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Adirondack Explorer

Friday, November 13, 2009

About-face on Lows Lake

In a victory for local government, the Adirondack Park Agency voted 7-4 Friday to renege on an earlier decision to give a land-use classification to the waters and bed of Lows Lake. The APA board did the about-face while redoing a vote taken in September. At the earlier meeting, the commissioners voted 6-4 to classify the waters, bed, and surrounding lands of the lake either Wilderness or Primitive. Because of a legal snafu, that vote was later deemed invalid, and so the board took up the matter again at this week’s meeting. In the original decision, the board agreed to >>More

Thursday, November 12, 2009

APA snowmobile plan called illegal

The Adirondack Park Agency could face legal action if, as appears likely, it approves new snowmobile-trail guidelines at its meeting on Friday. The APA’s State Land Committee voted this afternoon (Thursday) to permit the agency’s full board to consider the guidelines at its Friday meeting. Afterward, the executive directors of the Park’s three major environmental groups—the Adirondack Council, the Adirondack Mountain Club (ADK), and Protect the Adirondacks—argued that the proposed guidelines violate the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan. Their objections pertain to the character and maintenance of a new class of trails known as “community connectors,” intended to link >>More

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Farmer still angry at APA

This week I was forwarded some heated e-mails written by Sandy Lewis, the outspoken owner of a large farm in Essex County, and his antagonist at the Adirondack Park Agency, lawyer Paul Van Cott. Lewis has been vociferous in his disdain for the APA. He sued them and won after the agency contended he needed a permit to build worker housing on his organic farm in the Champlain Valley. In one e-mail, Lewis says the APA needs an overhaul and questions Van Cott’s competency. In a reply, Van Cott writes. among other things: “Mr. Lewis, you are a sociopath. Please >>More

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Little testifies at corruption trial

The big story in Albany these days is the corruption trial of Joseph Bruno, the retired majority leader of the state Senate, and among those testifying this week was Betty Little, the state senator whose district includes most of the Adirondack Park. The New York Times reports that the trial has shed light on the inner workings of the state legislature, including the doling out of pork. The following excerpt from the Times describes Little’s testimony on Tuesday. Both she and Bruno are Republicans. In the Senate, as in the Assembly, the largest shares of this pork budget are awarded >>More

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Questions on easement deal

Neil Woodworth, executive director of the Adirondack Mountain Club, is not happy with the proposed modification of the easement agreement with Heartland Forestland Fund. (See previous two posts here and here.) Woodworth contends that the modification would weaken protection of the 110,000 acres covered by the easements by allowing hunting camps to remain, with members allowed motorized access. “This is the first time we have downgraded an easement to make it less protective of the environment,” he said. The state purchased the easements in a 1999 deal with Champion International, the prior owner. The easements prohibit development but allow logging. >>More

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Proposed Forest Preserve addition

In a post yesterday, I reported that Heartland Forestland Fund would donate 2,661 acres to the state under a plan to modify a conservation-easement agreement in order to allow hunting camps to remain on timberlands in the northern Adirondacks. I now have a map of the lands in question, shown above. Most of the land (2,146 acres) lies within the Adirondack Park and will be added to the Deer River Primitive Area, which is part of the Adirondack Forest Preserve. The remainder (515 acres) lies just north of the Park and includes three quarters of a mile of river corridor >>More

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

New deal for hunters

When the state signed a deal a decade ago to protect 139,000 acres owned by Champion International, Adirondack residents complained that it called for the demolition of hunting camps that had been in use for many years. As a result, the state Department of Environmental Conservation is proposing to modify the deal to allow the 220 camps to remain. In exchange, the current owner, Heartland Forestland Fund III, will donate 2,661 acres to the state. The company supplements its timber revenue by leasing land to hunting clubs. In 1999, the state bought 29,000 acres outright from Champion and protected the >>More

Friday, November 6, 2009

Youth Climate Summit

The Wild Center in Tupper Lake will host 170 students from high schools and colleges throughout the Adirondacks next week for its first Adirondack Youth Climate Summit. Each school will send a team of students, educators, and school administrators who will develop plans to reduce energy consumption and greenhouse-gas emissions.  They also will learn how global warming is expected to affect the Adirondacks. The conference was the brainchild of Zachary Berger, a graduate of Lake Placid High School. Inspired by the museum’s climate-change conference in 2008, he suggested a similar conference targeted toward youth. “We know that progress can’t be >>More

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Enck appointed to EPA

Judith Enck, the governor’s deputy secretary for the environment, has been named a regional administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. She will oversee EPA’s Region 2, which includes New Jersey, New York, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. She is expected to assume the job in about a month. Enck was a longtime green activist before then-Governor Eliot Spitzer named her to her current post in 2007. That spring, the Explorer ran a profile of her headlined “The ultimate insider.” After Spitzer resigned, she remained in the job under Governor David Paterson. A native of the Catskills, Enck >>More

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Land swap approved

Voters overwhelmingly ratified on Tuesday a constitutional amendment to allow the state and National Grid to swap parcels of land in the northwestern Adirondacks. The amendment retroactively approves the construction of a power line in a two-mile strip of Forest Preserve along Route 56. The state will receive forty-three acres from National Grid in exchange for six acres of the Preserve. With 95% of districts reporting, nearly 67% of the voters favored the amendment, according to the state Board of Elections. About 1.2 million people voted on the measure. For more details on the land swap, see this earlier post.

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