This wild, remote region beloved by generations of people
deserves ongoing dialogue about its future.

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FIELD NOTES: SAFEGUARDING THE WILD

Wild Action Now: Moose River Plains

Moose River Plains Wild Forest Unit Management Plan now under review.
Your comments and letters are needed.

First plan ever for this 85,000-acre wild, remote area with over 40 miles of remote, dirt road popular with hunters, fishers, snowmobilers, and family campers.

Public Comments were due Sept. 17, 2010. However, letters after that date are still important.

Adirondack Wild asks for your letters supporting better wild lands management needed to safeguard the region’s ecosystems, traditions of family camping and recreation in a remote, wild forest setting.

Adirondack Wild strongly opposes the State’s proposal to classify the road system as Intensive Use, and calls for a citizen advisory committee.

Read our comprehensive comment letter (PDF file) for more details.

Background: For more about the history of the Moose River Plains area, see below.

emerald_forest
Adirondack Wild partners, joined by Gary Lee (retired NYS DEC Forest Ranger) camped in the Moose River Plains while attending meetings in September.
Photographs © Ken Rimany

The significant proposals in the plan are:

• reclassification of 3000 acres along the 26-mile Limekiln-Cedar River Road from Wild Forest to create a new Intensive Use Camping Area to accommodate 105 roadside camping sites (combined in Intensive Use and Wild Forest classifications), with potential for nearly 50 more. There are 170 tent sites today along the road system. The 2006 Draft UMP recommended closure of 99 sites due to resource degradation, and lack of site separation. The 2010 draft abandons that action in favor of an Intensive Use designation.

• reclassification of State lands from Wild Forest to Wilderness along the former Otter Brook Truck Trail to expand the West Canada Lake Wilderness Area by over 15,000 acres in recognition of its wilderness characteristics.

• a new community connector (minimum 9 foot wide, mechanically groomed) snowmobile trail to be named the Seventh Lake Mountain – Sargent Ponds Trail leading from the plains to the village of Raquette Lake

• the Beaver Lake Special Management Area to afford continued or enhanced float plane access to a relatively remote, wild setting for camping, hunting and fishing.

• discontinues public motor vehicle use on 5.5 miles of the Indian Lake Road and former Otter Brook Truck Trail.

• closes 49.3 miles of dead-end or little used snowmobile trails.

• creates the Historic Great Camps Special Management Area for Great Camps Uncas and Sagamore.

Priority Issues from Adirondack Wild: Friends of the Forest Preserve

1. This wild, remote region beloved by generations of people deserves ongoing dialogue about its future. We recommend and will work towards the establishment of a forum or citizen advisory committee to provide citizen advice long after the official comment period ends – part of a Dialogue for the Wild which we are encouraging throughout the State.

2. The UMP is weak in its required analysis of ecosystems in the unit, extent and nature of public use, and actual and anticipated impacts of projected public use on natural resources and ecosystems. It fails to even discuss how climate change – and fewer days with snow on the ground - may impact winter recreational use of the Moose River Plains

3. The Intensive Use Camping Area is a defeatist attempt by the State to maintain tent and RV camping sites piled on top of one another, ignoring lawful guidelines requiring these sites to be one-quarter mile apart to avoid damage to the environment and to maintain wild forest camping conditions. There is no need for Intensive Use here. The camp sites which are the most damaged and damaging to the environment should be gradually closed over time and rehabilitated, employing public education and citizen advice.

4. The State’s paramount responsibility is to protect and preserve the natural resources of the NYS Forest Preserve. “Human use and enjoyment of those lands should be permitted and encouraged, so long as the resources in their physical and biological context as well as their social or psychological aspects are not degraded” (SLMP).

5. The unpaved road system is clearly Wild Forest in character. Intensive Use does not belong deep within a Wild Forest area. This contrasts with public campgrounds, boat launches and ski facilities like Gore and Whiteface near paved highways, which truly are Intensively Used.

6. The reclassification proposal of 15,000 acres of the Moose River Plains to become part of the adjoining West Canada Lakes Wilderness is poorly justified, and ignores public identification with the Moose River Plains.

7. Reclassifying this as the Moose River Plains Primitive area, instead of Wilderness, may make sense because this area better suits the Primitive definition, and since mountain biking along routes now open would be permitted to continue.

