The New York Department of Environmental Conservation and the Adirondack Park Agency on Friday announced they have filed an appeal of a ruling blocking tree cutting for construction of “community-connector” snowmobile trails in the Adirondacks.
The Appellate Division of State Supreme Court ruled last month that the state’s trail construction cut too many trees to fit with constitutional protections mandating that the Adirondack Forest Preserve will remain “forever wild.” The ruling hinged on an interpretation of the word “timber.” A lawsuit brought by Protect the Adirondacks successfully argued that timber protections must apply to small trees and not just those that could yield marketable logs.
DEC officials on Friday released a written statement challenging the court’s interpretation.
“On Wednesday, DEC and APA, represented by the Office of the Attorney General, filed an appeal of the recent Third Department decision on tree-cutting,” according to the statement. “The State strongly disagrees with the decision, and will vigorously defend its management of the Adirondack and Catskill Forest Preserves.”
Local officials and proponents of other trail projects to benefit cyclists and skiers have fretted that the court’s ruling could block more initiatives, though Protect argues the precedent does not forbid all cutting, but rather cutting that is “substantial or material.”
— Brandon Loomis