The Adirondack Park Agency (APA) and the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) have announced they are accepting public comments for two associated actions related to proposed improvements at the Gore Mountain Intensive Use Ski Area.
The Adirondack Park Agency (APA) and Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) recently approved guidelines for mountain bike facilities on “forever wild” Adirondack Forest Preserve lands.
The document, Management Guidance: Siting, Construction and Maintenance of Singletrack Bicycle Trails on Forest Preserve Lands in the Adirondack Park is expected to assist DEC in planning bicycle trail networks on Forest Preserve lands classified as Wild Forest. » Continue Reading.
I’d like to recognize the Adirondack Daily Enterprise for its recent editorial “APA, DEC Skimp on Public Meetings.” The newspaper wrote that two public meetings, both held on the same day (Wednesday, May 23) about numerous management amendments to the High Peaks Wilderness and Vanderwhacker Wild Forest:
“while important, are also severely wanting. These lands belong to the people of New York, and folks near New York City, in Syracuse and Buffalo, Watertown and Ithaca all deserve to have APA and DEC staff come explain what the plans mean and hear the public’s concerns. Together, the two UMP amendments run to more than 300 pages, and it would be beneficial to the public to have them explained by the people who wrote them.”
Now that the classifications are decided and amendments to the unit management plans (UMP) are underway, the process seems highly accelerated and rushed. » Continue Reading.
What follows is a press release issued by Adirondack Wild: Friends of the Forest Preserve:
In a letter submitted today to the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, the nonprofit advocate Adirondack Wild: Friends of the Forest Preserve recommends that the Boreas Ponds tract be managed in ways that avoid damage to natural resources and enhance opportunities to experience solitude.
The highly controversial decision by the NYS Adirondack Park Agency in February, approved by Governor Cuomo, not to consider an all-Wilderness alternative, but to split the 20,000-acre Boreas Pond tract between Wilderness and Wild Forest classifications was opposed by Adirondack Wild, which offered many reasons why the entire tract should be managed as an addition to the High Peaks Wilderness area. » Continue Reading.
Buildings on the Forest Preserve are limited by state laws, regulations and policies to administrative and historic preservation purposes. The biggest looming threat to the Forest Preserve is the proposal to expand allowable buildings to include public lodging structures through some kind of formal hut-to-hut system.
The management of historic buildings on the Forest Preserve has been a vexing issue for decades. State management has evolved over the years from a position of building removal to now accommodating historic buildings on the Forest Preserve through the creation of a “Historic” area classification.
The state has since built a policy of retaining buildings for public educational and historic preservation purposes. » Continue Reading.
The pressure by local governments and historic preservation groups on the state to keep the inner Gooley Club buildings shows some of the challenges the state has had in organizing a coherent management program for buildings on the Forest Preserve. This is not a new issue.
It’s been a struggle for decades. Different administrations have dealt with the issue in different ways over the decades; some making ad hoc choices with long-term implications for Forest Preserve law and policy, and others trying to sort out durable long-term solutions. This is the first of three articles that look in depth at the issue of buildings on the Forest Preserve. » Continue Reading.
A controversial proposal to replace state tax payments on Forest Preserve lands with negotiated “payments in lieu of taxes” was jettisoned in the final rounds of state budget talks.
“I am both relieved and grateful that the budget does not change New York’s current method of paying taxes on state-owned lands to localities,” State Senator Betty Little said on March 31, shortly after the budget was adopted. “It would have overturned a practice, now more than a century old and clearly defined in statute, unfairly costing the local taxpayers. Getting this out of the budget was a priority for me and I’m very pleased we’ve gotten the result so many wanted.”
The state’s payments to Adirondack towns, schools and special districts in the form of property taxes on Forest Preserve lands, which some have been estimated to be as high as $80 million a year, are therefore likely to continue, at least for the time being. » Continue Reading.
The State of New York continues to face the challenge of managing buildings on the Forest Preserve in the Adirondack Park.
This has been an issue for decades and is now an even bigger issue at the inner Gooley Club, a complex of more than a dozen buildings, on Third Lake in the heart of the Essex Chain Lakes Primitive area. » Continue Reading.
On Tuesday, January 16, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced his proposed budget for the state fiscal year that starts April 1. The tax bill recently approved in Washington, and the need to close a more than $4 billion budget gap have set the backdrop for a challenging budget year. In spite of this, Governor Cuomo presented a budget with a mixed bag of proposals: some good, and some bad.
This week, the Senate and Assembly passed their respective one-house budget bills, marking the beginning of three-way negotiations. They have announced their intent to pass a budget by March 29th, in hopes that they can finish the budget before Easter and Passover. » Continue Reading.
The NYS Assembly left Governor Andrew Cuomo’s proposed Forest Preserve property tax changes out of its one-house budget bill late Monday night. The Assembly budget bill, a statement of priorities for the State Assembly, is expected to go to a vote later this week. The State Senate is expected to release its own one-house budget this week as well.
Cuomo’s budget proposes a cap on Forest Preserve property tax assessments and changes to state law from the current system of locally assessed property taxes to a system of Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILOTs). (First reported by Anthony Hall here at the Adirondack Almanack.) » Continue Reading.
In late summer 1955, after two months of surveying and studying uranium deposits in Saratoga County, Robert Zullo and his partners, George McDonnell and Lewis Lavery, saw their claims publicly dismissed in print by a business rival, who told the Leader-Herald there were “no major deposits of uranium in the Sacandaga region.” Geologist John Bird of Schenectady had been hired by a Wyoming uranium-mining company to survey the area, and after thirty days, he had found uraninite only in “ridiculously small” quantities. » Continue Reading.
Under the newly formed Mohawk Mining Company (MMC), the trio of George McDonnell, Lewis Lavery, and Robert Zullo had high hopes of successfully developing uranium deposits they discovered near Batchellerville in Saratoga County. Plans were made for radiometric surveys of the sites, and they began pumping water from two feldspar quarries to examine the deeper rock for additional specimens. Tests were also planned on old piles of mine tailings that caused Geiger counters to react. » Continue Reading.
This past week, the Appellate Division of State Supreme Court ruled that the Old Mountain Road that runs through the public’s Sentinel Wilderness between Keene and North Elba remains a town road and is not abandoned by either town. The court thus overturned a decision by former Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joe Martens in 2016 and affirms an enforcement proceeding decision by former DEC Commissioner Pete Grannis in 2009.
It’s been a long, bumpy and controversial legal ride to this point. What is so perplexing about it is that the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation could have prevented it from ever happening if the DEC had asserted certain legal authority it has been wary of asserting. In a few places where it’s obviously warranted, DEC should start to employ that legal authority again. » Continue Reading.
In thinking about the final decisions in early February by the Adirondack Park Agency (APA) and Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) on the recent Forest Preserve classification package, which included the Boreas Ponds, I took a look back at Forest Preserve acquisition and classification over the years. This led me to dig back and look at how the Forest Preserve has changed in the modern era of the Adirondack Park, a period of nearly 50 years.
I went back to 1970, to the technical reports of the Temporary Study Commission on the Future of the Adirondacks. The main Forest Preserve data is provided in the private and public lands set of reports. All of the Temporary Study Commission reports are important historical markers. » Continue Reading.
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