Vice-Chair, Conservation: Gene Kaczka
Stone Valley Trail work day alert: Mark Simon has scheduled a trail work weekend to install the informational signs posts in May. He’ll need all the help we can muster, so let’s show up in force to lend a hand.
Natural History Museum in Tupper Lake: I was very impressed by a sneak preview of this project with members of the Hurricane Mountain Chapter a few weeks ago. Rumor has it that the governor’s budget proposes big bucks for completing the project (scheduled for a July 4th opening). The museum promises to provide a great overview of the Adirondack Park’s natural resources.
Big Tupper Resort proposal: Debate continues as the impact of the mini-estates on open space, wildlife and the lumbering industry is unclear. The potential for setting new precedent for Adirondack development concerns all environmental groups. Tupper Lake residents are now beginning to worry about their tax rates rising to support local water and sewer infrastructure for the development.
The next two items are excerpted from ADK’s Conservation Committee meeting in January 2006.
ATVs and Snowmobiles in the Forest Preserve: Club Executive Director, Neil Woodworth, reported that ATV legislation is certain to arise in 2006. Last year, lawmakers increased ATV registration fees and made mandatory the registration of the devices at the dealerships. But no benefits went to the ATV community. In the formulation of needed comprehensive legislation, ADK is asking for bigger license plates, impoundment authority on the ATVs caught at least twice trespassing on state or private lands, and provision that no ATV money is to be spent to build trails in NYS parklands. A legal question remains as to whether ATV trails can be built on NYS easement lands. DEC’s draft ATV policy awaits legislative action. In the late 1960s, as the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan was being devised, the compromise reached between those who wanted snowmobiles throughout the Forest Preserve and those that wanted them banned entirely, allowed them on the hiking trails in Wild Forest areas only. The reasoning used was that since they were small enough to safely travel on hiking trails eight feet wide, and over a snow surface that protects the trail tread from erosion, no harm would accrue to the resource. BUT, today they are much larger and faster, requiring groomed trail widths 12-18 feet wide, straighter and smoother than previously. DEC and APA are now determining if heavy Sno-Cat tracked groomers can be used in the Forest Preserve, and if re-configured trails may be built, essentially converting them from foot-trails to roads.
Potential Action Alert: To provide the Tupper-Saranac-Placid area with reliable electric supply, a new 150 KV line is needed to connect the region with power plants in the St. Lawrence Valley. Of two possible alternatives, the more reasonable route into the Adirondack Park is south from the Stark Reservoir parallel to NY 56 to Sevey’s Corner (NY 3), thence east to Tupper Lake. This route, though mostly on private land on the west side of NY 56, would cross a wedge of Forest Preserve (Wild Forest) land. A dogleg to the west would be needed to avoid this state land. Neil Woodworth pointed out that such a detour could preclude addition of new lands west of Rt. 56 from being later added to the Forest Preserve, because it would require new roads and other infrastructure into lands otherwise devoid of such. ADK’s conservation staff recommends that ADK support a constitutional amendment to allow passage of this power line parallel to NY 56 through the wedge of Forest Preserve.