirondack history began. All private land in the Park was zoned according to how densely it could be developed, and the state-owned Forest Preserve was divided into various categories, with Wilderness Areas designated as the most tightly regulated. No one was happy with the new agency. Local government and business interests predicted economic catastrophe, while conservationists felt the new regime didn’t adequately protect the Park.

The Adirondack Experience: The Museum on Blue Mountain Lake (ADKX) will host a daylong symposium, free and open to the public, on June 22, 2021. This will be a virtual symposium: all presentations will be online.

For more details and to register, go here.

Photo: Gov Rockefeller signs the APA Private Land Use Plan legislation. Richard W. Lawrence, first APA Chair, looks on at left. Photo by Paul Schaefer/Almanack archive

Editor’s note: Starting today, the Explorer is running a series about the formation of the APA. Click here for the first one.


Thursday, March 18, 2021

Demystifying Wildlands Monitoring

Whitney WildernessThe long promised public unveiling of the Wildlands Monitoring Guidance by the Adirondack Park Agency (APA) and Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), once again, did not occur. It was planned for the March APA Board meeting and was pulled from the agenda during that two-day meeting. What is so secret about it? Nothing, actually. So, why the repeated lack of transparency over multiple years?

It appears that APA and DEC administrators are not understanding that Wildlands Monitoring is a planning and management process and framework – it is NOT a final plan, so it will never be “finished for presentation.” A report would start a process. Or maybe the implied accountability of using monitoring is daunting to administrators? Let’s explore these issues.

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Saturday, March 6, 2021

Discussion time: the APA at 50

We’re gearing up at the Adirondack Explorer to run a series looking back over the formation of the Adirondack Park Agency 50 years ago, as well as looking into the future of the agency.

Here are a few recent posts that are critical of the APA:

Things fall apart at the APA

Local government club at the APA

Now it’s time to weigh in and share your thoughts: What role should the APA play in the next 50 years? What’s working, what’s not?


Wednesday, March 3, 2021

A different kind of lobby day

lobby day 2020It’s hard to believe it’s already March 2021. One year ago I was getting my feet wet at the state Capitol, setting up shop at a table in the Legislative Correspondent’s Association offices on the third floor. Gov. Andrew Cuomo was beginning to hold more “Red Rooms,” meaning press conferences, about the coronavirus.

As of mid-March, I had stopped going to the Capitol. Since then, as with so many other folks, I have made home my workshop. While I am lucky to be able to conduct my job over email, the phone, Zoom and a few distanced in-person visits, I noticed just how different things are when advocacy groups posted on Twitter about the Adirondack Park lobbying day last week. 

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Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Proposed campground for Hinckley and more from this month’s APA meeting

hinckley day use areaIn case you missed last week’s Adirondack Park Agency meeting, here are a few highlights.

The APA is collecting public comments on the Hinckley Day Use Area unit management plan proposed by the state Department of Environmental Conservation. Specifically, the APA will look at how this plan meshes with the Adirondack State Park Master Plan. DEC is proposing a revamp of the area, including new multi-use trails, additional camping opportunities and a pavilion at Price’s Point. Click here for more info, including how to comment.

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Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Things Fall Apart At The Adirondack Park Agency

The Adirondack Park Agency (APA) was rocked last week with the sudden resignation of Chad Dawson, who served as one of three APA Board members from outside the Adirondack Park Blue Line. Dawson is a Professor Emeritus at SUNY ESF, who not literally, but actually, wrote the book on the management of Wilderness and public lands. See Wilderness Management: Stewardship and Protection of Resources and Values (4th edition). Though Dawson was an authority on public lands management and is recognized widely across the U.S. as an expert, few at the APA and the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) would listen to him.

Dawson took words on paper seriously, especially the words of the APA Act and Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan. One such case was where the Master Plan calls for carrying capacity studies on public water bodies during the development of Unit Management Plans (UMPs), a clause that the DEC has long refused to acknowledge and fulfill. The APA has never tried to uphold this requirement. At deliberations over UMPs in the last four years, Dawson would point to this section of the Master Plan and he would be met with yawns from other APA Board members that the APA has never asked for these studies before, so why start now.

» Continue Reading.


Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Chad Dawson resigns from the APA

Last week’s Adirondack Park Agency meeting was a humdinger.

