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Adirondack Explorer

December, 2011

Adirondack Council: Protect Poke-o tract

The Adirondack Council wants the state to purchase or otherwise protect a 2,257-acre parcel near Poke-o-Moonshine Mountain that is on the market for $2,275,000. Dubbed Burnt Pond Forest, the tract lies just southwest of Poke-o-Moonshine, bordering state Forest Preserve. It is being marketed by LandVest, a real-estate company that deals in timberlands the Northeast. In an online brochure, LandVest says the property contains six peaks, several trout streams, an eighteen-acre pond, and a trail system. The brochure touts the property’s timber value but also suggests that the pond would be suitable “for the development of a recreational cabin or second >>More

November, 2011

Christopher Amato to leave DEC

Christopher Amato is resigning as the state Department of Environmental Conservation’s assistant commissioner for natural resources. He said will return to practicing law in the private sector or go to work for the state attorney general. Amato told the Explorer that he expects to remain in the Albany region, where he lives. He said he will stay at DEC for “at least a week” longer. “It was time for me to move on,” he said. “I very much enjoyed my time here.” Amato had been in private practice before joining DEC four and a half years ago. Earlier in his >>More

November, 2011

Groups spar over Lake Placid train

Two nonprofit groups are sparring over the future of a rail corridor near Lake Placid, each accusing the other of spreading misinformation. The spat began this week when Adirondack Architectural Heritage (AARCH) issued a news release in support of keeping the railroad tracks in place. AARCH noted that the corridor is on the State and National Registers of Historic Places. In response, Adirondack Recreational Trail Advocates wrote a letter to AARCH, asserting that placement on the historic registers is no bar to tearing up the tracks. “We are writing to suggest that whatever legal advice you are getting on this >>More

November, 2011

The APA’s slippery criteria

Resource Management is the most restrictive zoning category for private land in the Adirondack Park. In the debate over the Adirondack Club and Resort, one of the big questions is whether the proposed resort is suitable for RM lands. Essentially, RM lands are timberlands. The Adirondack Park Agency Act says the primary (or best) uses of such lands include forestry, agriculture, and recreation. Housing developments are considered “secondary uses.” The law says that residential development on RM lands is permissible “on substantial acreages or in small clusters on carefully selected and well designed sites.” The developers contend that their design >>More

November, 2011

DEC won’t rebuild Duck Hole dam

The state Department of Environmental Conservation does not plan to rebuild the dam at Duck Hole, an iconic pond deep in the High Peaks Wilderness. The wooden dam was breached in the flooding caused by Tropical Storm Irene in late August, draining about two-thirds of the impoundment. Even before Irene, fans of Duck Hole had been urging DEC to repair the old dam. In fact, the Explorer ran a debate on the question in its September/October issue, which was on the newsstand when the storm hit. Nestled among high mountains, Duck Hole is a favorite camping spot on the Northville-Placid >>More

November, 2011

Ulrich picked to lead APA board

Governor Andrew Cuomo has chosen Lani Ulrich to take the helm of the Adirondack Park Agency board and nominated Wanakena resident Sherman Craig to a vacant seat on the body. Ulrich, an APA commissioner since 2004, had emerged as a consensus candidate to replace Curt Stiles, who resigned in August after four years as the board’s chairman. “She gets along with both conservation organizations and local government,” said John Sheehan, a spokesman for the Adirondack Council. “We think she’ll steer a wise course.” Fred Monroe, executive director of the Local Government Review Board, an APA watchdog, also has spoken favorably >>More

October, 2011

Keene seeks volunteers for Irene cleanup

The town of Keene is looking for volunteers to help with the post-Irene cleanup. The town plans to undertake a number of cleanup projects every weekend through November 5. This Saturday, people will be removing mud from the basement of a house on Styles Brook Road, according to Joe Pete Wilson Jr., the town’s volunteer coordinator. Because of the mud, the homeowner has been unable to turn on the heat since the storm. Next weekend (October 15-16), volunteers will clean mud and debris from the Keene Library and pick up debris at the community center’s playing fields. On the following >>More

October, 2011

DEC to repair damaged streams

The state Department of Environmental Conservation intends to restore the natural character of streams that were altered by bulldozers and backhoes in the wake of Tropical Storm Irene, according to Christopher Amato, the department’s assistant commissioner for natural resources. Amato said he agrees with environmental activists that some streams were damaged by cleanup crews after Irene. Numerous streams in the Ausable River watershed overflowed and cut new channels during Irene. Afterward, crews used bulldozers and other equipment to rechannel the streams. Critics contend that the workers destroyed habitat for trout and other fish by straightening channels, removing gravel and boulders, >>More

September, 2011

Critics say Irene cleanup bad for streams

The Adirondack Council and Ausable River Association contend that highway crews intent on rechanneling streams after Tropical Storm Irene are destroying trout habitat and creating conditions that could worsen flooding in the future. Several mountain streams jumped their banks during Irene, flooding and damaging buildings and roadways. Since then, bulldozers have been used to divert the streams back into their original channels. But Carol Treadwell, executive director of the Ausable River Association, said the bulldozers are also straightening the streams, removing boulders, lining the shores with rock, and smoothing streambeds. Treadwell said the altered streams are poor habitat for trout, >>More

September, 2011

Should the Duck Hole dam be rebuilt?

By coincidence, the current issue of the Adirondack Explorer contains a debate on whether the Duck Hole dam should be repaired. Some might argue that since the dam has been breached by the floods of Hurricane Irene, the question has been settled, but that’s not the case. Tom Wemett, who wrote in favor of fixing the dam, is now mounting a campaign to have it rebuilt. “Pretty much anybody who paddles or hikes to Duck Hole experiences the same thing: it’s just a magical place,” Wemett told me after Irene. Bill Ingersoll, the author of the Discover the Adirondacks guidebooks, >>More

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