Posts Tagged ‘Whitney Wilderness’

Thursday, September 24, 2020

Hermits and a millionaire: The story of Lake Lila

Sometime in the later half of the 1810s, hunter, trapper, and hermit David Smith set up his camp on Beaver Lake, far from civilization of any kind.  Beaver Lake is located deep in the wilderness near the western border of the Adirondacks, about half way between Lowville and Tupper Lake, inaccessible by any road.

» Continue Reading.


Tuesday, August 25, 2020

It’s debatable: The last big piece of land

John Hendrickson, owner of the 36,000 Whitney Park estate outside of Long Lake, announced his intentions last month to sell the property, setting off speculations of who the next buyer could be — or should be.

Hendrickson, the widower of philanthropist, thoroughbred owner and Saratoga Springs socialite Marylou Whitney, told the Wall Street Journal at the end of July he was listing the property for $180 million — $5,000 an acre.

The news had environmentalists calling for the parcel, which includes 22 lakes and one of the great Adirondack camps called Deerlands, to be part of the Adirondack Park’s forest preserve.

» Continue Reading.


Friday, July 31, 2020

Adk Council reacts to loss of bond act; urges state to acquire Whitney estate

adirondack council new logoThe Adirondack Council expressed disappointment over Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s decision to withdraw the $3-billion environmental bond act from the 2020 ballot, saying the measure could have helped get New York residents back to work and would have provided significant tax relief to rural communities, while protecting clean water and wildlife.

“We are very disappointed that the bond act has been withdrawn,” said Adirondack Council Deputy Director Rocci Aguirre.  “We believe it would have helped to spur economic growth while it benefited the environment.

» Continue Reading.


Thursday, July 30, 2020

Adirondack Wild: Conservation of Whitney Park an Urgent Priority

Yesterday’s announcement by landowner John Hendrickson of  his intent to sell the remaining 36,000 acres of Whitney Park in Long Lake ought to command the immediate attention of state and private land conservation and planning organizations, says the non-profit advocate Adirondack Wild: Friends of the Forest Preserve.

» 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.


Wednesday, October 24, 2018

2,122 Acres Adjacent to Whitney Wilderness Privately Protected

Little Charley Pond tractThe Adirondack Land Trust and a private landowner have partnered to protect an intact forest and a unique strain of brook trout on 2,122 acres in the town of Long Lake.

The Little Charley Pond tract contains Snell, Bear and Little Charley ponds and five miles of undeveloped shoreline. A new owner, Charley Pond Preserve, has donated to the Adirondack Land Trust a perpetual conservation easement to keep the forest whole and safeguard a rare fish community. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, March 5, 2015

Watching the Forest Preserve Reclaim an Old Road

Burn-Road-1It’s slow work for the forest to take back a road, but once the forest gets started, its work is relentless. The State of New York has owned the Burn Road on the north side of Little Tupper Lake (part of the William C. Whitney Wilderness area) since 1997 when it bought the 14,700-acre north end of the larger Whitney tract. It was classified as Wilderness soon thereafter, though the road remained open for several years to honor access agreements with neighboring landowners to haul out logs.

Fifteen years later, young maples, white pines, alders, white birch, and striped maples, among other trees, work daily to break apart the long-packed gravel road bed. Leaf litter and the detritus of perennial ferns, grasses, and sedges bury the road in many places. The thick forest edge grows inward to narrow the road corridor as trees unpruned and unfettered grow laterally as they grow higher. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, December 23, 2014

A Push For Forest Preserve Mountain Biking

Mountain Biking by Nancie BattagliaThe Adirondack Park Agency’s promise to consider allowing mountain biking in the Essex Chain Lakes Primitive Area has generated a broader discussion – with much disagreement – of the place of bikes in the Forest Preserve.

The Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan allows bikes on trails in tracts classified as Wild Forest Areas but prohibits them in Wilderness Areas. They are allowed in Primitive Areas only on old roads used by state officials for managing natural resources. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, September 5, 2013

No Decision Yet On New State Lands: A Deliberations Update

Essex ChainAdirondack Park Agency (APA) spokesperson Keith McKeever has confirmed that the agency will not make a decision at its September meeting on how former Finch Paper lands recently acquired by New York State will be managed.

The classification of the lands around the Essex Chain of Lakes and Hudson Gorge is one of the biggest Forest Preserve decisions the APA has faced in more than a decade, one that has recently dominated public discussion in the Adirondacks.  » Continue Reading.


Thursday, February 28, 2013

John Caffry: Decision “A Good Victory” For Paddlers

shingle shanty web photoNow that attorney John Caffry has successfully defended the public’s right to paddle a remote waterway near the Whitney Wilderness—at least for the time being—he hopes the case will have broader benefits for canoeists and kayakers.

