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 economic importance of snowmobiling and supports the concept of community connectors, but he raised several objections to the guidelines.
Community connectors are supposed to avoid the interior of the Forest Preserve, but Houseal said the trails will be permitted up to two miles from highways. The council contends community connectors should be located no more than five hundred feet from roads.
Houseal also argues that the Master Plan needs to be amended to define “community connector,” “mechanized groomer,” and other novel terms found in the guidelines.
State Supreme Court Justice Gerald W. Connolly dismissed most of the council’s claims on the ground that they were not “ripe” for litigation. The guidelines will be implemented only through unit management plans (UMPs) for individual tracts of Forest Preserve. The time to sue, the judge reasoned, is when UMPs are adopted.
The judge dismissed one of the council’s claims on procedural grounds.
Click the link below to read the full decision.