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Adirondack Explorer

July, 2012

State acquires Champlain wetlands

New York State has added 156 acres on southern Lake Champlain to the forever-wild Forest Preserve, the state Department of Environmental Conservation announced today. Known as Chubbs Dock property, the tract includes 2,140 feet of shoreline and seventy acres of wetlands in the town of Dresden. It is in a wildlife travel corridor connecting the Adirondacks with Vermont’s Green Mountains. “Chubbs Dock conserves excellent wildlife habitat along the narrow headwaters of Lake Champlain,” said DEC Commissioner Joe Martens. The Adirondack Nature Conservancy bought the property for $500,000 in November 2009 and donated it to the state this past May. “Not >>More


July, 2012

Protect files brief in Tupper Lake suit

Protect the Adirondacks has submitted a lengthy reply brief in its lawsuit against the Adirondack Club and Resort in Tupper Lake. Protect is responding to the claims of the Adirondack Park Agency in its answer to the suit. Among other things, Protect contends the project violates regulations for lands classified as Resource Management, the APA’s strictest zoning category for private property. Protect also reasserts that the APA staff conducted illegal negotiations with the developers and that the agency approved the project without requiring a wildlife study beforehand. We haven’t had time to read the brief in its entirety, but those >>More


July, 2012

DEC to reconstruct popular boat launch

Maps shows location of the Second Pond boat launch.

The state Department of Environmental Conservation hopes to reconstruct this fall the popular boat launch at Second Pond, which gives boaters access to the Saranac Lakes State Campground. DEC plans to replace the existing boat ramp, build a separate facility for canoes and kayaks, and provide additional parking. It also wants to change the boundaries of the boat launch, part of which now lies within the High Peak Wilderness, a violation of the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan. To comply with regulations, DEC proposes to reclassify 5.6 acres of Wilderness as Intensive Use. In exchange, 6.8 acres of Intensive >>More


June, 2012

Will boathouse have to be torn down?

A man who built a boathouse on Lake Placid in defiance of the local code-enforcement officer could be forced to tear it down. The Appellate Division of State Supreme Court ruled unanimously Thursday that William Grimditch should have obtained a permit from the town of North Elba before building the boathouse in 2010. Grimditch was rushing to build the boathouse before stricter boathouse regulations adopted by the Adirondack Park Agency went into effect. His children built a smaller boathouse on adjoining property, also without a town permit. Last August, State Supreme Court Justice Richard Meyer ruled that the Grimditches did >>More


June, 2012

Houseal to leave Adirondack Council

Brian Houseal leaving Adirondack Council

Brian Houseal will step down as executive director of the Adirondack Council when his contract runs out this fall. Houseal told the Explorer he is pursuing other work in conservation but plans to continue to live in Westport. Asked why he was leaving the council, he replied: “I’ve been in this position ten years. It’s time.” He noted that his second five-year contract with the council will expire in late October. Houseal counts among his achievements the successful lobbying for acid-rain and clean-air legislation and the launching of the Common Ground Alliance, which he co-founded. As its name suggests, the >>More


June, 2012

Landowner closes road to Madawaska Flow

Madawaska Flow in the Adirondacks.

The logging road to Madawaska Flow and Quebec Brook, waterways acquired by the state in 1998, is closed to the public, the Adirondack Explorer has learned. I intended to drive to Madawaska on Sunday to take photos for a paddling guidebook and was surprised to find the gate locked. A sign indicated that the road was closed on June 4 and that public access was prohibited. The road provides the only motorized access to Madawaska Flow, the centerpiece of a 5,800-acre tract known as the Madawaska Flow/Quebec Brook Primitive Area. The area is used by birders, paddlers, and hunters. Dave >>More


June, 2012

Land trust sells wild tract to private buyer

For the May/June issue of the Explorer, Brian Mann wrote a piece about the difficulty of getting state funding for smaller land deals in the Adirondacks. That’s because all the attention is on the acquisition of former Finch, Pruyn lands and Follensby Pond–roughly 80,000 acres in all. As a result, Mann reported, the Adirondack Land Trust planned to sell land abutting the Pigeon Lake Wilderness to a private buyer rather than the state. Today the Land Trust announced that it has indeed sold the 340-acre property to a private buyer for $1.3 million. Known as the Mays Pond Tract, it >>More


May, 2012

Bauer to lead Protect the Adirondacks

Peter Bauer appointed by Protect the Adirondacks

Peter Bauer, a longtime environmental activist, has been named executive director of Protect the Adirondacks, an organization formed in 2010 with the merger of two green groups, one of which Bauer ran. In an interview with the Explorer, Bauer said he was drawn to Protect by the strength of its board of directors. “It was the right job at the right time with the right group of people,” he remarked. Bauer will start his new job in early September. He is currently executive director of the Fund for Lake George, where he delved deeply into water-quality issues. Bauer went to >>More


April, 2012

Schumer backs Tahawus rail line

Tahawus rail line

  U.S. Senator Charles Schumer has come out in favor of reopening the rail line between North Creek and Tahawus, which some environmentalists argue would violate the forever-wild clause of the state constitution. In a letter to the Federal Surface Transportation Board, Schumer said the line would provide “much needed economic development and jobs in the Adirondack Region.” Iowa Pacific Holdings bought the line last year from NL Industries and wants to use it to transport waste rock from the closed NL mine in Tahawus at the foot of the High Peaks. The green group Protect the Adirondacks contends that >>More


March, 2012

Camps to stay on former Champion lands

  After years of negotiation and some controversy, the state has finalized an agreement that will allow more than two hundred hunting camps to remain on timberlands formerly owned by Champion International. In 1998, the state entered an agreement with Champion to purchase 29,000 acres in the Adirondacks and preserve another 110,000 with conservation easements that allow public access. Under the original agreement, the hunting camps on the easement lands were to be removed by 2014, but following an outcry, the state Department of Environmental Conservation renegotiated the agreement to permit them to stay. In return, the new landowner, Heartwood >>More