"Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature’s
peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees.
The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms
their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves."

— John Muir


Four Mile Snowmobile Trail Through Wilderness?
By Dave Gibson, Managing Partner Adirondack Wild


Trees like these would need to be cut down in order to construct a proposed DEC snowmobile corridor here, within the Blue Ridge Wilderness at its boundary with State Rte. 28 near Raquette Lake. Photo by Dave Gibson.

Pink flagging shows the proposed snowmobile corridor, Blue Ridge Wilderness near Rt. 28 highway and Raquette Lake. Photo by Dave Gibson

The New York State Dept. of Environmental Conservation wants to extend an existing community connector snowmobile trail now terminating near Raquette Lake village to Long Lake village. That sounded reasonable enough at year’s end 2018  - until we all learned  that the DEC plans to run that four mile connection all along the boundary of the Blue Ridge Wilderness.

All motorized uses, including snowmobiling and the mechanized grooming equipment that comes with snowmobiling, are disallowed in Wilderness. A guideline in the State Land Master Plan labeled Boundary Structures and Improvements allows certain facilities including snowmobile trails within 500 feet of where a Wilderness boundary intersects a public highway. But that snowmobile trail exception is only authorized “in limited circumstances.”  From our point of view, a four-mile long, groomed snowmobile trail 9-12 feet wide through Wilderness, whether constructed 500 feet from the highway or not, does not quality as a limited circumstance.

Adirondack Wild has communicated its view that a construction project of this dimension and so damaging to Wilderness values would violate both the Master Plan’s specific prohibition on motorized uses in Wilderness and Article XIV of our NYS Constitution, the “forever wild” clause, because such a lengthy motorized route through a Wilderness area violates everything that the “forever wild” clause stands for.

Our comment letters are attached here AW letters to DEC  DEC’s proposal is in draft form at the present time and still must be finalized before it is presented to the Adirondack Park Agency (APA) for a decision of whether or not it conforms to the State Land Master Plan. In the interim, we hope DEC takes our advice, withdraws its draft plan, and chooses an alternative route that meets legal tests.

Please send your own comments or viewpoint to DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos, 625 Broadway, Albany, NY 12233, and Karen Feldman, Acting Chair, APA, P.O. Box 99, Ray Brook, NY 12977. Thank you!

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The mission of Adirondack Wild: Friends of the Forest Preserve is to advance New York’s ‘Forever Wild’ legacy and Forest Preserve policies in the Adirondack and Catskill Parks, and promote public and private land stewardship that is consistent with wild land values through education, advocacy and research.

Top left, Autumn © Ken Rimany; Maple Leaves and Lichen ©Ken Rimany

Peter Brinkley, Honorary Chair
Terry Jandreau, Chair
Christopher Amato
Vice Chair & Counsel

David H. Gibson, Partner
Mobile: 518.469.4081

Adirondack Wild: Friends of the Forest Preserve    Founded 1945   PO Box 9247 • Niskayuna New York 12309 | ©