In the News  Archive

APA may amend Park's master plan

Adirondack Daily Enterprise
October 14, 2014

By CHRIS KNIGHT - Senior Staff Writer

RAY BROOK - The state Adirondack Park Agency has launched a process to amend the plan that guides the use of state land in the Park.

The agency is considering changes to the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan that would allow for the use of mountain bikes and construction of a bridge in the newly classified Essex Chain Lakes Management Complex in the central Adirondacks. Other possible amendments could be considered, too. The SLMP hasn't been amended since 1987.

"We will begin some listening sessions to look into the State Land Master Plan amendments, specific to Essex Chain to start with, per the classification from December 2013," agency Chairwoman Lani Ulrich announced at Thursday's APA board meeting. "Our commitment was to examine the use of all-terrain bicycles in the unit, and the use of non-natural materials for construction of a bridge over the Cedar River. Both of those commitments will require amendments to the State Land Master Plan."

The state Adirondack Park Agency may amend its master plan for state land in the Park to allow for construction of a bridge over the Cedar River, seen here at its confluence with the Hudson River, at right, in the central Adirondacks. (Photo — Carl Heilman II, Adirondack Chapter of The Nature Conservancy)

Four listening sessions are planned around the region in the upcoming weeks: in Ray Brook, Warrensburg, Old Forge and Albany. The dates and times have yet to be set.

"We know there may be other topics of interest, of other possible changes, that may be presented during this process," Ulrich said. "We will review and discuss all that input as part of a public process we'll be rolling out in the upcoming year."
Environmentalists, local government officials and other Park residents have called for revisions to the SLMP for years.

"There is intense interest in policy revisions for the SLMP," Protect the Adirondacks Executive Director Peter Bauer said in a press release. "There have been no policy changes to the SLMP for more than 25 years, and many are clamoring for major changes."

Bauer noted that the APA has classified new state Forest Preserve lands six times since 2000, all without policy changes to the plan.

The Adirondack Council, the Park's largest environmental group, also issued a statement following Thursday's announcement. Executive Director William Janeway said he looks forward to the process, but he said he doesn't expect any amendments beyond those proposed in the Essex Chain.

"We appreciate that the Adirondack Park Agency has announced a commitment and schedule for protecting as wilderness and motor free the Hudson Gorge and Essex Chain of Lakes as an integral component of a plan that provides for access and important local community and sportsmen and women priorities," Janeway said in a press release. "We do not understand this effort to include changes that would affect other areas of the Forest Preserve."

When the listening sessions are completed, the APA said it will discuss topics for further consideration with the state Department of Environmental Conservation and engage stakeholders to identify amendment recommendations.

Following public and stakeholder involvement, the APA said it will undertake the State Environmental Quality Review Act process on the Essex Chain Lakes Complex proposals. The agency said it will also develop a timeline to consider any other additional recommendations identified to amend the SLMP.

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