Some major changes are afoot for our “Forever Wild” Adirondack Forest Preserve. Last fall, the Adirondack Park Agency (APA) held a series of “listening sessions” regarding possible amendments to the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan (SLMP).
The APA sought ideas and comments at these meetings, which staff members dutifully recorded. The APA also solicited comments by mail, fax, or email. All told, the APA received over 1,600 pages of comments, which were distilled to a 15-page report that the APA produced in January. » Continue Reading.
The recognizable logos of our individual New York state agencies, symbolic of each agency mission and purpose, suddenly appear to be endangered, or extinct. They have lasted in many cases for 40 years or longer.
For instance, there was the familiar round NYS Department of Environmental Conservation logo, quite attractive really, with symbols indicative of its mission to protect our waters, our air, our land, and our mountains. As far as I know, the DEC logo dates to the agency’s very creation in law back in 1972. It must have an interesting origin story. And it was ubiquitous until late last year, appearing on DEC headquarters and many regional buildings. On searches in vain for it now on the DEC website. I had to eventually Google it.
A month ago I published a little survey on mountain bikingOne of the focal points of recent efforts revise the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan (SLMP) has been where and how to allow mountain biking, specifically in the Essex Chain of Lakes. This has generated a lot of discussion about the appropriateness of mountain biking in the Forest Preserve.
New York State is clearly promoting it: the Adirondack Park Agency has signaled an interest in allowing mountain biking in the Essex Chain (which would require new policy, as currently mountain biking is prohibited in Wilderness and Primitive areas) and DEC is opening the Moose River Plains Wild Forest Unit Management Plan to amendments that would support their conceptual mountain bike plan for a 100-mile single track trail system. » Continue Reading.
The Adirondack Park Agency Board authorized staff at its January meeting to hold public hearings and accept public comment for proposed rules that would establish emergency project regulations. The rules would define emergencies as events or conditions that present an immediate threat to life or property and specific storm events that are declared emergencies by federal or state officials. The regulations would expedite approval for land use or development qualifying as emergency projects that directly address the remediation or recovery of property impacted from an emergency. » Continue Reading.
The Adirondacks would benefit from some of the priorities expressed by Governor Andrew Cuomo in his 2015 State of the State address on Wednesday. The proposals are expected to help protect water quality, combat invasive species, bolster APA and DEC staffing, increase the Environmental Protection Fund, expand broadband locally, and cut the risk of explosive oil trains moving through the region. The Adirondack Park is the largest park in the contiguous United States and contains most of the motor-free wilderness remaining in the Northeast. » Continue Reading.
September, 2013 was the high point in the Adirondack Park Agency’s history of engagement on conservation development for new subdivisions.
By January, 2015, as evidenced by their actions in support of New York Land and Lakes corporation’s project for 24 residential lots that parcel out two water bodies (along with streams and wetlands, all on Resource Management lands), APA had lost interest. » Continue Reading.
This fall, the Adirondack Park Agency invited the public to offer ideas for revising the State Land Master Plan – which hasn’t been substantially amended since 1987 – and the agency got an earful.Among those submitting suggestions were the Adirondack Park Local Government Review Board, environmental organizations, mountain bikers, and backcountry skiers.
The Local Government Review Board, which has a non-voting seat on the APA board, proposed a number of amendments. Perhaps the most fundamental change would put economic development on an equal footing with natural resource protection in the plan’s mission statement. » Continue Reading.
The Adirondack Park Agency board voted unanimously Thursday to approve a controversial development at a former Boy Scouts camp in the southern Adirondacks.
New York Land and Lakes Development LLC plans to subdivide the 1,119-acre property into 24 building lots, most of them bordering two water bodies, Hines Pond and Woodworth Lake. The lots range from three acres to 145 acres.
All of the Park’s four major environmental groups as well as the regional chapter of the Sierra Club opposed the project. They contend that the developers should be forced to minimize fragmentation of the forest by clustering homes closer together.
There will be many eulogies this week for Mario M. Cuomo. For me, the former Governor, like a certain white pine in our woods whose annual whorl of branches totes up the years I have lived here, is a measure of my time on this earth.
