ADK-ON Conservation Committee Annual Summary 2016
Mary Coffin & Kathy Disque Co Chairs
1. Boreas Pond Classification ADK and BeWildNY Proposal: In mid October APA published 4 plans and none of them mirrored exactly the environmental groups plans. Watch for meetings and hearings throughout the state. None are in CNY but ADK is considering running busses to either Albany or Rochester. A large turn out of ADKers is expected. Watch for the Action Alert. ADK needs your support. Wednesday, December 7, 2 p.m. DEC headquarters, 625 Broadway, Albany.
ADK and BeWildNY still support 2/3rds Wilderness except for 5.7 miles of Gulf Brook Rd. to LaBeir Flow open to motor vehicles and Wild Forest south of Gulf Brook Rd. Paddlers and hikers will still need to hike/portage to the ponds by foot for aprox. 1 mile. A snowmobile trail is supported close to Blue Ridge Road in the Wild Forest to the south of Gulf Br. Rd. But no motorized access is suggested for the ponds themselves.
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.
2.The New York State Constitution is up for possible revision in 2017 (every 20 yr.). The last revision was in 1997. The Conservation Committee will be considering the ramifications on the present Article 14 protections of the Catskill and Adirondack and all other Forest Preserves. If a Constitutional Convention is convened 100% of it is up for possible revision.
3. ATV Use on Public Roads and Public (State) Lands: The NYS Assembly defeated the ATV budget bill passed by the Senate. BUT a similar bill will probably be included in 2017. Strong ADK support will be needed again to protect the Adirondack and Catskill Forest Preserve, State Forests throughout the state and other state lands through which our trails (FLT, NCNST etc.) pass. Only a repeat of the 1000’s of responses will again defeat ATV bills. In 2016 ATV bills supported youth aged 12 and adults to ride ATVs on state lands and state roads at speeds up to 55mph.
4. Over Crowded, Impacted High Peaks: Weekends and holidays this years have attracted 1000’s to the high peaks, especially trailheads from Heart Lake and Route 73.
The impact on safety, sanitation and overuse has taken a toll on our mountain trails. DEC Rangers are stopping and turning around cars at South Meadow Rd. after the lot is full and ticketing any illegally parked cars between South Meadow Rd. and the Loj. DEC has prepared a list of hikes outside the High Peaks:
5. State Land Master Plan (SLMP) Amendments: APA has voted to allow use of some non-natural materials in the Wild Forest areas such as steel cables for bridges as long as the decking is wood, fiberglass outdoor privy units etc.
6. Rail Trail Compromise: DEC, APA and Governor approved a plan for NYS owned Adirondack RR tracks. Tracks will be removed from Tupper Lake to Lake Placid (34mi.) to build a multiuse trail. Stakeholders are meeting over the fall and winter to consider trail designs to accommodate snowmobiles, bikes and pedestrians. Part of the funding will come from scrap of the scrap metal from the rails. Tracks between Tupper Lake and Big Moose (45 mi.) as well as all the way to Utica will be restored for tourist trains.
7. Conservation Committee trip to The Great Swamp Conservancy brought out 22 participants on a beautiful fall day. We focused on restoration efforts to reclaim the wetland ecosystem after it was drained a century and a half ago for agriculture.
8. Other issues discussed this year include: Essex Chain UMP implementation, NYS budget, EPF and legislation updates, invasive species monitoring both terrestrial and aquatic, potential ATV use of State lands, support for funding for the Federal Land and Water Conservation Fund [LWCF], SLUMP Land Bank Amendments.