Conservation Archive

Conservation Report

January, 2014

Vice-Chair, Conservation: John Omohundro, 315-265-8365

Since early summer I’ve been attending monthly meetings of the Stone Valley Cooperative Recreational Area partners, made up of property owners and interested caretakers and users of the area. Formed in 1989, SVCRA has mostly been an informal understanding, but the passage of time and proliferation of users require that we be more explicit now. Brookfield Renewable Energy and St. Lawrence County are the two main property owners. ADK and now the mountain biking group (SLMBA) are identified as building and managing trails. The towns are more actively involved, and American Whitewater, and Raquette River Blueway Corridor, while NYDEC is less active. We’ve almost finished drafting the first written understanding of what SVCRA is, how it came to be, what we want it to be, how we’ll manage it, and who is involved. In January 2014 we’ll publish our agreement for public comment, then sign it and post it on the ADK Laurentian website. The plan is to revise it about every 5 years, but we agree to confer anytime we encounter an issue. Issues to date have been motorized access (still not allowed), crowd and paddler management during whitewater releases, invasive species, trail-building standards, and signage consistency. Developments planned for the area in the near future include bike trails and whitewater welcome facilities.

In other news, the county’s new multi-use trail system, using predominately roads, is designed to cross the county and also connect a number of hamlets to its travelers. The “multi” invites horse, bike, and foot traffic, but will serve mostly motorized recreational vehicles such as ATVs. Your chapter has been a member of the planning committee and until recently, the implementation committee. However, enthusiasm among the motorized users has led to a push to expand the trail by extending the hours of operation until midnight, opening ever more roads, and opening the trail through the winter and mud season. This led to ADK resigning from the committee. Your chapter has not taken a formal position on this, but some of us individuals will be writing to our legislators expressing concern about these recent trends. If you would like to see the letter we compose, contact me.