This is a story that should have had a happy ending.
A story of five Adirondack towns working with state government and environmental non-profits on an agreement to expand the taxpayer-owned Forest Preserve, improve public recreation and bring new economic growth to the area.
The Community Connector Trails agreement would have helped turn the page on decades of Adirondack Region job losses brought on by industry disinvestment and Forest Preserve expansion, and established a model for the type of common-sense, compromise solutions needed for many problems confronting the Adirondack Park.
Instead, it’s a sad story of misplaced trust and lost opportunity, ending with the towns and the people who live there getting left out in the cold.
250 acres of the south face of Moxham Mountain have been protected by private sale to the Adirondack Land Trust. There is no recreational access presently. The Land Trust and New York State Department of Environmental Conservation are working to transfer the land to the Adirondack Forest Preserve, at which time it will become public.
Moxham Mountain is located between Minerva and North Creek and is part of the Vanderwhacker Wild Forest. It’s lofty cliffs have been eyed by climbers, although no public access to the face of Moxham was possible.
Adirondack Park Upper Hudson Rec Hub Eco-Tourism Support Grants are available for municipalities. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) partnered with National Heritage Trust (NHT) and The Nature Conservancy (TNC) to deliver competitive grant funding to support new tourism linked to the recreational opportunities. In addition, a companion microenterprise program will soon be available for recreation/tourism-based projects connected with former Finch, Pruyn & Company lands for a total of $750,000 in funding, provided by a grant from TNC. » Continue Reading.
North Hudson and four nearby towns have launched a website and petition drive to muster support for classifying Boreas Ponds as Wild Forest instead of Wilderness, the designation supported by Forest Preserve advocates.
Called Access the Adirondacks, the website says the 20,758-acre Boreas Ponds Tract has a network of former logging roads and is suitable for a variety of recreational uses, including mountain biking, horseback riding, and snowmobiling.
“While some would have you believe the Boreas Ponds Tract is a unique ecological jewel untouched my man, nothing could be further from the truth,” the site says.
A justice from the Appellate Division, Third Department, of state Supreme Court, issued an order to show cause Friday to stay further tree cutting on the Forest Preserve by the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) as it builds a new 9-12 foot wide snowmobile thoroughfare between Newcomb and Minerva.
Last week a Supreme Court decision denied a motion for preliminary injunction against tree cutting by DEC, which had work crews cutting trees on the Forest Preserve this week. Tree cutting had been stopped for 25 days in mid-July thru mid-August. This new decision will halt tree cutting for the next ten days while the Appellate Division considers whether to issue an injunction during Protect the Adirondacks’ appeal of the Supreme Court decision.
The DEC has cut over 7,500 trees on 6.5 miles of the new community connector snowmobile trail from Newcomb to Minerva, including many located in old growth forest habitat. The DEC is planning to cut another 7,500 in the weeks ahead. » Continue Reading.
I noticed this in the June 29 edition of the Environmental Notice Bulletin, a weekly publication of the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation:
“Newcomb to Minerva Multi-Use Trail; Application ID 5-1599-00019/00001; Permit(s) Applied for: Article 15 Title 27 Wild, Scenic & Recreational Rivers; Project is Located: Newcomb, Essex County;
Project Description: The Department of Environmental Conservation proposes to construct a multi-use recreational trail within one-half (1/2) mile of the Boreas River, which is designated as a Scenic River by Environmental Conservation Law Title 27, Wild, Scenic and Recreational Rivers Systems. The total acreage of the trail within the River corridor is approximately 1.1 acres, or approximately one (1) mile of trail, located within the 92,000-acre Vanderwhacker Mountain Wild Forest.”
The notice is incomplete and misleading. Here we have the DEC applying for a permit from itself to build a 9-12 foot snowmobile route from Newcomb to Minerva through undeveloped forest preserve, a route which will intersect the Boreas River just upstream of the Route 28N bridge. At this location, the Boreas is a designated Scenic River under the state’s Wild, Scenic and Recreational Rivers Act. The DEC’s route requires a new steel bridge over the river here to safely accommodate two-way snowmobile traffic. The route also requires cutting 1,676 trees on the Forest Preserve from the river to private land in Minerva. Cutting across private lands will require landowner agreements which may or may not be in hand or forthcoming.
An incomplete, misleading notice is not the greatest problem – the project is illegal. » Continue Reading.
