Posts Tagged ‘Forest Preserve’

Sunday, November 10, 2019

State Forest Preserve Use Plans Ignore Climate Change

Noah Shaw, former general counsel for the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), contributed to the drafting of New York State’s groundbreaking 2019 climate legislation. This September, he wrote an op-ed in the Adirondack Explorer,What New York’s Bold Climate Law Means for the Adirondacks.”

The Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act of 2019 “outlines a so-called ‘carbon offset’ program as a counter-weight to the 15 percent of emissions that may remain after all our other emissions-reducing actions are taken,” he wrote. “These will likely come from hard-to-clean-up activities like aviation, agriculture, shipping and heavy industry. New York’s most valuable carbon offset resource, also known as a ‘sink,’ is its forestland. This is good news for the Adirondack Forest Preserve.” » Continue Reading.


Monday, October 21, 2019

Forever Wild And Cutting Small Diameter Trees

In the July 2019 legal decision in favor of Protect the Adirondacks, regarding the constitutionality of excessive tree cutting by state agencies to build a network of Class II community connector snowmobile trails in the Adirondack Forest Preserve, the Appellate Division, Third Department, ruled that the cutting of over 25,000 trees to build these trails violated Article 14, Section 1, of the state Constitution, the famed “forever wild” provision.

This article looks at the meaning of Article 14, Section 1, in light of this new ruling. (A related article dealt with use of the word “timber” in Article 14 of the state Constitution). This article looks at how small diameter trees have long been protected in Forest Preserve legal practice. Article 14 reads: “The lands of the state, now owned or hereafter acquired, constituting the forest preserve as now fixed by law, shall be forever kept as wild forest lands. They shall not be leased, sold or exchanged, or be taken by any corporation, public or private, nor shall the timber thereon be sold, removed or destroyed.”

» Continue Reading.


Monday, October 14, 2019

Advocates Seek Sentinel Range Management Plan Improvements

Adirondack Sentinel Range Wilderness Map courtesy Adirondack AtlasThe Adirondack Council on October 4th sent a letter to Adirondack Park Agency Deputy Director for Planning Richard Weber urging that the proposed Sentinel Range Wilderness Area Unit Management Plan be incorporated into a larger landscape-scale plan for all public and private lands around the High Peaks Wilderness Area.

The Council also urged the APA to improve its monitoring of impacts of recreation on the ecology and wild character of the Forest Preserve, especially in wilderness areas. As it does with other unit management plans, the APA must decide whether it complies with the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, October 10, 2019

Advocates Offer Guide To Better Land Use Decisions

Pathways to a Connected Adirondack ParkAdirondack Wild: Friends of the Forest Preserve will make free hard copies of its guidebook Pathways to a Connected Adirondack Park available during its Keene Valley meeting on Saturday, October 12, 2019 at the Keene Valley Congregational Church.

The illustrated guidebook, authored by conservation biologist Dr. Michael Klemens, was written to de-mystify the process of ecologically-informed land use and development for a general audience. It defines and describes the threat to people and wildlife of fragmentation of large contiguous areas in the Adirondack Park by being broken up into ever smaller, isolated patches of land. The publications describes ten strategies for localities and for regional entities like the Adirondack Park Agency (APA) to adopt which can lead to better land use decisions that avoid or minimize fragmentation, reduce the ecological footprint of development and still accommodate vibrant human communities, working forests and outdoor recreation. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, September 29, 2019

2019 State of the Adirondack Park

2019 state of the parkThe Adirondack Council’s 2019-20 State of the Park report is subtitled “Challenged by Success,” noting that the success of state tourism campaigns is straining the park’s lands and waters, as record numbers of hikers climb the state’s tallest mountains and as recreational boating and off-road vehicles gain popularity.

The challenge is especially noticeable in the High Peaks Wilderness Area, but can be seen in popular locations throughout the park, the report notes. State of the Park is the organization’s annual comprehensive assessment of the actions of local, state and federal government officials. This 38th edition rates 106 separate government actions. » Continue Reading.


Monday, September 9, 2019

Joe Mahay, An Adirondack Park Activist, 1946-2019

Longtime grassroots Adirondack Park environmental activist Joe Mahay died in early August at home with his family.  Joe and his wife Naomi Tannen had been living in Florence, Massachusetts, where for the past year and a half Joe had dealt with metastatic cancer and chemotherapy.

Joe was one of the founders of the Residents’ Committee to Protect the Adirondacks and twice served as its Chair, tactfully leading the organization through its formative years and a raucous debate over the future of the Adirondack Park in the 1990s and early 2000s.

Joe had a long career as an administrator at a non-profit agency working with people with developmental disabilities in Essex County and poured his volunteer time for many years into the protection of the Forest Preserve and Adirondack Park.

» Continue Reading.


Monday, August 26, 2019

The Roots Of The Conflict Over Snowmobile Connectors

In order to cut a lot more trees on the Forest Preserve for new snowmobile corridors, Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Department of Environmental Conservation and the Attorney General’s Office have announced that they will appeal July’s court ruling against the State and in favor of Protect the Adirondacks.

That ruling by a 4-1 court majority declared that the extent of tree cutting for snowmobile trail construction, when considered cumulatively, violated our state’s constitutional limit on destruction of timber on the Forest Preserve “to a material degree” (Article XIV, Section 1, NYS Constitution, and court interpretations). » Continue Reading.