Thirty years ago last summer, Mario M. Cuomo gave that great address in San Francisco to the Democratic National Convention. I had just moved to upstate New York that year to be with Susan. As Governor, Mario Cuomo helped define the first eight years I worked for the Association for the Protection of the Adirondacks. » Continue Reading.
The Adirondack Park Agency’s promise to consider allowing mountain biking in the Essex Chain Lakes Primitive Area has generated a broader discussion – with much disagreement – of the place of bikes in the Forest Preserve.
The Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan allows bikes on trails in tracts classified as Wild Forest Areas but prohibits them in Wilderness Areas. They are allowed in Primitive Areas only on old roads used by state officials for managing natural resources. » Continue Reading.
The advocacy group Adirondack Wild: Friends of the Forest Preserve has issued a report calling for strengthening in policy and practice under the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan (SLMP).
The Adirondack Park Agency (APA) is currently considering amendments to the SLMP, the governing document for the classification and management of constitutionally protected Forest Preserve lands within the Adirondack Park. » Continue Reading.
Environmentalists challenging the proposed Adirondack Club and Resort in Tupper Lake have lost their bid to continue their lawsuit against the developer and the Adirondack Park Agency.
The Court of Appeals, the state’s highest tribunal, today rejected a motion by Protect the Adirondacks and the Sierra Club seeking permission to appeal a lower court’s dismissal of the lawsuit.
The green groups contended, among other things, that the project violated the APA Act by fragmenting timberlands into “Great Camp” estates. The APA, which approved the project in January 2012, maintains that the project is legal.
“We’re very disappointed in the decision,” Peter Bauer, executive director of Protect, told Adirondack Almanack. “It takes thousands of acres of timberlands and puts them on the chopping block.”
A couple of weeks ago my friend Dave Mason sent me an interesting article from the New York Review of Books. The article was “It’s Time to Live with the Birds”, a review of a book by Ecologist John M. Marzluff entitled Welcome to Subirdia: Sharing Our Neighborhoods with Wrens, Robins, Woodpeckers, and Other Wildlife. Let me quote an excerpt from the review:
“Marzluff and other urban ecologists find a gradient in bird life. A few tough survivors hang on in the urban core; the open country outside has many birds. In between—in leafy, variegated suburbia—there is the richest mixture of bird species of all. This finding is counterintuitive. One would have imagined that what he calls the “urban tsunami,” the global shift of populations into cities, would result in homogenized biological deserts with only a few starlings, house sparrows, and pigeons for bird life. That fails to take into account many wild animals’ elemental will to survive, and their capacity to adapt rapidly to new opportunities.”
The book’s argument is that suburban environments constitute a new class of ecosystem that could be studied and leveraged for the benefit of many species. Despite that, I’m not likely to take my next hike in search of a wilderness experience in Barrington, Illinois. But Marzluff’s work reminds us to consider – from an admittedly odd context – that the best way to care for a wilderness might be to leave it alone. Whatever changes and challenges the area faces, Nature itself, with its relentless motive to adapt, will find a better way then well-intentioned human beings who try to manage it ever could. » Continue Reading.
Peter Bauer has well summarized the current Adirondack Park Agency application by New York Land and Lakes Development LLC for 24 housing lots (plus five common lots, including the lakes themselves) on 1,120 acres around Woodworth and Hines Lakes in the southern Adirondack Park, Towns of Bleecker and Johnstown.
The land is zoned Resource Management: “where the need to protect, manage and enhance forest, agricultural, recreational, and open space resources is of paramount importance.” The basic purposes of RM lands is “to protect the delicate physical and biological resources, encourage proper and economic management of forest, agricultural and recreational resources and preserve the open spaces that are essential and basic to the unique character of the park.” » Continue Reading.
An effort latter this month hopes to gather public input about how to diversify and enhance outdoor recreation opportunities in the what organizers are calling the “Great South Woods” – a more than 2 million-acre area of public and private lands in the southern Adirondack Park that includes parts of Oneida, Herkimer, Hamilton, Fulton, Saratoga, Warren, and Essex Counties.
The driving forces behind this new initiative have been Bill Farber, Chairman of the Hamilton County Board of Supervisors, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF), the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), and the Adirondack Park Agency (APA). » Continue Reading.
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