Posts Tagged ‘Protect the Adirondacks’

Tuesday, May 14, 2024

Legislature Passes New York Wildlife Crossings Bill

A woman in a bike helmet takes a photo of roadkill

Legislation directs the NYS Department of Transportation (DOT) to identify sites along highways, thruways and parkways in the state where wildlife crossings are most needed to increase public safety and improve habitat connectivity.

Albany, NY- The State Assembly and State Senate have both acted to pass the New York Wildlife Crossings Act, which was sponsored by Senator Leroy Comrie and Assembly Member Robert Carroll. The bill requires the NYS Department of Transportation (DOT) to assess roadways “in the state for potential wildlife crossings to improve wildlife habitat connectivity, reduce wildlife vehicle collisions, and increase public safety for New York motorists.”

The DOT will use its assessment of roadways to create a list of the top ten priority wildlife crossings sites in the state according to an established set of criteria. Additionally, for the top five project sites, DOT will also identify federal grant funds that are available for those projects.

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Tuesday, May 14, 2024

APA Should Hold Hearing on Marina Expansion; Issues Demand More Study

Boater drives by marina

Ray Brook, NY – Five organizations concerned about the size, scope, and regional impacts of the proposed USL Marina on a small pond near Fish Creek Pond Campground are calling on the New York State Adirondack Park Agency (APA) to hold an adjudicatory public hearing on the application. The marina’s application is set to come before the APA Board at its May 16 monthly meeting in Ray Brook. The decision of whether to hold a public hearing is up to the Agency’s eleven voting decision-makers, or Board members.

The proposed commercial marina is a radical departure from the small boat livery that was formerly at the site of the proposed project.  The new proposal covers a vast area of water and shoreland devoted to commercial use by large watercraft. As proposed, the marina is likely to have significant adverse impacts on Lower Fish Creek Pond and on nearby, narrow channels connecting the Pond to Fish Creek, Upper Saranac Lake, and Follensby Clear Pond.

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Wednesday, April 17, 2024

What’s Happening With The 2013 NYCO Amendment?

In November 2013, New York State voters narrowly approved an amendment to the Forever Wild clause of the New York State Constitution granting a private company, NYCO Minerals, Inc. (NYCO), permission to conduct mineral exploration in a 200-acre portion of the Jay Mountain Wilderness Area in the Adirondack Forest Preserve.

The NYCO amendment was opposed by Protect the Adirondacks and many others because it granted, for the first time, a private company the ability to exploit public Forest Preserve lands for profit and because the amendment completely undermined the classification of the affected lands as Wilderness, which is the most protective Forest Preserve classification established in the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan. PROTECT also opposed the amendment because it had no sunset provision, meaning that the mineral exploration authorization was granted to NYCO in perpetuity.

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Tuesday, April 9, 2024

Solar eclipse

girl scout wear eclipse glasses

Eclipse

Explorer staff and correspondents were stationed across the region to bring you solar eclipse coverage. Check out our website and social media accounts for updates, photos and more. Read our story here.

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Thursday, April 4, 2024

Sue for the study

Saranac Lakes Chain

Environmental groups and unhappy neighbors in recent years have challenged a pair of proposed marina expansion projects in the Saranac Lakes Chain by accusing the state of failing to uphold a decades-old requirement to study how much use forest preserve lakes can withstand.

The requirement (mandate? obligation? suggestion?) resides in the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan, which controls how the 6-million acre park is managed. The master plan has called on the Department of Environmental Conservation to complete a “comprehensive study of Adirondack lakes and ponds” aimed at determining “each water body’s capacity to withstand various uses, particularly motorized uses, and to maintain and enhance its biological, natural and aesthetic qualities.”

