May, 2017

State To Buy 618 Acres Along Lake Champlain

The Open Space Institute has purchased a 618-acre parcel along Lake Champlain, including 4,000 feet of shoreline, and plans to sell it to the state to be added to the forever-wild Forest Preserve. The property lies across from Schuyler Island, an undeveloped island already in the Forest Preserve. OSI bought the land, which includes Trembleau Mountain, from the Gellert family for $500,000. It offers views of the High Peaks, Lake Champlain, and the Green Mountains of Vermont. The Department of Environmental Conservation plans to create trails after the state acquires the property. The highest summit of Trembleau is owned by >>More


May, 2017

State Adds Marion River Carry To Adirondack Forest Preserve

The state has added the historic Marion River carry to the Forest Preserve, ending a long-running dispute over the ownership of 216 parcels of land near the hamlet of Raquette Lake. The deal secures a five-hundred-yard trail used by paddlers portaging between Utowana Lake and the Marion River. The carry is an essential part of a canoe route between Blue Mountain Lake and Raquette Lake. The Open Space Institute bought the 296-acre parcel in 2012 for $2 million and transferred it to the state this year at no cost to the state. Before OSI stepped in, the Marion River property >>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


September, 2015

Biking An Old Woods Road To Pine Pond

Last winter Carol Fox and I skied from Averyville outside Lake Placid to Oseetah Lake outside Saranac Lake, following an old woods road that constitutes part of the northern boundary of the High Peaks Wilderness. We had a great time. You will be able to read about our adventure in a forthcoming issue of the Adirondack Explorer. On Labor Day weekend I returned to the old road with my mountain bike and rode about six and a half miles to Pine Pond, a beautiful body of water with a sandy beach. As on our ski trip, I saw ample evidence >>More


January, 2015

Green Groups Weigh NYCO Appeal

Environmental groups are threatening to take to a higher court their battle against a mining company’s plan to drill for wollastonite in the Jay Mountain Wilderness. On Thursday, Earthjustice filed a notice of appeal with the Appellate Division of State Supreme Court, a step that preserves its right to appeal the dismissal of a lawsuit against NYCO Minerals, the state Department of Environmental Conservation, and the Adirondack Park Agency. “The agencies’ determinations here really were illegal and null and void, and they shouldn’t be allowed to go forward,” said Hannah Chang, an attorney for Earthjustice, a nonprofit organization that specializes >>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


August, 2012

Online petition for Forest Preserve acquisitions

The Cedar River flows through lands leased by the Gooley Club. Photo by Carl Heilman II.

Protect the Adirondacks, the Adirondack Mountain Club, the Adirondack Council, and other green groups have started an online petition to encourage the state not to back out of an agreement to purchase sixty-five thousand acres of former Finch, Pruyn lands for the Forest Preserve. In its petition, the environmentalists contend that “a small but vocal group” is pressuring Governor Andrew Cuomo and the state Department of Environmental Conservation to keep the lands in private ownership. “This proposal undermines a carefully balanced project that is a sound investment both in the local economy and in the environment and in the ecological >>More


November, 2009

How big is the Forest Preserve?

Local officials in the Adirondack Park have long complained about the amount of land owned by the state in the Park. The state constitution decrees that this land, the Forest Preserve, “shall be forever kept as wild forest lands.” In other words, no development. The critics see this as bad for the region’s economy. Environmentalists, however, argue that the Preserve attracts tourists and boosts the economy. This debate shows no signs of letting up. During the Pataki administration, the state started saving vast tracts of timberlands not by acquiring them for the Preserve, but by purchasing conservation easements. Such easements >>More