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Adirondack Explorer

Friday, February 4, 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 part of the Jackrabbit Ski Trail, runs through a Wilderness Area where motorized use is prohibited. McCulley, however, argued that the road was never legally abandoned.

Grannis agreed with McCulley, but Randall asserts that the former commissioner overlooked factual evidence and legal precedent. Among other things, Grannis noted that the route has continued to be used by hikers and skiers. Randall, however, contends that such recreational use is irrelevant in determining the legal status of a road.

Randall was granted permission in January to file a motion for clarification of the ruling.

Click the link below to read Randall’s brief.

DEC brief PDF

Phil Brown

Contributor Phil Brown was editor of the Adirondack Explorer from 1999-2018. When he isn't at his desk, he's usually out hiking, paddling, skiing, or doing something else important.

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One Response

  1. Paul says:

    Very interesting. Wasn’t one of the tickets that was issued for driving a truck on the road? That seems to make it something other than “recreational use” under the highway law. Also, if DEC “gates” block traffic on other roads that seems to be something that could also be challenged under this law.

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