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Adirondack Explorer

March, 2013

Coverage of the Shingle Shanty case

After State Supreme Court Justice Richard Aulisi handed down his decision on navigation rights a few weeks ago, several media outlets wrote about the case. As the defendant in the lawsuit, I tracked the news coverage closely. Given the public interest in the case, I thought I’d share the articles that I found. The news about Aulisi’s decision was first reported by the Associated Press and the Adirondack Almanack (which is owned by the Explorer). The AP must have put the story on its national wire, since the first link is to a version that appeared on the Washington Post >>More

February, 2011

AG intervenes in paddling lawsuit

NOTE: THE FOLLOWING NOTICE WAS POSTED BY TOM WOODMAN, OUR PUBLISHER. New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has moved on behalf of the State of New York and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation to intervene in the navigation-rights lawsuit filed against our editor, Phil Brown, by the Friends of Thayer Lake and the Brandreth Park Association. Schneiderman is defending the position of DEC that the waterways in dispute are open to the public for paddling. The state’s motion also discloses its intent to make counterclaims against the plaintiffs, including a claim that they have created a public nuisance by hindering >>More

January, 2011

Editorial on Shingle Shanty

The Times Union ran an editorial this morning on the navigation-rights lawsuit filed against me by the Brandreth Park Association and the Friends of Thayer Lake. “Is it, and should it be, against the law to paddle through what’s posted as private property?” the editorial asks. “Or should centuries-old common law prevail, and with it the notion that waterways are just like highways?” The editorial points out that the state Department of Environmental Conservation agrees with us that the waterways in dispute—Mud Pond, Mud Pond Outlet, and a private stretch of Shingle Shanty Brook—are open to the public under the common-law >>More

January, 2011

Explorer answers paddling lawsuit

The Adirondack Explorer has filed an answer to the lawsuit accusing me of trespass for paddling through private property on my way to Lake Lila in May 2009. Essentially, we argue that the waterways in question—Mud Pond, Mud Pond Outlet, and a stretch of Shingle Shanty Brook—are open to the public under the state’s common law. The common law, inherited from old England, allows the public to travel any inland waterway deemed “navigable in fact.” But what makes a waterway navigable in fact? The complainants—the Friends of Thayer Lake and the Brandreth Park Association—contend that the common law applies only >>More

November, 2010

‘Explorer’ hires lawyer in paddling dispute

The Adirondack Explorer has hired Glens Falls attorney John Caffry to defend me against alawsuit filed by landowners who claim I trespassed when I paddled through their property near Lake Lila last year. The state Department of Environmental Conservation has said the waterways in dispute—Mud Pond, Mud Pond Outlet, and Shingle Shanty Brook—are open to the public under the common-law right of navigation. Caffry represented the Adirondack Mountain Club (ADK) in another navigation-rights case, Adirondack League Club v. Sierra Club et al. That lawsuit resulted in a landmark decision in 1998 by the Court of Appeals, the state’s highest court, >>More

November, 2010

Brandreths sue in dispute over paddling rights

A few days ago, the Brandreth Park Association filed a lawsuit against me, alleging that I trespassed when I canoed through private land last year on my way to Lake Lila. As part of the suit, the association is asking the New York State Supreme Court to declare that the waterways in question—Mud Pond, Mud Pond Outlet, and Shingle Shanty Brook—are not open to the public. I did my two-day trip last May, starting at Little Tupper Lake and ending at Lake Lila, and wrote about it for the Adirondack Explorer. Click here to read that story. I believe the >>More

October, 2010

Revisiting the Beaver River

Our latest story about Shingle Shanty Brook has attracted some attention in the blogosphere and elsewhere. The state Department of Environmental Conservation has determined that the disputed stretch through private land is open to the public under the common law right of navigation. Click here to read the online version. The print version in our November/October issue will have a few more details. There’s a chance the dispute will wind up in court. If DEC prevails, it could be a big win for paddlers. Presumably, a ruling in DEC’s favor would affirm that waterways suitable for recreational paddling are subject >>More

August, 2010

Case against Ausable Chasm paddlers dropped

No charges will be pursued against three kayakers who paddled through Ausable Chasm in June, the Explorer has learned. The Ausable Chasm Company complained that the three trespassed on the company’s land on the first weekend that the river was declared open (against the company’s wishes) to whitewater paddlers. Based on the company’s complaints, state troopers filed “a request for a criminal summons” in the Chesterfield Town Court, according to State Police Captain Brent Gillam. However, Gillam said it was up to the town judge to decide whether to press charges. Today, Gillam said troopers ended up making no arrests >>More

June, 2010

Ausable paddlers in hot water

Whitewater enthusiasts now have the right to paddle through Ausable Chasm, but they better be sure to obey the letter of the law. Ausable Chasm Co. called the state police on Friday—the first day the run was open—to complain that kayakers were trespassing. State Police Captain Brent Gillam said troopers filed criminal summonses against three paddlers, but the decision on whether to bring charges is in the hands of the town court. One of the paddlers said on the Northeast Paddlers Message Board that he and two companions had entered private land after encountering a rope on the river. “We >>More

November, 2009

Shingle Shanty decision a ways off

Don’t expect the state Department of Environmental Conservation to reach a quick decision on the Sierra Club’s request to force landowners to remove a steel cable that stretches across Shingle Shanty Brook. In a recent letter to the club, DEC Regional Director Betsy Lowe says the department plans to provide “a comprehensive response” to the request. “As you can imagine, this will take some time given the careful consideration required by the Department’s technical and legal staff, possible coordination with the State Office of the Attorney General, and the need to balance a variety of demands with limited resources,” she >>More

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