"My personal experience and readings convince me that preservation
of wild places is the best of American traditions.
Wilderness is at the heart of the nation.
It tells one generation what is right and lasting about
all generations and about the land itself."
—Michael Frome

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FIELD NOTES: SAFEGUARDING THE WILD

Adirondack Wild Speaks to the APA

By Dan Plumley and Dave Gibson


Wallface Mt. from Hendersen Lake.


Dan Plumley addressing the APA board.

As expected, APA members met on Friday July 13, 2018 and unanimously approved the High Peaks Wilderness and Vanderwhacker Mountain Wild Forest Unit Management Plan amendments. APA interpreted both amendments as complying with the State Land Master Plan. Adirondack Wild: Friends of the Forest Preserve disagreed strongly. Our comprehensive letter explaining why the amendments failed to comply ( comment letter ),  and urging APA to work with DEC to truly place natural resources and wild land character ahead of recreational access was on the APA’s front desk during the meeting for all to read.

During public privilege, Dan Plumley spoke to the agency for Adirondack Wild. He reminded Agency members and staff that the National Wilderness Preservation system launched in 1964 and now encompassing some 111 million acres was inspired by New York’s “forever wild” constitutional protection. We are living in a state where wilderness preservation began in America, Dan said, and New York’s wilderness is every bit as significant as the nation’s. In fact, he said that of 766 wilderness areas across 44 states inclusive of Alaska, the newly expanded High Peaks Wilderness area, at 275,460 acres, ranks in size within the top 10th percentile , and second only to the Okeefenokee Wilderness in Georgia (at 353,000 acres) in the eastern U.S. 

Yet, Dan reminded the APA, despite the prominence of our state’s Forest Preserve and the High Peaks Wilderness complex, the State has failed to implement what the 1999 Unit Management Plan called for – a plan to implement a permit reservation system for camping in the intensively used corridors of the eastern High Peaks so that hikers and campers could actually experience solitude or have a primitive and unconfined wilderness experience consistent with the Wilderness definition.  Instead, the evidence continues to mount of resource degradation and recreational crowding and overuse in the most popular parts of the area. Despite the best efforts of DEC and all private stewards, education and other indirect controls have proven inadequate to protect the resource and wilderness character here.

“Kicking the can down the road” was a how one APA member, Chad Dawson, characterized the UMP amendments. It’s gone on for nearly 20 years, said Dan, citing the high use numbers. Let’s not kick the can down the road any more. Let’s get to work to protect the Boreas Ponds tract. Let’s establish a wild land monitoring and evaluation system and a resource-based management plan here. Let’s not throw open the Gulf Brook and Boreas Roads to public motorized access before those carrying capacity studies are even underway, much less completed, he urged the Agency.

“We call upon the state through the APA and the DEC to meet the need of protecting wilderness with the resources and the staffing necessary for the hard tasks ahead,” Dan concluded. Our NYS DEC Forest Rangers are so busy with daily search and rescue operations they can no longer afford the time to actually help protect the resource. Their numbers must be increased, as must Assistant Forest Rangers and resource professionals across the board to carry on the work called for by these UMP amendments.

Dan closed his comments by recognizing and thanking APA Chair Sherman Craig for his leadership and service. Craig announced his retirement after two years as APA chairman and seven years as a member of the APA.



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Archived Safeguarding Field Notes

2018

07/15/18 Adirondack Wild Speaks to the APA
read more>


06/11/18 Viewpoint: Time for permit system in the High Peaks Wilderness read more>


05/22/18 State Rushing Process For High Peaks, Boreas Plans read more>


04/20/18 Limit Motor Vehicles and Traffic on the way to Boreas Ponds. Keep it Wild! read more>


03/28/18 Adirondack Wild helps lead opposition to elimination of Forest Preserve taxation read more>


03/06/18 DEC Should End Uncertainty of Old Mountain Road read more>


02/26/18 Judge Upholds Wetlands Denial read more>


02/13/18 Forever Wild and Forever Taxable read more>


01/30/18 Proposal for Boreas Ponds Falls Short read more>


01/11/18 Protect Adirondack Boreal Habitat read more>


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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, Moose River ©2010 Ken Rimany; Field Notes photographs ©2011 Ken Rimany. Wild Action Now photograph ©2011 David Gibson

ADIRONDACK PARK REGIONAL
Peter Brinkley, Honorary Chair
pbrinkley@frontiernet.net
Daniel R. Plumley, Partner
dplumley@adirondackwild.org
Home Office: 518.576.9277
David H. Gibson, Partner
dgibson@adirondackwild.org
Mobile: 518.469.4081
Kenneth J. Rimany, Partner
krimany@adirondackwild.org

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