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Adirondack Explorer

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

McCulley case drags on

An attorney in the state Department of Environmental Conservation’s Watertown office has asked DEC’s commissioner to clarify his decision to dismiss a complaint against Jim McCulley, who was ticketed for driving a truck on the Old Mountain Road in the Sentinel Range Wilderness.

McCulley contends that the Old Mountain Road, now part of the Jackrabbit Ski Trail, remains a town road and therefore DEC has no right to exclude from it snowmobiles or other motor vehicles.

In May, Commissioner Pete Grannis ruled that DEC’s lawyers had indeed failed to prove that the road had been legally abandoned by the towns of Keene and North Elba. The ruling has created doubt about the future of the Old Mountain Road and other old roads in the Forest Preserve.

In a motion dated June 5, DEC attorney Randall Young asserts that “specific aspects of the decision should be clarified to ensure proper care, custody, and control of the lands under the administration of the Department.”

Young says the department’s staff believes the decision “misapprehended or misapplied the applicable law.” He argues that improving the road for motor vehicles would violate the forever-wild clause of the state constitution, the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan, and Environmental Conservation Law.

The attorney is asking only for clarification. He is not asking Grannis to reverse the decision.

“DEC is appealing to itself,” McCulley said after receiving the motion papers. “It’s so dumb it’s scary.”

I found out about this too late in the day to contact DEC for comment. I’m attaching the motion documents below. Be forewarned that some pages are missing. I hope to get a complete set soon.


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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