ADK-ON Conservation Committee
Highlights from 5/7/16 meeting
Mary Coffin & Kathy Disque Co Chairs
1. Essex Chain Final approved UMP: There will be a motorless Primitive corridor. Floatplane use is permitted in First and Pine Lakes but there is very little plane traffic. Mountain biking is available in Blue Mountain Wild Forest on 9 miles of old logging roads. The eastern part is classified as Hudson Gorge Wilderness, western part as Wild Forest and the Pine Lakes to the south as primitive. ADK did get approval for non-native materials in Cedar River Bridge; lightweight steel frame, much less imposing than pressure treated lumber and less expensive and smaller footprint. ADK opposed to use of Polaris Bridge over the Hudson based on prior use and building new N-S snowmobile trail in Wild Forest up the middle when there is already a parallel one to the west but lost these battles. ADK can file suit in future and possibly will to prevent this grandfathered use from setting precedent for other areas. A suit is pending from Protect the Adirondacks and ADK Wild.
2. Boreas Pond Classification Options: If these purchases (Boreas Wilderness, Casey Brook Tract, MacIntyre east and west) are added as Wildernesses to the adjacent Dix Wilderness and High Peaks Wilderness then 280,000 acres of contiguous wilderness, largest in the east, will be created. The expanded High Peaks Wilderness Area would be comparable in size to the Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado and would be twice the size of Zion National Park in Utah.
The five towns in the area want the area around and north of the ponds and road to the ponds to be open for motorized use, boats, autos, snowmobiles, float planes and bikes. ADK supports mostly Wilderness except for Gulf Brook Rd. to LaBeir Flow and Wild Forest south of Gulf Brook Rd. Paddlers and hikers will still need to hike/portage to the ponds by foot for 0.7-1 mile, like Lake Lila. A snowmobile trail is supported close to Blue Ridge Road in the Wild Forest. The primitive strip along the road concept is not supported by ASK.
Watch for meetings and hearings throughout the state including Syracuse and Utica. A large turn out of ADKers is expected. Watch for the Action Alert. ADK needs your support.
3. Wilderness Economy and 5/12/16 CLARKSON UNIVERSITY STUDY: Contrary to what local towns think Buyers Pay 25% More for Homes, Businesses & Land Near Adirondack Wilderness Areas. “Clarkson’s study showed that people seeking to purchase homes and businesses in northern New York paid more for the same property inside the Adirondack Park than they would have outside of it. Buyers paid up to 25 percent more if that property was close to a wilderness area. Specifically, we find that properties within 0.5 to 6 miles of wilderness are valued at up to a 25-percent premium. The study analyzed more than 77,000 real estate transactions over a decade in the 12 counties that comprise the Adirondack Park. The Clarkson study also confirms the findings of a recent tourism study of Essex County in the Adirondack Park, which found most visitors spent their time and money on non-motorized recreation. It found that lands where visitors were allowed to drive their vehicles, snowmobiles, or seaplanes didn’t have the significant positive economic impact of Wilderness in terms of impact on local property values.
4. Taxes paid to towns by State: NYS pays real estate to the towns and schools on all State land including the Forest Preserve. Taxes are based on estimated timber value even though no logging is permitted in the FP. There is no difference between Wilderness, Wild Forest, State Forest, WMA, campground etc.
5. SLUMP Land Bank Amendments: Land in the Adir & Cat FPs can be set aside “banked” for future uses by the DOT to widen roads or bridges, remove a curve, add utilities, bike lanes etc. on STATE roads. Since 1950s land has been used by DOT sparingly from the land bank with 140a remaining but only for State roads. TOWNs would like to create a similar land bank (750a proposed) and this requires an amendment to the State Land Master Plan, SLMP. Towns would like to use land from a land bank on TOWN roads for bike lanes, pipelines, public wells, broadband, cable and other utilities but also firehouses, town halls, school expansions, airports, cemeteries, sewage treatment plants. There is greater support for the former utilities uses along the road corridors than the other public works/infrastructure projects. Amendments must be approved by two legislative sessions and they must be separately elected (same group can’t approve amendment twice). And then goes to vote of the people.
