"We document recent permit decisions and management practices by the NYS Adirondack Park Agency (APA) and Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) which we believe are inconsistent with the constitutional and statutory requirements designed to ensure long term protection of the Park's integrity and which are irreconcilable with the agencies' obligations as the public's trustees of the Adirondack Park…We illustrate how this significant shift in priorities at APA and DEC…are part of a larger pattern of allowing increasingly destructive development to proceed with little or no environmental baseline data, only cursory environmental review, and little in the way of avoidance or mitigation of negative impacts." read PDF >
Our small solar photovoltaic system has, over its seven years of use, prevented about 12 tons of carbon dioxide emissions. The 25 acres of northern hardwood forest in our fee ownership however, has stored over 87 tons of CO2 over the same seven years.
In Paris this week, with the stakes for our planet so very high, I would like to see as much media focus on offsetting and storing carbon emissions through forest preservation and stewardship as we see about reducing fossil fuel emissions. In fact, Paris talks are moving on while great swaths of tropical forests continue to go up in smoke to be converted to small farms and large palm plantations for the palm oil humans greedily consume. These nations are only ravaging in the same way we in the United States have already greedily ravaged our original rainwood forests in the northwest, hardwood swamps in the south, and midwestern and eastern pine and spruce forests. read PDF >
I wish to recognize Adirondack Park Agency board member Art Lussi for his insistence over the past several months that the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) provide a legal rationale for allowing expanded motorized uses in the Forest Preserve's protected river corridors. When DEC failed again last week to provide that legal explanation, Lussi joined Richard Booth in voting no on DEC's plans for the Essex Chain area because they fail to comply with the State Land Master Plan. read PDF >
During my first Adirondack conservation meeting, in January of 1987, one of the top issues discussed was the pressure the Forest Preserve was under due to the limited State budgets and loss of DEC staff personnel.
How were the hundreds of miles of state's Forest Preserve boundaries to be surveyed and marked? How were the "forever wild" natural resources on the Forest Preserve to be properly cared for by so few foresters and rangers? Someone on my board of directors (I was still a greenhorn) had invited DEC Lands and Forests Director Robert Bathrick to our meeting to discuss the problem he faced caring for the Forest Preserve and more. read PDF >
This week, New York State will host the ten Regional Economic Development Councils (REDC) to examine their annual round of project submissions. This is the fifth year of the statewide funding competition created under Governor Andrew Cuomo.
I say good luck to those projects which seek to enhance the Park's human communities, quality of life, and job growth and retention grounded upon protection and appreciation of the Park's natural resources, wilderness and scenic beauty, and outdoor recreation. One project however, is seeking state funding which exploits rather than enhances the Adirondack Park: the Adirondack Club and Resort. read PDF >
Pay a visit to the Adirondack Research Library (ARL, operated by Union College's Kelly Adirondack Center) sometime. The Library is located at the former home of wilderness champion Paul Schaefer, where he and Carolyn Schaefer raised their family beginning in 1934. Reading in that library offers me a healthy reminder of the tight rope walked by former defenders of "forever wild." When it came to standing up for wild country, our predecessors were often up against a wall, just as we sometimes feel today.
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This week, Adirondack Park Agency (APA) Member Richard Booth continued his efforts to get his Agency to focus on its policy and legal obligations.
The NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), which has a seat on the APA, presented its Final Draft Unit Management Plan (UMP) for the Essex Chain of Lakes Primitive Area. Mr. Booth, who chairs the APA's State Land Committee, has repeatedly advised the DEC that drafts of the controversial UMP are not ready for APA public comment because they violate key sections of the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan, which has the force and effect of law. read PDF >
In its latest Recreational Management Plan for 19,000 acres near Rainbow Lake, the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation appears disinterested in biological information, much less in taking actions protective of sensitive biological resources. read PDF >
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. read PDF >
Joe Martens' announced departure this month as State Environmental Conservation Commissioner prompts a post of appreciation and a note of apprehension about his future successor.
I have no right, and certainly possess inadequate, incomplete knowledge and understanding to write anything comprehensive about the Commissioner. But throughout four challenging years as head of the DEC, working for a very controlling boss, the Commissioner seemed to remain true to himself.