Board members, state Department of Environmental Conservation staff and APA staff all discussed two major projects that have led to plenty of passionate public comment. Those included visions for the Debar Mountain Complex and some changes to the Essex Chain Lakes area.

About three hours into this meeting, with the above-mentioned projects taking up the majority of the time, board member Chad Dawson announced his resignation. Dawson (pictured here) has been a wilderness advocate on the board, whose membership leans toward local government and economic development.

» Continue Reading.


Friday, December 11, 2020

APA, DEC announce new public comment period, public hearing for Debar

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYS DEC) and the Adirondack Park Agency (APA), as co – lead agencies, have determined that the Integrated Series of Proposed State Land Management Actions in the Vicinity of Debar Mountain Wild Forest may have a significant adverse impact on the environment and have prepared a Draft Generic Environmental Impact Statement (DGEIS) and Final Scope. NYS DEC and the APA announce an opportunity for public comment on the proposed actions.

The APA proposes re-classification of approximately 41 acres of land from the Debar Mountain Wild Forest to be classified as Intensive Use, on the shore of Debar Pond.  The reclassification proposal will be reviewed for compliance with the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan and will be in conformance with the Programmatic EIS.  The proposed reclassification is located in the Town of Duane.

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Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Government agencies in pandemic: Lack of connection, transparency

Since the Adirondack Park Agency’s monthly meetings went virtual, I have patched in to watch the fuzzy images and hear the fuzzy voices of the commissioners, on a feed that has the flavor of convicted felons appearing in court via closed circuit video.

And I’ve thought: This is a leading agency in a leading state in a leading country in the world and this is the best we can do? And the answer is, Yes! It is! Because other agencies, boards and panels are much worse. At least with the APA you can get a vague notion of what they are doing, as opposed to some remote Facebook feeds that are entirely inaudible or, in the case of one local government meeting, was broadcast upside down.

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Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Corrections on Saranac Lake Marina Commentary

The Adirondack Almanack has removed the commentary by Tom Jorling “Weighing in on Saranac Lake Marina plans” because it contained inaccuracies brought to our attention by representatives of the Marina. For the record, Mr. Jorling’s comments are filed publicly with the Adirondack Park Agency. We regret the inclusion of incorrect and outdated information on the Almanack.

From a spreadsheet of facts provided by Matt Norfolk of Norfolk Law, Lake Placid, representing Saranac Lake Marina:

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Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Did the Governor Appoint APA Members on the Basis of their Qualifications?

The protection and planning for the Adirondack Park’s six million acres, one-fifth of the state, rests in large measure on the motivation and independence of the Adirondack Park Agency’s staff and board members in Ray Brook.  Seven members were just nominated by Governor Cuomo and confirmed to sit at the APA’s table by the State Senate.  How should we think about them? How should we think about them in light of Governor Cuomo’s challenge to reimagine and improve public policies and practices – to “build back better”?

» Continue Reading.


Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Amending the APA Map and the burden of proof

George Davis is a visionary and practiced land use planner and ecologist. In the early years of the Adirondack Park Agency, George helped to conceive, draft, and implement the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan and the park’s Private Land Use and Development Plan.

George Davis comes to my mind now because of several proposed amendments to the APA’s Adirondack Park private land use map, the so-called “fruit salad” map displaying the private and public land classes. The proposed amendments to the map now up for a decision are for 34 acres to go from Moderate Intensity Use to Hamlet in Lake Placid, sponsored by the Town of North Elba, and for 105 acres to go from Rural Use to Moderate Intensity in Lake Luzerne, sponsored by that town.

» Continue Reading.


Wednesday, May 13, 2020

APA to hear cases, accept public comments this month

After a quiet April, the Adirondack Park Agency has a number of projects open for public comment this month, from new cell towers to a proposal to weaken restrictions on a swath of land.

The public hearings and comment periods for these projects are separate from the agency’s monthly meeting, which is slated for 1 p.m. on Thursday, May 14. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the meeting will be held remotely. The public may call in at 518-549-0500 and Access Code 613 297 758, or may join through Webex online.

Gwendolyn Craig gives a rundown of the projects under review this month in this Adirondack Explorer article: https://www.adirondackexplorer.org/stories/apa-projects.



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