January, 2017

Adirondack Wilderness Advocates Issues Boreas Analysis

Adirondack Wilderness Advocates has sent the Adirondack Park Agency a detailed paper, replete with photos, maps, and charts, arguing for a Wilderness classification for nearly all of the 20,758-acre Boreas Ponds Tract. The 46-page document also contains recommendations for several other lands recently added to the public Forest Preserve. The first half of the document is devoted to the Boreas Ponds Tract, the most controversial and largest of the classification decisions facing the APA. Adirondack Wilderness Advocates was formed last year by Bill Ingersoll, Brendan Wiltse, and Pete Nelson to counter classification proposals from environmental groups that they say fail >>More


May, 2016

Dick Booth to step down from APA board

The Adirondack Park Agency board will soon lose its strongest defender of wilderness: Dick Booth does not intend to serve another term. Booth’s current four-year term expires June 30, but he said he will stay on awhile if a successor is not appointed by then. A professor in Cornell’s Department of City and Regional Planning, Booth told the Adirondack Explorer he is leaving partly out of frustration with decisions at the agency. He also said the long drive from Ithaca to Ray Brook for monthly meetings and poring over stacks of documents in preparation for those meetings proved draining over >>More


April, 2015

DEC Proposes Trail, Lean-to In Pepperbox Wilderness

The 22,560-acre Pepperbox in the western Adirondacks is one of the smaller Wilderness Areas in the Park, but it also is one of the wildest. It has no lean-tos and only two miles of foot trails. The State Land Master Plan observes that the lack of a trail system “offers an opportunity to retain a portion of the Adirondack landscape in a state that even a purist might call wilderness.” Now the state Department of Environmental Conservation is proposing to create a 1.3-mile trail to Gregg Lake and build a lean-to at a primitive campsite on the lake. The trail >>More


July, 2013

Parsing The Options For The Finch, Pruyn Lands

In an article in the July/August issue of the Adirondack Explorer, I examine the various options for classifying the former Finch, Pruyn lands acquired by the state from the Nature Conservancy. You can read the article here, but it also helps to peruse the table and maps included with the story. That’s what this post is for. The above  table, designed by Jason Smith, shows at a glance how the seven options compare with respect to recreational uses and access. As you can see, the most restrictive options are Wilderness 1B and Primitive. Canoeists would face a portage of about one >>More


January, 2013

APA hires ex-commissioner as counsel

The Adirondack Park Agency has hired James Townsend, one of its former board members, to serve as the agency’s counsel. He will replace John Banta, who retired last year. A Rochester lawyer, Townsend sat on the APA board from 1999 to 2010. He left when he wasn’t reappointed by Governor David Paterson. APA Chairwoman Lani Ulrich made the announcement today. “For more than a decade, Mr. Townsend worked tirelessly on complicated Park issues and has a proven track record of accomplishments on behalf of the Adirondacks,” she said in a prepared statement. Environmental activists also voiced support for the appointment. >>More


September, 2012

Protect seeks APA e-mails with Cuomo staff

Adirondack Club and Resort photo by Carl Heilman II

Protect the Adirondacks and the Sierra Club want to see e-mails between the Adirondack Park Agency and Governor Andrew Cuomo’s staff to determine if the governor’s office improperly influenced the APA’s approval of a massive resort in Tupper Lake. John Caffry, the attorney for the two environmental groups, said the APA acknowledges that the APA and Executive Chamber exchanged e-mails on the project, but the agency refuses to divulge them. “There is a school of thought that the governor’s office dictated the APA vote,” Caffry said, though he conceded that he doesn’t know that to be the case. “Obviously they >>More


September, 2012

DEC on track to buy Finch lands this year

Essex Chain of Lakes in the Adirondacks. Photo by Carl Heilman II.

The state is on track to buy more than nineteen thousand acres of former Finch, Pruyn lands by the end of the year, according to the state Department of Environmental Conservation. Karyn Richards of DEC’s Division of Lands and Forests outlined the department’s plans to the Adirondack Park Agency on Thursday afternoon. Over the next five years, she said, the state will purchase sixty-nine thousand acres from the Adirondack Nature Conservancy for $49.8 million. The land will be purchased in four stages and added to the forever-wild Forest Preserve. In the first stage, DEC will acquire the 18,318-acre Essex Chain >>More


September, 2012

Groups say ACR permits expired

Adirondack Club and Resort aerial photo

Protect the Adirondacks and the Sierra Club contend that the permits for the Adirondack Club and Resort in Tupper Lake have expired and the developer must begin the lengthy application process all over again. In January, the Adirondack Park Agency approved the permits with conditions. Among them, the developers were told to conduct a wildlife survey. John Caffry, the attorney for the two environmental groups, asserts in a letter to the APA that under the APA Act, permits expire if the conditions are not met after six months. He says the deadline passed on July 31. “If the Project Sponsor >>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


January, 2012

APA approves Tupper Lake resort

The Adirondack Park Agency voted 10-1 today to approve the controversial Adirondack Club and Resort, the largest development ever to come before the agency. Several commissioners said they had concerns about the project—including what they described as the developers’ optimistic sales projections—but they concluded that it fell within the APA’s regulations. The commissioners agreed with the agency’s staff that the resort would not cause an “undue adverse environmental impact” and expressed hope that it would boost the fortunes of Tupper Lake. “This brings the opportunity of economic development to Tupper Lake, something that’s badly needed,” said Commissioner William Thomas. Tupper >>More


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