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
John lee says
This is something that would benefit upstate New York in the Adirondacks. They make so many other sacrifices for hiking trails and cutting along side highways.
This is a beautiful thing for Family ♥️’s businesses and everybody to get out and enjoy the Adirondacks in the middle of winter, with little or no impact to the environment: there is so much more damage that is being done to the Adirondack environment I think there’s more important things to look at.
Chris Salvatto says
Let me start by saying I am a self proclaimed environmentalist and love the forest and trees. I heat my house with wood that I sustainably harvest from my own property, and understand that a certain amount of tree cutting is necessary to promote a healthy woodland. That being said, I understand that forever wild means that the forest must grow without human intervention. but I believe that this project can be completed without substantial cutting of timber, or major ecological impact. Having the right people committed to building this trail would ensure this. I have been building trails my whole life, and know that it is possible to read the land and find the “natural trails” that already exist. One simply needs to read the landscape and determine the best route to use with minimal impact to the trees and surrounding environment. This connector trail would revitalize the Schroon lake north Hudson areas, giving them more to offer in the off season. My family has had a house in Schroon lake for over 50 years, but we only use it in the summer even though we are avid snowmobilers. This is mainly because of the lack of connector trails, and instead we take our machines out of state and use the Vermont trail system. This equates to thousands of dollars a year per family that could be pumped into the local economy, but rather is being spent out of state. The success of this project would truly benefit the community as a whole and open up a lot of new possibilities for the region. I fully support this connector trail, and hope that the courts make the right decision for the people. That being said if the project goes through, it is of the utmost importance that the trail builders build it with minimal environmental impact and with the right people overseeing the project.
I agree, but calling these Class 2 Connector Trails a “trail” is very misleading. A better term would be a corridor or primitive road and are routed as such. The type of construction you describe would be more of a traditional trail where there is more leeway to avoid obstacles, wetlands, and severe grades – basically a Class 1 trail. Class 2 trails are by design significantly wider and straighter for added safety at higher speeds. This requires removing significantly more trees as well as cuts into hillsides to keep the trail level, bridges, and some filling of marshy areas. That being said, I believe this administration will eventually get its way and complete the “trail”.