Cell tower, timber harvests and more also up for public comment
By Gwendolyn Craig
Debar Lodge, a 1940 Adirondack camp on the State and National Register of Historic Places, could be removed as part of proposed management changes to the more than 88,000-acre Debar Wild Forest Area in Franklin County.
The Adirondack Park Agency and the state Department of Environmental Conservation are both collecting public comments on a number of changes, including the camp’s removal, through Nov. 12.
The DEC is also looking to have the APA weaken land protections on 41 acres next to Debar Pond from wild forest to intensive use. This would allow the DEC to develop a “day use” area where the Debar Lodge currently exists. “DEC will incorporate elements of the lodge complex into the design of the day use facility where possible,” according to an APA release.
The DEC also proposes adding picnic tables, grills, a fireplace, parking, restrooms and two pavilions to the site. The agency also proposes a foot access trail to Debar Pond, more trail connections and interpretive materials for the public.
In addition to connecting trails, the DEC plans to improve access and address deficient parking and provide better access to water bodies. It also suggests closing the current primitive tent sites and constructing new ones. The old sites, according to a news release, are not in compliance with the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan.
In addition to needing the APA’s approval to reclassify the 41 acres, the DEC will need the APA to make changes to the Adirondack State Land Master Plan’s area descriptions, according to a release.
A draft scoping document under the state Environmental Quality Review Act suggests the proposal to remove the lodge will have “an adverse impact to the site on the State and National Register of Historic Places.” The two-story lodge was designed by Saranac Lake architect William Distin. Barns and sheds nearby may also be removed.
The document offers that DEC and APA are working with the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation to inventory the buildings that would be removed and develop a plan to document them.
“The removal of Debar Lodge will also cause adverse impacts to the community character of the area, as the building has been a fixture in the local community for many decades,” the draft scoping document continues. “These impacts will be mitigated, in part, through … the installation of interpretive elements throughout the site. Additionally, DEC proposes to construct day-use facilities that utilize a similar design aesthetic as the current lodge, thereby minimizing the visual impact (loss of community character) caused by the lodge’s removal.”
The land reclassification in the draft scoping document, is considered a benefit, because it would allow for more public use of the area. DEC staff have determined that fish and wildlife will not be significantly impacted.
The document suggests alternatives to the proposal, like keeping the Debar Lodge as a state storage building or forest ranger station.
Comments on the proposal may be submitted to: NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, Steven Guglielmi, Forester, PO Box 296, 1115 NYS Route 86, Ray Brook, NY 12977-0296 or emailed to [email protected]
Several other projects are up for public comment to the APA this month.
Two applications involve timber companies seeking to harvest on lands certified to the Forest Stewardship Council and the Sustainable Forestry Initiative.
Lyme Timber Company is seeking an application to harvest about 430 acres within the Colton-Piercefield Tract, according to an APA notice. The site is under a working forest conservation easement.
“The goal is to remove the degraded overstory and promote the growth of the healthy understory,” the notice reads.
Comments should be submitted by Thursday, Nov. 5 to Aaron Ziemann, Adirondack Park Agency, P.O. Box 99, Ray Brook, NY 12977 or via phone at (518)891-4050.
F&W Forestry Services, also under a working forest conservation easement, is seeking to harvest on 208 acres owned by Upper Hudson Woodlands, ATP, LP.
“The silvicultural prescription is for a seed tree harvest to capture value of a declining overstory, reduce the American beech component, and encourage regeneration of a more desirable and diversified species mix in the new stand,” according to the project description.
Comments will be accepted through Thursday, Nov. 19, also to Ziemann.
A Washington County business has an application for an impound lot on rural use land in Lake George.
TowAway, a business based out of Hudson Falls, is looking “to store a maximum of 12 impounded vehicles on the property for up to three days at a time, utilizing infrastructure including access, parking areas, fencing and an office space. The use will be year-found on an as-needed basis and one new sign wil be installed at the entrance to the impound lot,” according to the project description.
Comments on the project will be accepted through Thursday, Nov. 26. They should be directed to Devan Korn, Adirondack Park Agency, P.O. Box 99, Ray Brook, NY 12977 or call (518)891-4050.
An 80-foot cell tower could be coming to Chesterfield.
A group doing business for Verizon Wireless is seeking a permit to build the tower, an equipment platform and emergency generator. The proposed site is on Green Road in a rural use area. There is an existing gravel access road, according to the project description, and it is also located within ¼ mile of the main branch of the AuSable River.
Comments will be accepted through Thursday, Nov. 26 to Virginia Yamrick, Adirondack Park Agency, P.O. Box 99, Ray Brook, NY 12977 or call (518)891-4050.
Also on the APA’s docket for public comments is a four-lot subdivision project in Essex County.
Thomas and Robert Scheefer are seeking to subdivide around 50 acres of classified low-intensity use, which include wetlands. Three of the lots, according to the project description, would have one new single-family dwelling and individual water and wastewater systems.
The project is on McKenzie Pond Road in North Elba.
Comments will be accepted through Thursday, Nov. 19 to Matt Brown, Adirondack Park Agency, P.O. Box 99, Ray Brook, NY 12977 or call (518)891-4050.