Posts Tagged ‘Protect the Adirondacks’

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.


Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Assessing A New Model For High Peaks Hiking Trail Construction

By the metric of public use the High Peaks Wilderness Area, and nearby Giant, Hurricane and Sentinel Range Wilderness areas, are major successes. The crowds hiking in the High Peaks are at an all-time high. The current dismal state of many of the hiking trails does not seem to be a major deterrent to the throngs of people eager to hike one of the High Peaks.

For many people hiking a mountain like a High Peak is no sure thing and is, and should be, a challenge. There are plenty of highly used and popular smaller mountains throughout the Adirondacks that provide stunning views, but the allure of hiking a High Peak is immense.

» Continue Reading.


Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Court Blocks New Snowmobile Bridge Over Cedar River

On Tuesday New York Supreme Court Judge Robert Muller granted a motion by two Adirondack environmental groups to preliminarily enjoin the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) from constructing of a new snowmobile bridge over the Cedar River until a decision is reached in an ongoing lawsuit.

The river is designated as a Scenic River under New York’s Wild, Scenic, and Recreational Rivers System Act.

The preliminary injunction was issued in response to a lawsuit brought by Adirondack Wild: Friends of the Forest Preserve and Protect the Adirondacks!  The court decision halts construction of the trail at the banks of the Cedar River for now. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Forever Wild And The Word “Timber”

Protect the Adirondacks recently won a major victory in its lawsuit to enforce Article 14, Section 1 of the state Constitution, the well-known forever wild clause. The case challenged the excessive tree cutting undertaken by state agencies to build a vast network of Class II Community Connector snowmobile trails in the Adirondack Forest Preserve.

The case began in 2013 and this result has been six years in the making. Previously, the Appellate Division, Third Department, of the state Supreme Court had issued a preliminary injunction against this tree cutting in 2016 after the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and Adirondack Park Agency (APA) had constructed or roughed out over 20 miles of new trails.

» 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.


Monday, July 15, 2019

Protect the Adirondacks Annual Meeting July 20th in Old Forge

protect the adirondacksProtect the Adirondacks is set to hold its annual membership meeting at View Arts, located at 3273 State Route 28 in Old Forge on Saturday, July 20th. The meeting provides an opportunity to get an update on the major issues the organization sees facing the Adirondack Park, see PROTECT’s priorities for the year ahead, and meet the staff and Board of Directors.

The annual meeting includes the Conservation and Advocacy report, financial report, membership report, and election to the Board of Directors. » 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, June 18, 2019

Court Blocks Bridge Over River Designated Scenic

New York Supreme Court Judge Robert Muller issued a temporary restraining order on Friday blocking the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation from constructing a new 140-foot steel motor vehicle bridge over the Cedar River.

DEC wants to build the bridge to create a shorter snowmobile route between Indian Lake and Newcomb.  The planned route also requires a second legally questionable bridge across the Boreas River, also designated  Scenic, as well as permissions from numerous land owners. » 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.


Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Bauer: What Does The New State Senate Mean For The Adirondacks?

NYS CapitolOn Election Day in November 2018, voters across New York State voted for a new direction for the 63-member New York State Senate. With some races remaining close and needing to be finalized based on a count of absentee and provisional ballots, it appears that Democrats have elected 40 Senators and Republicans just 23. There is no way to overstate just what a sea change this is for New York State politics.

There is also no way to overstate the questions that this sea change raise for the Adirondack Park, which is cut up into four State Senate districts, each steadfastly represented by a Republican. These four Senators – Betty Little, Joe Griffo, Patti Ritchie and Jim Tedisco – led by Little whose 45th Senate District has the majority of the Adirondack Park, were members in excellent standing in the exclusive club of the Republican Senate Majority. With a membership of around three dozen they unrelentingly, efficiently and ruthlessly wielded power and thoroughly enjoyed their political spoils. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, November 8, 2018

DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos Stepping Down

Commissioner of the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Basil Seggos is stepping down. A replacement has not been announced, but the next DEC Commissioner with be the third named by Governor Andrew Cuomo, who was just elected to a third term.

During his tenure as DEC Commissioner Seggos completed the state’s purchase of the 69,000-acre Finch, Pruyn & Company lands. His tenure also coincided with several important Adirondack Park Agency (APA) classification decisions, including the High Peaks Wilderness and Boreas Ponds and Essex Chain Tracts.  DEC writes Adirondack Forest Preserve Unit Management Plans. The APA is tasked with ensuring those plans meet the requirement of the New York State Land Master Plan.

» Continue Reading.


Sunday, May 13, 2018

Oil Tankers Out, Railway Closes, Future Uncertain

oil tankers in north creekThe last 24 oil tanker railcars that were stored all winter on the banks of the Opalescent River were hauled 30 miles south to the North Creek Depot on Tuesday, May 8th.

Just under 100 oil tankers were stored all winter in the Adirondacks. Widespread opposition from state and local leaders, and an array of environmental organizations, last fall stopped storage of oil tankers at just under 100. » Continue Reading.