New York State has partnered with the Five Towns of the Upper Hudson Recreation Hub expected to help develop tourist destinations that rely on the extensive trail network of the Adirondack Park and existing and new lodging options.
The Concept Plan for a Hut-to-Hut Destination-based Trail System for the Five Towns of Long Lake, Newcomb, Indian Lake, Minerva, and North Hudson presents 26 trail or “traverse” trips involving overnight stays and multi-day hike opportunities for visitors to the Upper Hudson region. » Continue Reading.
The State of New York has completed purchase of the Boreas Ponds Tract, the final stage of its acquisition of the former Finch Pruyn lands from the Nature Conservancy. Now the classification process will begin. As with the Essex Chain acquisition the debate will be over recreational access and protection of its biological assets and its aesthetic experience as a wild place. As with the Essex Chain the debate will largely come down to roads, in this case Gulf Brook Road, a dirt and gravel road that provides access to the interior of the tract from Blue Ridge Road.
It’s obvious why arguments between wilderness protection and recreational access so often come down to roads, but I think that’s unfortunate. I think it distracts us from the larger issues of land use and protection with which we should be more concerned. The issue of Gulf Brook Road in the Boreas classification makes a perfect example. So let’s look at it in a little more detail. » Continue Reading.
The Community Fund for the Gore Mountain Region (CFGMR) is accepting applications from area schools, municipalities, nonprofit, and community organizations for its 2016 grant cycle.
A component fund of Adirondack Foundation, CFGMR was established in 2005 and offers grants to organizations in the towns of Johnsburg, Chester, Minerva, Horicon and Schroon. Grants will support community beautification, historic preservation, culture and the arts, education, recreation, and programs for youth, seniors, and veterans. » Continue Reading.
Note: This article is the second of three that looks at the widespread violations of public process, state policies, and state laws in the recent approval of the Essex Chain Plan. Part one can be found here.
One of the most controversial elements of the Essex Chain Complex Unit Management Plan (Essex Chain Plan), approved last week by the Adirondack Park Agency (APA), is the proposal to cut a new five-mile snowmobile trail through the western part of the Vanderwhacker Mountain Wild Forest area, east of the Hudson River. This new snowmobile trail will retain and use the Polaris Bridge and is designed to connect the communities of Indian Lake and Minerva with a major new snowmobile trail, despite the fact that these communities are already connected with a major snowmobile trail.
The Adirondack Park Agency (APA) is accepting public comments on how their Essex Chain Lakes Complex Plan conforms to the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan. The comment period will conclude on October 16, 2015.
The plan addresses the continued development of controversial bicycling and snowmobiling projects, including the construction of a bridge over the Cedar River continued maintenance of the Polaris (Iron) Bridge over the Hudson River, and the construction of a new snowmobile trail between Indian Lake and Minerva. » Continue Reading.
The contradictory, disconnected, segmented, illegal and impractical ways that the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (with full cooperation from the Adirondack Park Agency so far and support from Governor Andrew Cuomo) is going about the business of planning and building community connector snowmobile routes in the Adirondack Park continues apace. Work planning for the just approved community connector between Newcomb and Minerva, for example, will prove very interesting indeed and will be challenged in every sense of that word. » Continue Reading.
A new 40-mile snowmobile thoroughfare will be built by the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), mostly on “forever wild” Forest Preserve lands between the towns of Minerva, Newcomb and North Hudson. Construction of the 9 to 11 feet wide route, which was approved by the Adirondack Park Agency (APA) in July, is expected to begin immediately. » Continue Reading.
The Adirondack Park Agency (APA) is accepting public comments on Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan conformance for proposed amendments to the Alger Island and Fourth Lake Unit Management Plan (UMP), the Meacham Lake Campground UMP and the Community Connector Trail Plan (Newcomb, Minerva, North Hudson).
The Adirondack Almanack is a public forum dedicated to promoting and discussing current events, history, arts, nature and outdoor recreation and other topics of interest to the Adirondacks and its communities
We publish commentary and opinion pieces from voluntary contributors, as well as news updates and event notices from area organizations. Contributors include veteran local writers, historians, naturalists, and outdoor enthusiasts from around the Adirondack region. The information, views and opinions expressed by these various authors are not necessarily those of the Adirondack Almanack or its publisher, the Adirondack Explorer.
General inquiries about the Adirondack Almanack should be directed to editor Melissa Hart.
To advertise on the Adirondack Almanack, or to receive information on rates and design, please click here.