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Tuesday, March 19, 2024

Protect the Adirondacks applauds one house budgets for funding critical ADK programs

Cars parked on Adirondack Loj Road

Protect the Adirondacks, Inc. (PROTECT) applauds funding proposed for the FY2025 Budgets released by the State Senate and State Assembly. The proposed budgets provide significant funding for Adirondack programs that were reduced or eliminated from the Governor Kathy Hochul’s proposed budget.

The Legislature has restored the Clean Water Fund to $500 million. The Assembly’s budget proposal specifies $10 million from the Clean Water Fund for proper management of road salt.

“Protect the Adirondacks supports the Assembly’s budget allocation of $10 million to implement the road salt reduction strategies in the 2023 Adirondack Road Salt Reduction Task Force report documenting the significant adverse groundwater and surface water pollution effects of the use of road salt in the Adirondack Park. We urge the State Senate to support this budget line item too,” said Peter Bauer, Executive Director of Protect the Adirondacks.

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Sunday, January 7, 2024

Opposition Grows To The Proposed Debar Lodge Constitutional Amendment

Through most of the last few years, Protect the Adirondacks stood alone in its opposition to the proposed amendment to Article 14, Section 1, the famed Forever Wild clause of the New York Constitution, to privatize and remove six acres from the Forest Preserve at the north end of Debar Pond. The affected lands provide the best public access to a popular beach and canoe launching area on Debar Pond in the Debar Mountain Wild Forest area and include some decrepit buildings that should be demolished and removed around the boarded-up Debar Lodge. Protect the Adirondacks has made the case that the Debar Lodge site should be reclaimed and restored to a wild forest setting and the site should remain highly accessible and easy to reach for swimming, hiking, canoeing, fishing, hunting, and camping, and be a place that can grow wilder each year and one day be like another Lake Lila.

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Wednesday, November 15, 2023

Protect the Adirondacks Releases New Report On NYS “30 by 30” Law

In 2022, Governor Kathy Hochul signed the “30 by 30” law that establishes a conservation goal for New York State of protecting 30% of the State’s “lands and inland waters” by the year 2030. This landmark environmental protection legislation enjoyed broad bipartisan support, passing the State Senate by a vote of 58 to 3, and the State Assembly by a vote of 137 to 8. The 30 by 30 law commits New York to do its part to reach a similar national goal established by President Joe Biden in 2021, to protect 30% of the nation’s lands and waters by 2030, and is a major step forward to protect New York’s open spaces, forests, and wetlands, which are cornerstones of the State’s long-term climate resilience and mitigation efforts.

Protect the Adirondacks released a new special report 20% in 2023: An Assessment of the New York State 30 by 30 Act that assessed the level of protected lands and waters in New York State in 2023, the types of lands protected, what constitutes protected lands, and the amount of land that needs to be protected by 2030 to reach the goal of protecting 30% of New York State’s lands and waters as set out in the 30 by 30 Act. The new report also lays out recommendations for needed actions by the State of New York and includes tables for all 62 counties that details the types of lands and total acreages currently protected in each county.

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Tuesday, October 3, 2023

25 Great Adirondack Hikes to See Fall Colors

North Creek, NY— It’s nearing peak fall colors in the Adirondack Park. There are many places to see the leaves as mountainsides and valleys turn bright orange, yellow, and red. Protect the Adirondacks has put together hiking guides to 25 hikes that are easy, moderate, and challenging, but lead to terrific locations to see the fall colors in all corners of the Adirondack Park. These guides include maps, information about hiking conditions, and pictures.

This list includes short, easy hikes of one mile or so, such as Azure Mountain, north of Paul Smith’s, Coney Mountain outside of Tupper Lake, Cook Mountain in Ticonderoga, Balm of Gilead outside of North Creek, the Bloomingdale Bog outside of Saranac Lake, Cobble Lookout in Wilmington, or Black Bear Mountain near Inlet and Old Forge.

