Press Releases

Adirondack Council Opposes Adoption of Flawed High Peaks Plan

Advises Adirondack Park Agency that DEC’s Plan Needs Significant Changes

RAY BROOK, N.Y. – The Adirondack Park’s largest environmental organization today called on the Adirondack Park Agency (APA) to reject a new plan for management of the High Peaks Wilderness Area and adjoining state lands as proposed by the NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation (DEC), because the plan fails to preserve the state’s ecological safeguards for management of the “forever wild” Forest Preserve or provide for safe, sustainable recreational use. Click HERE to read comment letter to the APA.

“The current plan contains flaws that make it wrong for the Adirondack Park Agency to certify that it complies with state law,” said Adirondack Council Executive Director William C. Janeway.  “These flaws will have significant and long term impacts on the health and wildness of the High Peaks Wilderness Area, the Vanderwhacker Mountain Wild Forest, and our communities. These are among the most sensitive and highly visited Forest Preserve units in the Park. We must address overuse, provide for access, and take great care in protecting them, now and for future generations.

“It’s more important to do this right than it is to do this fast,” Janeway said. “We call on the APA to send the plan back to the DEC for revision. In addition, we urge the state to take actions authorized under the existing, approved management plan to address the impact of overuse on trails and natural resources, fix parking problems, and preserve the wild character of the Park.”

Before the DEC can enact a new plan for managing specific sections of the Adirondack Forest Preserve, the APA must certify that the plan meets the basic rules of the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan (SLMP). 

The Council sent the APA a letter on July 10 noting that deficiencies included:

  • The lack of any analysis of the addition of 12.4 miles of new Forest Preserve public, motorized recreation roads when the plain language of the Master Plan prohibits any material increase in such roads;
  • The APA and the DEC propose to consider the Master Plan’s cap on Forest Preserve road miles after approval of the plan, not before;
  • The SLMP clearly states that the carrying capacity for water bodies in the Forest Preserve must be evaluated, particularly for high value riparian areas such as the Boreas Ponds, but it was not;
  • The DEC’s “claim that it is trying to meet these SLMP requirements -- as suggested on page 29 of response to public comment as “endeavoring to address the question of carrying capacity in Boreas Ponds -- does not make the Unit Management Plan (UMP) amendments Master Plan compliant;”
  • The DEC’s declaration that approval of these plans would have no potential for a significant negative environmental impact is wrong;
  • The DEC made a material change to the document by adding an entire section on rock/ice climbing without seeking further public input; and,
  • The APA’s decision to deny the public an opportunity to comment on the final state UMP amendments before the Agency determines if the plans are compliant with the State Land Master Plan.

The Adirondack Council letter also noted that there is much to cheer in the proposed management plan amendments, but not enough to warrant their approval without significant corrections and improvements.  The Adirondack Park Agency is slated to vote on the unit management plans at its monthly meeting on Thursday and Friday, July 12 and 13.

Founded in 1975, the Adirondack Council is a privately funded not-for-profit organization whose mission is to ensure the ecological integrity and wild character of the Adirondack Park. The Council envisions a Park with clean water and clean air, comprised of core wilderness areas, surrounded by farms and working forests, as well as vibrant communities.

The Adirondack Council carries out its mission through research, education, advocacy and legal action to ensure the legacy of the Adirondack Park is safeguarded for future generations. Adirondack Council members live in all 50 United States.

For more information:
John Sheehan
518-441-1340 cell
518-432-1770 office

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, July 10, 2018

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