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Adirondack Explorer

November, 2017

Hiker Pleads Guilty To Operating Drone In Wilderness

Canadian man is first person convicted for drone usage in the Adirondacks.

March, 2012

Should floatplanes be allowed on Lake Lila?

Lake Lila in the Adirondack Park

The state attorney general is again asking a federal judge to dismiss a lawsuit that demands that the disabled be allowed to fly to remote lakes in regions of the Adirondack Park classified as Wilderness, where motorized use is prohibited. Among the waterways targeted in the suit is Lake Lila, long a prime destination of canoeists and kayakers.  Assistant Attorney General Susan Taylor argues, among other things, that the five men who filed the suit, though disabled, can access Wilderness Areas and many Adirondack lakes without a floatplane. But Lake Placid attorney Matthew Norfolk says his clients (who include Maynard >>More

May, 2011

DEC proposes to ban gas motors on 13th Lake

The state Department of Environmental Conservation proposes to ban gas-powered motorboats on Thirteenth Lake on the edge of the Siamese Ponds Wilderness. DEC says it has received numerous complaints about the noise and pollution caused by motorboats on the lake. Under the proposed regulation, electric motors would be allowed on the lake. The agency’s news release, with links to more information, follows. DEC PROPOSES THE USE OF ELECTRIC MOTORS ONLY ON THIRTEENTH LAKE A proposed regulation that would limit motorized boating  on Thirteenth Lake to electric motors only was released for public comment today  by the New York State Department >>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

February, 2011

DEC lawyer files brief in McCulley case

A lawyer for the state Department of Environmental Conservation argues that his former boss misconstrued the Highway Law in dismissing a ticket against a Lake Placid man who drove his pickup truck on an abandoned road in the Sentinel Range Wilderness. Randall Young, the top attorney in DEC’s Region 6, is asking the commissioner of DEC to clarify a decision handed down in 2009. The decision was made by then-Commissioner Pete Grannis. Jim McCulley, the president of the Lake Placid Snowmobile Club, sparked the legal dispute after driving his truck on the Old Mountain Road in 2005. The road, now >>More

January, 2011

DEC move called risky

The state Department of Environmental Conservation’s plan to move its Adirondack emergency dispatchers from the Lake Placid region to Albany is creating quite a stir. Critics contend the move will make the public less safe. The argument is that dispatchers in Albany will be less familiar with the Adirondack—and its bewildering nomenclature—and this could slow the response time of search-and-rescue crews. State Senator Betty Little, who represents the North Country, is among those questioning the change. “Obviously, the state is looking at ways to be more efficient all the time,” she told the Adirondack Daily Enterprise, “but in the Adirondacks, >>More

January, 2011

New twist in McCulley case

The state Department of Environmental Conservation has granted a request by its own staff to clarify an agency decision that the Old Mountain Road in Keene—now part of the Jackrabbit Ski Trail—had never been legally abandoned and therefore could be open to motorized use. The decision by DEC Commissioner Pete Grannis in 2009 raised questions about the status of other old woods roads in the Forest Preserve.  Many such roads are now foot trails and closed to vehicles. DEC attorney Randall Young had filed a motion for clarification, contending that Grannis misinterpreted the law and that the decision could lead >>More

October, 2010

State answers floatplane suit

The November/December issue of the Explorer will contain an article and a debate on a lawsuit filed against the state by five military veterans who contend that the state’s ban on floatplanes in Wilderness Areas violates the federal Americans with Disabilities Act. Today, Attorney General Andrew Cuomo filed an answer to the suit. Most of the document is filled with standard legalese (“Deny knowledge or information sufficient to form a belief …”), but it provides insight into the state’s defense. Assistant Attorney General Susan Taylor contends in the answer that the federal law does not require the state to provide >>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

August, 2010

Disabled sue for wilderness access

Six men filed suit in federal court this week to force the state to allow the disabled to fly into wild lakes by floatplane or helicopter. The plaintiffs contend that banning aircraft from tracts of Forest Preserve classified as Wilderness, Primitive or Canoe violates the federal Americans With Disabilities Act. Before the adoption of the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan in the early 1970s, floatplanes regularly flew in and out of lakes where they are now banned. The plan prohibits nearly all motorized use in Wilderness, Primitive, and Canoe Areas. The Explorer will run a story on the lawsuit >>More


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