8. The proposed snowmobile trail connector is proposed as close to Rt. 28 as possible in conformance with overall Park-wide goals. However, it would be mechanically groomed in violation, we believe, of the Master Plan, and knowledgeable people affirm that terrain constraints may make its construction impractical and too costly.

9. We support the closure to motorized use of 49 miles of existing, minimally-used and dead-end snowmobile trails.

10. The proposed Historic Great Camps Special Management Area is very important, and should be supported, but with more detailed operating guidelines for the State and Private Owners.

11. The Moose River Plains has lost its Assistant Forest Ranger program due to budget cuts. A new educational and outreach program hiring and training youth from Inlet, Old Forge, Indian Lake to serve as a youth conservation corps for the Moose River Plains would boost local employment and pride, train conservation stewards, and upgrade conditions in the plains. Such a program should be immediately investigated.

Please submit your comments regarding the Moose River Plains Wild Forest Unit Management Plan by Sept. 17, 2010 to the addresses below, or email your letter to apa_slmp@gw.dec.state.ny.us

Send comments by 1st class mail to: Josh Clague, NYS DEC, Lands and Forests, 625 Broadway, Albany, NY 12233 or to Rick Weber, Adirondack Park Agency, P.O. Box 99, Ray Brook, NY 12977.

Please copy your comments to:
1. Hon. David A. Paterson, Governor, Executive Chamber, State Capitol, Albany, NY 12224
2. Alexander B. “Pete” Grannis, Commissioner, NYS DEC, 625 Broadway, Albany, NY 12233
3. Curt Stiles, Chairman, APA, P.O. Box 99, Ray Brook, NY 12977
Email your letters to apa_slmp@gw.dec.state.ny.us. And please copy Adirondack Wild by sending your comments to dplumley@adirondackwild.org or dgibson@adirondackwild.org.

Thank you from all of us at Adirondack Wild: Friends of the Forest Preserve.

Background: The Moose River Plains was spared from flooding by two large hydroelectric dams in the 1940s and 1950s by citizens united under the Moose River Committee, led by Paul Schaefer (founder of Friends of the Forest Preserve) and supported by many Adirondack residents. Since its acquisition from Gould Paper Company in 1963, the area has been protected by Article 14 of the NYS Constitution which states that these lands, like all Forest Preserve, are to be “forever kept as wild forest lands.” A system of roads left by lumbering operations connecting Inlet and Indian Lake has resulted in a long tradition of roadside camping, hunting, fishing, snowmobiling and now bicycling and kayaking on the South Branch of the Moose River. The area was classified as Wild Forest under the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan of 1972.

Many families have grown up to love the outdoors in this region, and are fiercely loyal and protective of it. A Unit Management Plan for the area, required by the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan, has been in drafting stage for nearly a decade. A final draft of that UMP is now subject to public comment and review for compliance with the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan. The Town of Inlet responded to the 2010 State budget crisis by working with the State to maintain the Limekiln Lake-Cedar River Road, the trunk road through the area, for public use.


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5] Posted 10/07/10
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2010

12/06/10 Law Judge rules on Adirondack Wild  read more >

10/21/10 Adirondack Wild, Fire Towers and Wilderness  read more >

10/12/10 Comment: Proposal to Reclassify…Fire Towers  read more >

10/07/10 Wild Action Now: Moose River Plains  
read more >


10/07/10 Comment: Moose River Plains   read more >


10/07/10 Comment: Public Hearing, Fire Towers on St. Regis and Hurricane Mountains  read more >
10/07/10 Comment: Alternative Actions for Fire Towers on St. Regis and Hurricane Mountains   read more >
10/07/10 Comment: State-Owned Conservation Easements  read more >
10/07/10 Safeguarding the Wild   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 Plains © Ken Rimany; Mushrooms © Ken Rimany

ADIRONDACK PARK REGIONAL
Peter Brinkley, Honorary Chair
pbrinkley@frontiernet.net
Terry Jandreau, Chair
terry.jandreau@yahoo.com
 
Kenneth J. Rimany, Partner
krimany@adirondackwild.org
David H. Gibson, Managing Partner
dgibson@adirondackwild.org
Mobile: 518.469.4081

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