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Friday, November 13, 2009

Snowmobile guidelines OK’d

The Adirondack Park Agency voted 10-1 Friday to approve snowmobile-trail guidelines despite objections by environmental groups that they violate the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan.

The executive directors of the Adirondack Council, Adirondack Mountain Club, and Protect the Adirondacks say the guidelines would permit trails that fail to meet the master plan’s mandate that snowmobile trails have “essentially the same character as a foot trail.” They also say the guidelines would unlawfully permit the use of grooming machines on the Forest Preserve.

On Thursday, all three said they would consider suing the APA if the guidelines were approved. After Friday’s vote, Brian Houseal of the Adirondack Council said his preference would be to work with the APA to amend the State Land Master Plan after the fact.

Houseal and his two colleagues said they would not object to the guidelines if the master plan were amended.

After the meeting, APA Chairman Curt Stiles said he was not bothered by the prospect of court action.  “I don’t worry about lawsuits,” he said. “If we made a flawed decision, then we should be challenged. Everything the Park Agency decides is potentially subject to a challenge by somebody.”

Commissioner Dick Booth, the lone dissenter, urged the board not to adopt the guidelines without amending the master plan.

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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