Conservation Archive gene

Conservation Report  July - Sept. 2005

Gene Kaczka

It has been a busy period in the area of environmental issues that have an impact on our immediate area as well as those in close proximity.  Since the last report, the DEC has raised a comprehensive set of questions about the Tupper Lake Project. They are seeking clarification from the developer on issues of environmental and fiscal impacts.

In addition, the DEC issued a draft policy on ATV use on public lands and asked for public comments by May 27.  An Action Alert went out to Laurentian Chapter members who had asked to be notified when such issues arise.  It highlighted a series of concerns raised by ADK that ranged from equipment to access constraints in Forest Preserve and easement lands.  The proposed policy has certainly raised the hackles of the ATV community which is pushing for greater freedom and access.

Following closely on the heels of the draft ATV policy, the APA held a series of 5 hearings on the 2005 State Land Classification Proposals.  A total of 73,880 acres are being classified or reclassified.  Maps, tables and narratives describing the actions are available from the Adirondack Park Agency’s website at www.apa.state.ny.us.  While the proposals are spread across the Adirondacks several choice parcels close to home are involved.  These include the Madawaska Flow, Main Branch and East Branches of the St. Regis River, the Deer River, Round Lake, and Bog Lake and Clear Pond. In St. Lawrence County, the lands involved include the Grasse River Railroad, Tooley Pond and South Branch of the Grasse River, Dead Creek, Raquette River Parcels North of Carry Falls Reservoir and the most contentious area, the unclassified Carry Falls and Raquette River parcels which the State acquired from Niagara Mohawk and International Paper, Co.  The last parcel includes environmentally unique boreal forest and also the Jordan River.  A complicating factor is the Lassiter Main Haul Road that would permit ATV and snowmobile use and connect to private lands to the north.  The APA is considering three alternatives, ranging from Wild Forest which would permit motorized use to a Primitive classification which would restrict access.  The third alternative is a compromise that divides the area between Primitive and Wild Forest.

At the APA hearing in Colton on May 24, the motorized interest groups had marshaled their forces from around northern New York to press for the Wild Forest classification.  Among the few environmentally friendly voices, Mark Simon described his previous and recent canoeing experiences in the Jordan River area.  He noted that on a trip a few years ago the area was pristine showing no signs of man.  A more recent trip revealed signs of degradation caused by ATV traffic.  In a recent Action Alert, another Adirondack environmental group advocated protection of these sensitive lands with a Wilderness classification.

I strongly urge chapter members to review the issues and the areas involved at the APA’s website .  If you have any concerns about the environmental impact of ATVs on this area, please make your voice heard.  It is critical that the APA hear from local folks who are not motorized vehicle advocates if a unique parcel in our immediate area is to be preserved.  I personally will advocate for the Primitive classification but I anticipate that the compromise alternative is the more likely outcome.  Given the desire that I have heard from some ATV riders to go off road and play in the wet areas and challenge their vehicles, the compromise solution concerns me, however, it is ultimately preferable to the access granted by the Wild Forest option.  The deadline is June 24, 2005.  Don’t delay.  Write your comments to Richard E. Weber, Adirondack Park Agency, P.O. Box 99, Ray Brook, NY 12977 or fax them to (518) 891-3938.

Raquette River Advisory Board

Because ADK participated in the negotiations with the hydropower company in the late 1990s during its application for a license to operate dams on the Raquette River, an ADK representative was appointed to the Raquette River Advisory Council (RRAC). This council of corporate, government, and user groups meets semi-annually to review compliance with the license and to respond to recreational and environmental issues arising along the river between Carry Falls and the St. Lawrence River. John Omohundro is the current ADK representative.

During its first year of meetings, the RRAC has focused primarily on enhancing recreational opportunities. Money from its budget has been spent to repair and improve trails at Stone Valley and Red Sandstone trails, publish brochures, create interpretive signs, and discourage ATVs. Soon the RRAC will also support a fishing platform in Potsdam Village and signage at its boat launches alerting boaters to prevent the spread of invasive species.

St. Regis River Advisory Board

Chapter member Rob Badger is our representative on the St. Regis River Advisory Board. As part of the relicensing agreement, there is funding available for projects that will enhance use of the river below the impoundment in Parishville. Several  have been suggested:
1) trailwork to make access to Allen’s Falls more safe;

2) a car top boat launch site at the impoundment;

3) a waterfront park and gazebo at the impoundment;

4) stock the river with Rainbow trout; and

5) provide funds to Glenn Clark for his Technology classes at Parishville-Hopkinton Central School. His Wilderness Study students would do trail work and possibly things like construct bridges and create informational signs.

Please contact Rob and let him know which projects you feel should be supported. rbadger@twcny.rr.com 315-265-5986



Latest info on ATV's.

Grass River UMP - INFO on Disabled Access for Lampson Falls