Reader Interactions


  1. Paul says

    ” “Places like that that haven’t been open to the public are generally pretty pristine.”” Can’t argue with that. No longer the case for this stretch of waterway. Too bad. It seems like here the law facilitates the environmental degradation of the place. But progress is progress. Surprised that so many normally “green” groups supported this??

  2. Jon says

    Paul, I don’t know what you mean by green in quotation marks. Your observation is too broad. Yes, there are environmentalists who advocate zero access in certain habitats, but I’ve never met one in person. There is nothing fundamentally non-green about endorsing responsible, light use of wild spaces. I think giving paddlers the right to quietly pass through the Shingle Shanty Brook on water (but not make shore) clearly qualifies as responsible light use. Green or not-green, the only people I’ve ever known who advocate zero access are private land owners. Maybe you’re in that group.

    • Paul says

      Jon, My point is that some of these groups have as a goal increasing recreational access for particular user groups. That may lead to “light use” as you call it. Or it may lead to resources degradation like we see in many Wilderness areas where there is over use. Also, since these are private waterways there will be no public enforcement. That is why you can see from the Brandeth’s original complaint that this waterway has already experienced people getting out of their boats and walking around on the banks and shorelines unnecessarily. And yes I am a private landowner. And you may use (even on foot) my property in the “light” manner you describe. But it it goes beyond that I will have to Post it to protect it. This isn’t currently an option for these owners trying to protect this resource.

  3. Captain Junebug says

    Phil Brown is a rable rousing elitist that ignores property owners rights and ramrods his agenda with the backing of rich, environmental wackos that are determined to drive everyone out of the Adirondacks that doesn’t lockstep with their goal of using the land and the woods as they see fit.
    They want it all for themselves no matter who’s rights they trample to pursue their extreme agendas!
    Disgusting SOCIALISTS!!!!!!!!!!

  4. Sue says

    Captain J,
    I am not an environmental socialistic lockstep wacko.Please, not Lockstep. I can think for myself. And politics has nothing to do with this. You make a point that public enforcement is limited on private property. Private waterways? The banks should be treated with respect and and let’s hope that’ll be the case.

  5. Little Buckaroo says

    Environmentalists/conservationists almost always favor responsible public access to wild places that have the capability of withstanding a modicum of use. After all, without some use,however light, Wilderness has little meaning as a designation. (I am not talking about ecologically sensitive preserves that can’t tolerate any use and where it may be necessary to preclude all human activity or presence, but there are relatively few such placces.)

    This makes a good story, Aaron, but you left out the crucial role of the Sierra Club and DEC. Phil never would have been sued by Brandreth except for the pressure created on them by Sierra and DEC, both involved in this issue both before and after his May, 2009 trip down Shingle Shanty Brook and his story about the trip in July 2009 Explorer.

    Starting in 1988 DEC recognized and publicly supported the common law public right of navigation and it asked the AG to intervene on the side of Sierra when the League Club sued the Sierra Club for trespass in the South Branch Moose case. ADK also intervened on the “good” side

    In 1998 the Court of Appeals issued a decision that was favorable for recreational use of navigable-in-fact waterways while sending the issue of navigability of the Moose back to the lower court for a trial on the facts.In 2000 the parties signed an agreement to allow public use under conditions, thus avoiding the lower court trial.

    By 2005, Morrison and Humbach, involved along with Jamieson in the 1980s, got re-involved, by publishing a Q and A paper and getting Grannis, in 1986, to reintroduce the 1989 DEC-Humbach-Hoyt bill of which he had been an original sponsor. Phil had advice in the early spring from these principals and others that Shingle Shanty was navigable. DEC had it on its draft inventory list of navigable waterways, prepared in 1990. Brandreth had been blocking it for several decades and increasingly laid claim in its deeds to “surface water recreational rights” aka public navigation rights.

    In August 2009, Sierra sent a a major letter of complaint to DEC about Brandreth’s illegal blockage, asking DEC to investigate. The complaint fell into the receptive hands of Amato and Hamm who met with Brandreth in December 2009 and investigated and subsequently negotiated for a three-year trial public access period. In August 2010 the Brandreth Association turned that down whereupon DEC wrote to Brandreth in more threatening terms telling them that the illegal blockage would not be tolerated.

    Brandreth felt backed into a corner and sued Phil on November 15, 2010. DEC, within a few days at most, asked the AG to intervene. That request got caught in the Cuomo-Schneiderman transition but finally, in February 2011, at a Sierra Club breakfast in NYC, after some frantic effort by Sierra to make it happen, Schneiderman, at a Sierra Club breakfast in NYC in February 2011, announced that he would intervene.

    The rest is history, except to say that Phil is lucky to have a lawyer as well versed as Caffry is in the law of public navigation rights, as John’s experience with it goes back at least to the Moose case in which he represented ADK. He also went down Shingle Shanty.

    Brandreth hasn’t got the slightest chance of winning its appeal and overturning Judge Aulisi’s decision.If you read it you will know what I mean. I predict that Brandreth will lose on appeal by a resounding 5 to 0 definitive decision.That will really drive it home to those recalcitrants who still see a glimmer of hope in the 1998 Moose decision that would allow them to exclude the public on navigable waterways.

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