FacebookTwitterInstagram Youtube
Adirondack Explorer

Categories:
Friday, May 7, 2010

DEC sticks by tower decision

The Hurricane Mountain fire tower. Photo by Phil Brown.

The Hurricane Mountain fire tower. Photo by Phil Brown.

The state Department of Environmental Conservation is standing by its decision that the fire tower on Hurricane Mountain should be torn down to comply with the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan.

DEC’s recommendation apparently is at odds with the wishes of the Adirondack Park Agency board, whose members indicated last month that they’d like the tower to stay. The APA commissioners directed the agency’s staff to explore the legal and fiscal ramifications of keeping the fire towers on both Hurricane and St. Regis mountains.

The APA will discuss the towers again at next Thursday’s meeting. In keeping with the board’s request, the staff is seeking authorization to reclassify land or amend the State Land Master Plan to allow the structures to remain.

The towers are located in the Hurricane Mountain Primitive Area and the St. Regis Canoe Area. Both tracts are managed essentially as Wilderness, where fire towers are not allowed.

In its proposed final management plan for the Hurricane tract, posted on the APA website today, DEC proposes removing the Hurricane tower and reclassifying the land as Wilderness.

DEC acknowledges that most people who have voiced an opinion have supported keeping the tower, but the department insists that would violate the State Land Master Plan.

Late Friday afternoon, DEC spokeswoman Lori Severino said she didn’t know if the department has finalized its stance on the St. Regis tower. However, the department initially made a similar argument against that tower as well.

One alternative proposed by the APA is to reclassify the land under both towers as Historic. Under another alternative, the State Land Master Plan would be amended to permit towers in Primitive and/or Canoe Areas.

You can read the Hurricane  management plan and the APA alternatives on the APA’s website.

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.

One Response

  1. Paul says:

    “DEC acknowledges that most people who have voiced an opinion have supported keeping the tower, but the department insists that would violate the State Land Master Plan.”

    Why bother with having the public comments and whipping up all this brew-ha-ha? Just tear the towers down and get it over with. Since they are not listening (or can’t respond even if they were) it is just wasting time and money, and making folks even more upset when they do it.

    Many folks are already angry with the DEC and the APA this will just get them livid. Some time it takes something symbolic like this to get people motivated. The APA meeting was good, I watched a bit online. You could clearly see how the folks in the audience felt when the guy from some environmental group got up and made this strange plea to tear down these, what some consider historic, structures. He was clearly the odd man out. When David Gibson wrote his letter to the ADE in support of the plan, the talk around Saranac Lake about that was not good PR for his group. These towers are doing a lot to solidify opposition to some state policies that have to date gone pretty much ignored by many people.

    The APA is looking for an out, probably since they can’t take much more heat. They have been on the hot seat for a while now and if some more cases don’t turn their way momentum will continue to build against them. They don’t want these “towers” on their head.

    All this is against a back-drop of a looming fiscal catastrophe.

Leave a Reply