Moderate hikes of 2 to 4 miles include Poke-O-Moonshine, Catamount Mountain and Silver Lake Mountain south of Plattsburgh, Haystack Mountain outside of Lake Placid, Owl Head Lookout near Elizabethtown, Goodnow Mountain in Newcomb, Moxham Mountain in Minerva, Hadley Mountain outside of Lake Luzerne, Five Mile Mountain north of Bolton Landing, or Owls Head Mountain in Long Lake.

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Thursday, February 2, 2023

PROTECT Challenges DEC’s Road Rebuilding in Wilderness

On January 20, 2023, Protect the Adirondacks filed a lawsuit challenging the reconstruction by the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) of a previously closed and reclaimed road in the High Peaks Wilderness Complex. DEC’s road construction activity in the High Peaks violates the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan (Master Plan) which prohibits roads in Wilderness areas.

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Tuesday, August 23, 2022

Adirondack area non-profits welcome new hires, trustees

Several Adirondack-area nonprofit organizations, including the Adirondack Mountain Club (ADK), Adirondack Foundation, Protect the Adirondacks, and the Tannery Pond Center in North Creek recently announced a lineup of new hires including trustees.

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Monday, August 2, 2021

Sabotaging Trail Deal Was No Way to Protect the Adirondacks 

snowmobile trail

By Brian Wells 

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. 

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Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Is the Adirondack Park dying for recreational activities?

Class II Snowmobile connector trailBy Harsh Vaish, Skidmore College

The Department of Environmental Conservation – henceforth referred to as DEC – has been developing plans for major community connector snowmobile trails between Adirondack communities for a number of years. Protect the Adirondacks first sued the DEC in 2013, contending the trials cause significant environmental damage and violate the Constitutional clause for the ‘forever wild’.

Peter Bauer, executive director of Protect the Adirondacks, the environmental organization that sued to block the construction said the litigation is about Class 2 snowmobile trails and not hiking trails. He specifically called out the Adirondack Mountain Club and Open Space Institute’s concerns “specious claims.”

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Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Tree cutting lawsuit: A timeline and background

Class II Snowmobile connector trailA timeline of events that lead to today’s court decision:

  • Protect the Adirondacks launched this lawsuit against the Department of Environmental Conservation and Adirondack Park Agency in 2013 alleging that Class II trails violated Article 14, Section 1, of the New York State Constitution due to excessive tree cutting and terrain alterations.
  • Protect the Adirondacks and its expert witnesses undertook extensive fieldwork in 2012-13 and in 2015-16 to document abuses to the Forest Preserve. Counts of over 16,000 tree stumps on Class II trails, with diameter measurements and GPS locations, including photographs of over 12,000 tree stumps, were made.
  • In the summer of 2016 Protect the Adirondacks obtained a temporary restraining order that stopped all tree cutting by the state on Class II trails after the first 34 miles of trails were in various stages of development. The DEC and APA had approved plans for a network of hundreds of miles of Class II trails in the Forest Preserve in the Adirondacks.
  • In early 2017, a 13-day trial was held in state Supreme Court in Albany. In December 2017 the trial judge ruled against Protect the Adirondacks. In 2018, Protect the Adirondacks appealed to the Appellate Division, Third Department, which in a 4-1 decision overturned the lower court’s ruling in July 2019. In 2020, the DEC and APA appealed to the Court of Appeals. Oral arguments were held in March 2021 at the Court of Appeals. Today, the Court of Appeals ruled 4 to 2 in favor of Protect the Adirondacks that the DEC and APA have violated the forever wild clause of the New York State Constitution.

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Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Court of Appeals: Snowmobile trails violate state constitution

  • Court of Appeals Rules in Favor of Protect the Adirondacks, Finds Cuomo Administration Violated Forever Wild Clause of State Constitution
  • The Cuomo administration’s plan to expand motorized use on the public Forest Preserve in the Adirondacks by building hundreds of miles of wide Class II snowmobile trails was ruled unconstitutional by the state’s highest court.
  • This historic decision will shape Forest Preserve management for decades to come.

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