The executive director of the Adirondack Park Local Government Review Board has written Gov. David Paterson to urge him to reject a proposal to classify part of Lows Lake as Wilderness.
At its September meeting, the Adirondack Park Agency voted 6-4 to classify the western part of Lows Lake as Wilderness and the eastern part as Primitive. Adjacent lands also were placed in one or the other of the two categories. To take effect, the proposal must be approved by the governor.
Fred Monroe, director of the Local Government Review Board, argues in a letter to Paterson that the proposal sets several “bad precedents.” He notes that it would be the first time the APA classified as Wilderness a water body with private shoreline.
“If the APA is allowed to classify waters as Wilderness, they will be authorized to vastly expand their jurisdiction over private lands without legislative action,” he says in the letter, dated Sept. 22.
Monroe also argues that Chris Walsh, the state Commerce Department’s designee on the APA board, should not have been allowed to vote, because Walsh had already left the department to work in the governor’s office. Without Walsh’s vote, the proposal would have been defeated, Monroe says, because it needed six votes to pass.
In an e-mail to the Explorer, the APA says the issues raised by Monroe were discussed at the September meeting before the vote. The agency contends that Lows Lake is unusual in that the state owns the lakebed and so that the vote does not represent a precedent for other lakes. The agency also says Walsh continued to be the formal designee from the Commerce Department at the meeting.
Click the links below to read Monroe’s letter and the APA response.