Monday, August 19, 2019

NYS, Protect Both Appealing Forest Preserve Decision

A typical view on a class II community connector trail where 1000 trees a mile are destroyed by state agencies provided by ProtectAdirondack Forest Preserve advocates Protect the Adirondacks announced Monday that they plan to appeal one of the July 3rd rulings by the Appellate Division, Third Department, in its lawsuit challenging the tree cutting and terrain alterations for snowmobile trails on the Forest Preserve by state agencies. The State announced last week that it also planned to appeal part of the ruling.

The court issued a mixed decision in July. It ruled that the cutting of over 25,000 trees on the Forest Preserve for wide class II community connector snowmobile trails violated Article 14, Section 1, of the NYS Constitution. At the same time however, the court ruled that the construction practices used to clear, bulldoze and grade these trails did not violate the famous forever wild provision of Article 14.

The New York State Constitution’s Article 14 protects the Adirondack Forest Preserve as “forever wild.” Adirondack Forest Preserve lands form the basis of the Adirondack Park. » Continue Reading.


Monday, July 29, 2019

Forever Wild, ORDA and Adirondack Legal History

There are more than three million acres of Forest Preserve in the Adirondack and Catskill Parks today. Yet, the most consequential New York State Court decision restricting the ways we can develop and use the “forever wild” Preserve was all about a few acres of land below Mt. Van Hoevenberg, close to Lake Placid.

There, in 1929, the state planned a “bobsleigh run or slide on state lands in the forest preserve.” About 2500 trees would need cutting to create the bobsled course for the 1932 Olympics. The lower court, the Appellate Division, Third Department, ruled that this activity was unconstitutional on grounds that this was wild forest and therefore must be preserved in its wild state, stating that “we must preserve it in its wild nature, its trees, its rocks, its streams. It must always retain the character of a wilderness.” » Continue Reading.


Sunday, July 14, 2019

It’s Time to Build and Staff a High Peaks Information Center

I recently visited the rest areas on Northway that have been hyped as information hubs for the Adirondack Park as a tourism destination and as locations that will guide the public about hiking in the Forest Preserve, especially the High Peaks.  These facilities are newly built and function adequately as typical rest areas with bathrooms, vending machines, and places to stretch your legs.

Unfortunately, there is scant information about hiking in the High Peaks or the Forest Preserve. As they stand now, these centers, especially the Northway northbound “High Peaks Center” between exits 29 and 30, and the major new tourism information center on the Northway northbound lane between exits 17 and 18, are major missed opportunities. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, July 4, 2019

State Tree Cutting on Forest Preserve Ruled Unconstitutional

A typical view on a class II community connector trail where 1000 trees a mile are destroyed by state agencies provided by ProtectThe Appellate Division, Third Department, ruled Wednesday that state tree cutting to build a network of wide class II community connector snowmobile trails in the Adirondack Forest Preserve violated Article XIV, Section 1 of the State Constitution. The Appellate Division, Third Department, reversed a lower court ruling issued in 2017.

Protect the Adirondacks had challenged the constitutionality of cutting more than 25,000 trees to build over 27 miles of new snowmobile trails in the Forest Preserve. The lawsuit was started in 2013, injunctions against further tree cutting were ordered in 2016, and a bench trial was held at State Supreme Court in 2017. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Research Methods of the New Adirondack Park Study

The new study The Adirondack Park and Rural America: Economic and Population Trends 1970-2010, published by Protect the Adirondacks, took a deep, nuanced look at leading economic and population trends in the Adirondacks. While most of the U.S. population grows increasingly urban and connected to the digitized, global economy, Rural America is engaged in a struggle to maintain viable communities, to provide essential services and institutions, and to plan for a future with smaller populations, lower birth rates, and low-growth economies.

The Adirondack Park faces the same economic and population challenges experienced by most of Rural America. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, April 30, 2019

The Adirondack Park and Rural America

Protect the Adirondacks has published a new report The Adirondack Park and Rural America: Economic and Population Trends 1970-2010. This report has been widely circulated around the Adirondacks. It was mailed to all local officials, loads of non-profits, elected reps, school districts and local libraries. It’s available online. Through the end of the year, we’ll be undertaking a number of public presentations on the report and we’ll be publicizing those as they are organized.

The report is long, complicated, and not easily distilled to talking points. I’ll be writing a series of essays this spring and summer for the Adirondack Almanack that take a deep dive into the major findings. This article is the first and it provides an introduction and overview. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, April 14, 2019

Kevin Chlad: Protect State Lands From ATV Misuse

five ponds wilderness atvA coalition of conservation organizations released a statement and a report last week calling on the State Legislature to address the misuse of All-Terrain Vehicles (ATVs) on public lands and protect public safety, water quality and wildlife in the Adirondack Park.

The report: WRONG WAY: How New York State Can Course-Correct on ATV Use was published by the Adirondack Council. It documents a recent shift in state policy toward allowing more ATV use on public lands, resulting in widespread harm. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Bauer: ORDA Should Not Play Games With Article XIV

Mt Van Hoevenberg Recreation AreaIt’s not every day that one gets to see a well-worn aphorism ring true. The philosopher George Santayana wrote, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”  In the Adirondacks this is now playing out at the Mt. Van Hoevenberg Recreation Area.

The Olympic Regional Development Authority (ORDA) manages this area for a variety of winter Olympic sports – cross-country skiing, biathlon, bobsled, and luge, among others. It’s also a popular cross-country ski area for the public, and starting in 2018 it became the staging area for a new trail to Cascade Mountain, where the public can start hiking in a safe parking area. The facility is located partly on land owned by the Town of North Elba Park District and partly on the State Forest Preserve. The Forest Preserve lands are protected as forever wild by Article XIV of the State Constitution. » Continue Reading.