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Another thick set of Forest Preserve recreational plans and maps was sent at the 11th hour by the NYS DEC to the Adirondack Park Agency just prior to the APA's June meeting, the second time in so many months that APA members felt unprepared. In May, APA Member Richard Booth spoke of having to review 80 pages and 45 maps of alternative snowmobile trails through the Forest Preserve just a few days before his State Land Committee was expected to review them in the public's eye. read PDF >
Not quite twenty years ago, Governor George Pataki's administration made some decisions about snowmobiling on the Adirondack Forest Preserve which are still playing themselves out today. Governor Pataki's first DEC Commissioner, Michael Zagata, signaled in 1995-96 that he would support a minimum of 15 foot routes (roads) for snowmobiling, cleared width, in order to accommodate 52 inch sleds and two-way travel. read PDF >
This past week I received my copy of the updated guide for building and designing greener, everywhere from rural farms, to small villages, to the suburban fringe, to metro areas. The second edition of Rural by Design (2015, published by American Planning Association) is out. Its author, Randall Arendt, is a landscape planner, site designer, author, lecturer, and advocate of conservation planning. read PDF >
It's been my honor and privilege to know some great Adirondack conservation leaders in the late 20th century. One I feel deserves a lot "more ink" is the late David L. Newhouse, a native of the Midwest and graduate of Purdue University, who arrived in New York State following World War II to become a leading metallurgical engineer with the General Electric Company in Schenectady. read PDF >
As I skied south and uphill, away from Santanoni Great Camp, I was asked – "on the record" – for my reactions. It was family weekend recently at Santanoni, with plenty of skiers in family groups including dogs. I said something like "this ski has become an annual ritual." After all everyone knows that Newcomb has the best Adirondack snow come late winter. I looked forward to seeing and listening again to the camp's master carpenter, Michael Frenette, over a hot drink. read PDF >
Now that the issue of mineral exploration on “Lot 8” in the Jay Mountain Wilderness by NYCO Minerals has left the courts, it remains for the mining company to complete its exploratory drilling, ongoing since the turn of the year. Changes in the DEC’s temporary revocable permit for the exploratory test drilling, announced on February 18, are as follows:
“The TRP will be amended to reduce the total pad locations from 21 to 10 and eliminate the third phase. The maximum number of holes drilled will decrease from 21 to 18. Elimination of the third phase will result in a substantial reduction in the number of trees cut for access corridors and pad sites. Other amendments to the TRP include relocation of two pad sites and changes in the water system to allow winter operation.” read PDF >
There is a fruitful global partnership for parks and protected areas among people all over the globe. I see this reflected, for example, in each issue of the international Journal of Wilderness (Chad P. Dawson, Editor). For Americans who have given the world the gift of wilderness in law it should be inspiring to read about or witness. There is no reason to be cynical or hopeless. Look around the world to witness what our example (Yellowstone, 1872, Forever Wild, 1894, National Parks, 1916, National Wilderness Preservation, 1964, etc.) has wrought. .read PDF >
The recognizable logos of our individual New York state agencies, symbolic of each agency mission and purpose, suddenly appear to be endangered, or extinct. They have lasted in many cases for 40 years or longer.
For instance, there was the familiar round NYS Department of Environmental Conservation logo, quite attractive really, with symbols indicative of its mission to protect our waters, our air, our land, and our mountains..read PDF >
It was during the late 1980's that Paul Schaefer introduced me to Daisy and Earl Allen in Bakers Mills. Earl has passed away this past month, and his wife Daisy died some 14 years before. But the memories of Daisy's warmth and kitchen, and Earl's legend as a teamster, maple sugar maker, artisan, maker of hay rakes, and master of old engines remain strong. Both would do anything they could for people.
.read PDF >
September 2013 was the high point in the Adirondack Park Agency's history of engagement on conservation development for new subdivisions.
By January, 2015, as evidenced by their actions in support of New York Land and Lakes corporation's project for 24 residential lots that parcel out two water bodies (along with streams and wetlands, all on Resource Management lands), APA had lost interest. .read PDF >
There will be many eulogies this week for Mario M. Cuomo. For me, the former Governor, like a certain white pine in our woods whose annual whorl of branches totes up the years I have lived here, is a measure of my time on this earth.
Thirty years ago last summer, Mario M. Cuomo gave that great address in San Francisco to the Democratic National Convention. I had just moved to upstate New York that year to be with Susan. As Governor, Mario Cuomo helped define the first eight years I worked for the Association for the Protection of the Adirondacks. .read PDF >
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