“It’s a good victory for the rights of the public and the rights of paddlers that the judge upheld the right to use this waterway,” Caffry said. “Hopefully it will discourage other property owners from trying to close off streams through their property that are navigable, so people don’t have to go court.”

The Glens Falls lawyer represented Adirondack Explorer Editor Phil Brown, who paddled the disputed waterway in May 2009 while traveling between tracts of the state-owned Whitney Wilderness. Brown later wrote an article for the Explorer about the trip and the issue of navigation rights. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, February 26, 2013

‘Explorer’ Editor Wins Paddlers’ Rights Case

shingle shanty web photoAdirondack Explorer Editor Phil Brown did not commit trespass in 2009 when he canoed over a waterway through private land,  because that waterway was legally open to the public, a state Supreme Court justice ruled in a decision released today.

Justice Richard T. Aulisi dismissed or denied all complaints against Brown filed by the Friends of Thayer Lake and the Brandreth Park Association. He also issued a declaratory judgment that the waterway in question is “navigable in fact” and so open to all paddlers. He ordered the Friends of Thayer Lake and the Brandreth Park Association, owners of the land through which the water flows, to stop posting the route as closed to the public. The route in question includes Mud Pond, Mud Pond Outlet and a portion of Shingle Shanty Brook in the central Adirondacks. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Navigation Rights Arguments Heard in Fulton Court

Was Adirondack Explorer Editor Phil Brown trespassing when he paddled through private land abutting the state-owned Whitney Wilderness in 2009?

Or did he have a right to be there because the waters he canoed are navigable and provide a useful link between parcels of public land?

The question rests with State Supreme Court Justice Richard T. Aulisi, who heard arguments on the case Friday in Johnstown.
» Continue Reading.


Monday, October 29, 2012

Shingle Shanty Paddling Suit Advances

The landowners suing Adirondack Explorer Editor Phil Brown for trespass say he’s just the latest in a long line of people who have tried to pry open closed waters for public use, and if he succeeds, they argue, he will weaken traditional standards of property rights.

In a legal memorandum filed in late September, Dennis Phillips, the attorney for the Friends of Thayer Lake and the Brandreth Park Association, asserts that Brown is carrying the flag for a small band of paddling fanatics, including members of the Sierra Club, who would open just about every stream in New York State to canoes and kayaks.
» Continue Reading.


Monday, May 23, 2011

Shingle Shanty Paddling Rights Case Update

The state’s effort to intervene in the trespassing case against Adirondack Explorer editor Phil Brown hurts private property owners, the lawyer representing the plaintiffs in the lawsuit argued early last week.

“This case is asking the court to say, basically, ‘Have canoe, will travel,’” said Dennis Phillips, the Glens Falls attorney representing the Friends of Thayer Lake and the Brandreth Park Association. » Continue Reading.


Monday, December 13, 2010

Phil Brown: The Future of the Whitney Wilderness

On Saturday I went skiing on the Burn Road in the William C. Whitney Wilderness. It’s one of those ski routes that don’t require a lot of snow, ideal for early-season outings.

My ski trip was uneventful. I enjoyed a few glimpses of Little Tupper Lake through the trees, saw lots of snow fleas and several deer beds, and discovered an unusual outhouse decorated with paintings of evergreens. When the warming snow started clumping on my skis, I decided to turn around after three and a half miles.

The state bought Little Tupper Lake and surrounding lands—nearly fifteen thousand acres in all—from the Whitney family in 1997. After the purchase, there was a public debate over whether the tract should be classified as Wilderness or Wild Forest.

One of the arguments against designating the tract Wilderness—the strictest of the Forest Preserve land classifications—is that it just didn’t look like wilderness. The woods had been heavily logged and were crisscrossed with logging roads, of which the Burn Road is only one. And then there were the buildings on the shore of Little Tupper.

The anti-Wilderness folks had a point. Skiing the Burn Road is the not a breathtaking experience. The above photo of snowy evergreens shows one of the more attractive scenes from my trip. Most of the forest is skinny hardwoods. A wide road cut through a logged-over forest is a far cry from my idea of pristine wilderness.

But let’s face it: there is very little pristine wilderness in this part of world. The Forest Preserve is full of evidence of human history: abandoned woods roads, rusting logging machines, foundations of farmhouses, old orchards, even gravesites. If we were to require that Wilderness be free of all signs of the human past, we might end up with no Wilderness at all.

The aim of Wilderness regulations is not always to preserve wilderness; perhaps more often than not, it is to restore wilderness. In time, the trees will grow big, moss will cover the crumbling foundations, and nature will reclaim the old roads.

Skiing back to my car, I was cheered by the thought that in fifty or a hundred years, this wide road may be a narrow corridor passing through a forest of stately yellow birch and red spruce. Skiers of the future will thank us for restoring this place to its natural condition.

Photo of the Burn Road by Phil Brown

Phil Brown is the editor of the Adirondack Explorer newsmagazine.



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