In the next issue of the Adirondack Explorer, we plan to publish an article by Adam Federman on the implications of the Old Mountain Road decision on the state Forest Preserve. Federman notes that probably hundreds of old roads crisscross the Preserve. As a result of the Old Mountain Road case, observers are asking whether towns could reopen these roads to snowmobiles and/or other motor vehicles. Any attempt to open these roads is sure to put the state Department of Environmental Conservation in the crossfire between local governments and environmental groups. Remember Crane Pond Road? The dirt lane penetrates nearly >>More
The Adirondack Park Agency could face legal action if, as appears likely, it approves new snowmobile-trail guidelines at its meeting on Friday. The APA’s State Land Committee voted this afternoon (Thursday) to permit the agency’s full board to consider the guidelines at its Friday meeting. Afterward, the executive directors of the Park’s three major environmental groups—the Adirondack Council, the Adirondack Mountain Club (ADK), and Protect the Adirondacks—argued that the proposed guidelines violate the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan. Their objections pertain to the character and maintenance of a new class of trails known as “community connectors,” intended to link >>More
The first time I hiked to Gull Lake in the Black River Wild Forest I was appalled at the damage to the trails caused by the illegal use of all-terrain vehicles. That was more than ten years ago. This past Sunday, I went for a morning run on these same trails and discovered that nothing has changed. The photo above shows just one of numerous mud swales I encountered on my eight-mile jog. Not only do the machines create giant mud puddles, but they also double, triple, or quadruple the width of the trail in places. It’s a shame, because >>More
The Adirondack Park Agency voted 6-4 Friday to classify most of Lows Lake and adjacent lands as Wilderness, despite objections from local politicians. Under the proposal, which requires approval from the governor, Lows Lake west of Frying Pan Island will be designated Wilderness. The rest of the lake, which is much narrower, will be designated Primitive. The two classifications do not differ much in their management guidelines. Both classifications forbid motorized use by the general public. In this case, the Primitive classification reflects a recognition that the eastern part of Lows Lake abuts private lands, access roads, and a large >>More
State Environmental Conservation Commissioner Pete Grannis may have ruled in Jim McCulley’s favor in the Old Mountain Road dispute, but McCulley still wants him off the case. McCulley’s lawyer, Matthew Norfolk of Lake Placid, filed a motion Tuesday asking Grannis to recuse himself for engaging in in “ex-parte” communications about the case with the Adirondack Council and Adirondack Park Agency, both of which are seeking permission to intervene in the legal controversy. They want Grannis to reconsider the decision. This spring, Grannis ruled that the state never legally closed the Old Mountain Road, which runs between Keene and North Elba >>More
Last Sunday, two friends and I paddled from Second Pond on the Saranac River to Oseetah Lake and then walked to the beach at Pine Pond for a swim. Although the weather was iffy throughout the afternoon (we got rained on twice, albeit briefly), the sun came out just as we returned to our canoes on Oseetah. Pine Pond is a beautiful body of water that lies just inside the High Peaks Wilderness, where motorized recreation is forbidden. We were somewhat surprised to find an all-terrain vehicle and a golf cart at the pond. But only somewhat surprised. The High >>More
Group says DEC decision imperils Forest Preserve
A sunny day in spring brings out the ATVs.