6. Taconic Crest Trail: Staff has hiked sections of this trail and its side trails and noted the huge, old hemlocks in danger of wooly adelgid infection and red & white pines slated for logging. ADK is trying to protect this area along the NY MA/VT border.
7. Invasive species and Back Country Monitors: Training sessions will be on June 4th (Pine Bush Discovery Center, Albany) and at Heart Lake on July 30 & 31. The hemlock wooly adelgid is moving north from the Smokies (1% survival) and is infecting trees in the Catskills and Finger Lakes. Hemlocks play an important environmental role in shading streams, keeping them cool to support trout and fish that require lots of oxygen, prevent eutrophication and their roots hold the soil on steep hillsides an stream banks. Scientists are working on a beetle predator of the adelgid.
8. ATV Legislation: Thanks to all who responded to legislators. There is still pressure to open all state lands to ATVs. We dodged a bullet this spring when ADK and other trail supporters sent 5000 responses from 1200 individuals. Letter writing carries more weight than petitions and if you add a few words or sentence to a prepared letter ex. from ADK Action Alerts it also more significant. But just the number of letters or calls for or against an impending legislation sways our legislators. The salsa.com program helped a great deal.
This will occur again this year or we will need your help again.
9. Rail Trail Compromise: Gov Cuomo, yesterday 5/17, approved the proposed compromise regarding the NYS owned Adirondack RR tracks vs. multiuse trail and to remove the tracks from Tupper Lake to Lake Placid, 34mi., and build a multiuse trail and to restore the tracks between Tupper Lake and Bug Moose, 45 mi.
10. Final State Budget and EPF: The final budget included a $300 million Environmental Protection Fund, an increase from $177 million last year. The EPF helps fund Summit Stewards and ADK’s professional Trail Crew. Next purchase to promote will be the Follensby Pond tract, “Philosopher’ Camp”, the largest undeveloped lake in the Park, home of lake trout in its deep waters. It is located east of Tupper Lake, West of the Sewards and just off the Raquette River near Stony Creek.
May 28 – September 18, 2016 Munson Williams Art Studio, Utica, NY presents special exhibit Seneca Ray Stoddard: Capturing the Adirondacks. This exhibition features more than 70 original examples of Stoddard’s photographs. Capturing the Adirondacks illustrates how Stoddard’s alluring images of landscapes, travelers, and explorers captivated viewers and shaped attitudes toward New York’s natural scenery. Visit www.mwpai.org
Winter Outing:Jan. 29-31, 2016. Onondaga Chapter, Host
Come play in the snow with us! Limited space still available. Registration open until 1/19/16. $90/ full weekend or $45 Sat. activities with banquet. Located at the Mad River Club in the Tug Hill area that gets the highest snow fall in the east. Multiple snowshoe & XC ski outings each day, Full package includes floor space for sleeping bag, hearty snack Friday eve, Breakfast & lunch Sat. & Sun. and Sat. banquet dinner. If you prefer more privacy & sleep comforts a list of local lodging is available on the website.
ADK membership is not required for participants. This is a great way to get a taste of ADK activities and meet new friends. See details and registration info on the website ADK.org under Seasonal Outings.
NCT Hike 100 Challenge!
In 2016, the National Park Service is celebrating their centennial anniversary. To commemorate this special year, the North Country Trail Association will be promoting a Hike 100 Centennial challenge. Anyone who hikes 100 miles on the North Country Trail during the calendar year of 2016, in aggregate or all at once, will be eligible for a special patch and certificate.
The Onondaga Chapter ADK will be offering hikes to ADK Members throughout 2016 that will qualify for the Challenge – look for designation ‘NCT 100’ in the Outings Schedule. Please visit the following website for more details and to sign up:
The North Country Trail Association will be offering a “digital toolkit” that people can sign up to download which will include hiking tips and fun ways to log their miles.
