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Adirondack Explorer

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


January, 2012

APA writes draft permit for Tupper resort

After six years of public debate, the Adirondack Park Agency’s staff has written a draft permit for the Adirondack Club and Resort in Tupper Lake, finding that the resort would comply with the law if it meets all the conditions of the permit. The APA board, which is scheduled to vote next Friday, could approve the draft permit, approve it with modifications, or reject it. Among other things, the board must decide whether the project will cause an “undue adverse environmental impact.” Two environmental activists disagree on whether the project as described in the permit passes the test. Brian Houseal, >>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

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


March, 2011

Driving to Marcy Dam?

Imagine how the High Peaks Wilderness would change if people were allowed to drive to Marcy Dam or Indian Pass. The Adirondack Park Agency raises this possibility in a legal brief filed last week in the long and convoluted dispute over the Old Mountain Road in the Sentinel Range Wilderness. The Old Mountain Road is now used as a trail for hiking and cross-country skiing, but in May 2009 the state’s environmental conservation commissioner ruled that the route was never legally closed and thus, theoretically, could be reopened to motor vehicles. If allowed to stand, the decision could be cited >>More


November, 2010

ADK objects to Moose River Plains plan

The Adirondack Mountain Club is objecting to the state’s recommendation to allow mountain biking on an old road in a portion of the Moose River Plains that has been proposed to be designated Wilderness. ADK Executive Director Neil Woodworth said the mountain-bike corridor would set a bad precedent and could open the door for other uses, such as snowmobiling, normally prohibited in Wilderness Areas. “The harder it is to get into the Wilderness, the more protected it is,” Woodworth said. The state Department of Environmental Conservation proposes to establish the biking corridor in the latest version of its draft management >>More


October, 2010

APA votes to preserve towers

After years of debate and delay, the Adirondack Park Agency voted today to authorize the rehabilitation of dormant fire towers on St. Regis and Hurricane mountains. The APA board voted 9-0 to reclassify a half-acre under each tower as a Historic Area—an action that critics denounced as “spot zoning,” warning that it sets a bad precedent. The Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan had called for removing the towers, but in the face of a public outcry, the APA agreed to amend the master plan to allow the towers to stay. The APA board expects that citizens groups will raise >>More


September, 2010

Council loses snowmobile decision

A state judge has dismissed the Adirondack Council’s complaint that guidelines for snowmobile trails, adopted last year, violate the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan and the forever-wild clause of the state constitution. The guidelines authorize the state Department of Environmental Conservation to construct extra-wide “community connector” trails between hamlets and allow tractor groomers to maintain them. The Adirondack Park Agency approved the guidelines in November, saying they complied with the State Land Master Plan. Brian Houseal, the council’s executive director, said the council will decide whether to appeal after reviewing the judge’s opinion. Houseal said the council recognizes the >>More


June, 2010

Changes planned for Moose River Plains

The state Department of Environmental Conservation has two interesting proposals for the Moose River Plains. One should make local officials happy. The other should make environmentalists happy. The Moose River Plains is now classified as Wild Forest. DEC wants to reclassify twenty miles of dirt road as an “Intensive Use Area,” a designation usually reserved for state campgrounds. The department does not intend to create a full-out campground, with showers, bathrooms, paved roads, and other modern amenities, but it expects to maintain up to 150 roadside campsites with fireplaces or fire rings, picnic tables, and outhouses. The Intensive Use classification will >>More


January, 2010

Trying to save the VICs

Paul Smith’s College will host a meeting of elected officials and other interested parties next week to try to keep the state-run Visitor Interpretive Centers from closing. Governor David Paterson has proposed shutting the two VICs, located in Paul Smiths and Newcomb, to save money. They would close by next January. The college leases to the state the land occupied by the Paul Smiths VIC—more than 2,700 acres.  “We recognize the importance of the VIC to the community,” said Kenneth Aaron, a college spokesman, “and we want to find a way to keep it open.” He acknowledged that the college >>More