The 100 miles do not have to be unique miles. The North Country Trail Association wants to make this accessible to as many people as possible and get people out on the Trail. If someone hikes the same 5 miles over and over to equal 100, that will count!
Enjoy the North Country National Scenic Trail in ONONDAGA COUNTY and Earn the Onondaga patch for hiking all 41 miles of the Onondaga Trail. (FLT Maps O1 – O2)
To qualify for a free patch you must;
- Be a current ADK member.
- Must hike the entire Onondaga Trail, or have hiked it with-in the past 5 years.
To receive a patch email Kathy Disque with a short description of what you liked best about the trail and the approximate dates that you hike the trail. Email Kathy Disque at firstname.lastname@example.org. Questions about the hike series contact Kathy Disque or Lisa Druke at email@example.com
See below for 7 Onondaga Trail Hikes to be Scheduled:
April 19 – Stoney Brook Road to Rt. 13 Fishing Access. 6.4 miles.
May 16 – Rt. 13 Fishing Access to Morgan Hill Rd 5.5 miles.
June 13 – Morgan Hill Rd. to Spruce Pond 5.9 miles.
July 26 – Spruce Pond to Bardeen Rd. 6.1 miles.
Aug. 22 – Bardeen Rd. to Dam Rd. 6.7 miles.
Sept. 26 – Webber Rd. to Holmes Rd – 5.3 miles
Oct 11 – Dam Rd. to Webber Rd. 5.1 miles
See you on the Trail!
ADK-ON Conservation Committee
7/7/14 Mary Coffin
The ADK Conservation Committee met as usual in August by conference call. The next meeting is 11/1/14. Let Kathy Disque or me know if you wish to attend with us.
CURRENT HOT TOPICS:
1.Rail transport of Alberta tar sands oil [bitumen, heavy crude] from Montreal to Albany for processing: ADK is formulating its position on this issue. The hazard is risk of derailment or explosion due to the type of rail tankers used [older DEC111 thin walled tankers] and the proximity of the tracks to Lake Champlain, Mohawk and Hudson Rivers and the lack of a response plan for heavy crude [does not float but sinks in water].
Bakken, a very volatile, highly flammable, explosive, light sweet crude, is presently shipped to an Albany processer, Global, who has been given a permit by the DEC to build seven gas-fired boilers, and to allow the off loading of heavy petroleum products from tank cars by heating the contents of those tank cars. It is hoped that these tank cars will be required to be beefed up [thicker more puncture-resistant shell or jacket, extra protective head shields at both ends of tank car, and additional protection for the top fittings].
2. Aquatic Invasive Species [AIS] legislation: Watercraft are now required to be rinsed off and drained before entering a body of water to prevent transfer of AIS.
That means as responsible paddlers we should rinse off our kayaks and canoes after each trip. 94 lakes and rivers in the Adirondack Park have some of these invasives but the majority are free, so far. Examples include: Asian clam, hydrilla [acquatic weed], quagga mussels and spiny water flea. ADK supports this.
3.ATV permitted weight increase: There are proponents for increase in the permitted weight for ATV use on public lands. These larger 4 wheelers weighing up to 1500 lbs are really little utility trucks used mostly in agriculture. They seat 3 people side by side. ADK opposes this. One of our landowners in Cortland County was killed when his 4 wheeler rolled over on him.
1. Classification of Finch Pruyn/TNC lands AKA Essex Chain: Amendments are being made by DEC regarding the snowmobile/multi use trail up the middle between the two other units [Hudson George Wilderness Area & Essex Chain Primitive Area]. Does a bridge over the Cedar River violate the State Land Master Plan?
2. Rail Trail UMP reopened by DEC for public comment: DEC is now proposing to make the tracks between Tupper Lake and Lake Placid [34 mi] into a muti use bike & snowmobile trail. The tracks between Tupper Lake and Utica [includes Beaver River and Old Forge] would remain in place. One reason is that this southern corridor owned by the NYS DOT passes through sensitive and remote wilderness. Look for public hearings this fall. ADK has not yet taken a position on this other tan to support the second look at the UMP and is concurrence with the SLMP.
3. NYCO-Jay Mt. Wilderness land exchange: A State court has placed a ban on drilling on State land [lot 8] by NYCO to test to see if these is enough wollasonite to make the land trade for mining feasible. This is a result of Protect the Adirondacks and other environmental groups filing suit. It is felt that the SLMP and SEQRA are violated. ADK is not listed in the suit.
4. Fracking- No change. It is election time!!! There is still a ban on high volume hydrofracting in NYS while the NYS Dept. of Health and DEC determine human heath hazards and environmental [ground water etc] hazards. But drilling companies are putting pressure on the Governor to lift the ban. ADK still advocates no drilling on or under State land.
Conservation/environmental focus hike: The Great Swamp Conservancy, Canastota, Nov 22. Wear boots!
Additional information on ADK’s positions is available by pulling down the “ADVOCACY” tab on WWW.ADK.ORG as well as by signing up to receive ADK TODAY on line.
Other good Adirondack environmental sites: www.protectadks.org, www.adirondackexpress.com, www.adirondackalmanack.com,
Earn this patch for hiking all 41 miles of the Onondaga Trail. (FLT Maps O1 – O2)
To qualify for a free patch you must;
1. Be a current ADK member.
2. Must hike the entire Onondaga Trail, or have hiked it with-in the past 5 years.
To receive a patch email or mail Sigi Schwinge a short description of what you liked best about the trail and the approximate dates that you hike the trail. Email firstname.lastname@example.org Sigi Schwinge 212 Tilden Ave. East Syracuse, NY 13057
I am forwarding a letter from an experienced hiker lauding the status of our trails she has hiked. It is great to have the stewards and workers so recognized for their efforts and dedication. You are all very special, so pat yourself on the back with pride.
I’m new to Central New York, but am a long distance hiker, a 2012 AT thru hiker, a Smoky Mountain 900-miler, Cranberry Lake 50 finisher, and aspiring 46er. I wanted to send this note to tell you I recently hiked on the Onondaga Trail/Finger Lakes Trail/North Country Trail this weekend, hiking from NY-13 to Spruce Pond and back. ! This portion of your trail was by and far the best hiking trail I’ve walked on in years and I am truly impressed. A sign of good maintenance is being able to see another blaze from where you’re standing and at any given point I could see as many as four. The brush was trimmed, the trails weren’t eroded, the water bars were proper, and the switchbacks were impressive. ! I don’t know who the volunteer or volunteers are who maintain this section, but I hope you pass this note along to them because I’ve hiked a lot poorly maintained trails in the Northeast and this trail was a pleasant and welcome surprise. Thanks for all the hard work. I can’t wait for my next trip on this amazing trail.Jen “Sprinkles” Kelley ******** William “Jay” O’Hern is all about the Adirondacks. Now, O’Hern has three new books for those who appreciate the mountains, their people and their history. “Adirondack Memories and Campfire Stories” “Adirondack Wilds: Exploring the Haunts of Noah John Rondeau,” and “The Hermit and Us. ! The books are available at local and Adirondack bookstores, North Country Books, Inc. (800-342-7409), and at www.adkwilds.com
Laurel & Craig Chiesa, Robert & Julia Cleghorn, Joseph Condon, Lucas Cullen, Donna & Chris Curtin, Spencer Lovelace, Susan Machamer, Richard & Nancy O’Brien, Michael Ratner, Georgette Schmidt, Sean Sharp, Tyler Sliker, Laura Steinberg, Grahame Ward, Kathryn Gersch, John Macdonald, Helen Macgregor, Hayley Cavino,Martha Nerenhausen, Laura Norris, Tanya Silverstein.
Welcome aboard! We’ll catch you outside.