ADK Conservation Committee Meeting – Synopsis Sat., 5/6/17

­ Boreas Ponds Update APA is still reviewing comments and there is no final decision. Decision may be delayed until August. DEC is considering creating a 5 acre unclassified area about ½ mile past four corners with the intent is to classify it as Intensive Use for a hut to hut system. The 1934 AG opinion is that dinning and lodging facilities would not be legal within the forest preserve. Article 14 does not support lodging and dining facilities on Forest Preserve.

NCNST Update The trail will cross the central Adirondacks. It does not cross the High Peaks. The proposed route uses 81 miles of existing trails. The routes need to be added to the Unit Management Plans across the Adirondacks. The Hammond Pond Wild Forest is the only Forest Preserve Unit where the NCST has been designated in the UMP to date, but other UMPs are in line to be amended.

Otter Lake Truck Trail The Otter Lake Truck Trail is located in the Ha-De-Ron-Dah Wilderness. Prior bridges along the trail were washed out and in need of replacement. Iroquois Chapter members expressed concerns regarding the size of the replacement bridges and foot print of the helicopter drop zone for the bridge material. A field check of the trail identified extensive ATV damage along the trail. The bridge at the Otter Lake outlet is where the Illegal ATV use is entering the Ha-De-Ron-Dah Wilderness. The bridge is near the boundary between the Independence River Wild Forest and the Ha-De-Ron-Dah Wilderness. NOTE : ATVs are not allowed on ANY state lands. We also uncovered a potentially illegal camp just off the Otter Lake Trail just past Mink Run. ADK staff discussed these concerns with the regional DEC Forester. To summarize, the bridges are built per Army Corps of Engineers specs. Since this is an equestrian trail, bridges must be able to accommodate horses. This requires that bridges be 12 ft x 6 ft. Regarding tree cutting to accommodate the three helicopter drop zones, 60 trees will be cut, 78 % of which will be less than 6 inches DBH. According to the rangers, the illegal ATV use is a cyclical event occurring with new camp owners. New owners go out on ATVs to check the area out. ADK suggested that placing a seasonal barrier at the Otter Lake Outlet bridge could partially solve the ATV problem. Since the bridge is a connecter route to a larger snowmobile network within Independence River Wild Forest, it would have to accommodate snowmobile use in winter. ADK may recommend that DEC redesignate this trail to eliminate equestrian use. Beforehand, ADK would reach out to the equestrian associations to determine the extent of their use of the trail. Finally, the project has been temporarily put on hold since, other priorities have developed which require the use of the helicopter drops ADK staff will instead focus on side cutting along this trail and stabilizing the severe erosion along with removal of the culverts.

Catskill Park Update The Blue hole in the Peekamoose Riparian Corridor is a "Hot Spot" identified by the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics. ADK and DEC applied for the designation to receive help with educational programming and training for both DEC and organizations who volunteer there as well as for the recreational users of the area. The problem is that there are now too many people in this one small swimming hole and there are no facilities.

Colgate Wild Forest – Forester who was doing very good UMP work, moved out west. So DEC needs to find a replacement. DEC is behind on its UMPs

Kingdom Gould Tract – OSI is working with Kingdom Gould. A conservation agreement is being worked out. The concern is the passing of Kingdom Gould and the impact of the estate tax,

AIS and HWA Program Update ADK is working with APIPP on Invasive Species issues. One of the programs is the Backcountry Water Monitoring Project. Last year 14 backcountry ponds were surveyed, by volunteers and staff.

State Budget and Legislation -Land Bank Constitutional Amendment - Allows county and local government to have a land bank for improvements to local / county highways. Would facilitate broadband access. This has passed one session of the legislature. If it passes this session, it goes to the voters in November. There is enabling legislation to clarify the intent of the Amendment. Land Bank acreage will be 250 acres for the entire Adirondack and Catskill Forest Preserve.

Conservation Design Legislation – This has passed the Assembly and needs to pass the Senate. APA commissioners did not take good conservation design into consideration when considering Woodworth Lake subdivision. The profit margin of developers was given too much consideration.

Right to Clean Environment – This proposed amendment would be incorporated into article 1 of the state constitution, in relation to the right to clean air and water and a healthful environment. Provides citizens the right to initiate lawsuits against polluters. Example of why this legislation is important is the PFOA issue in Hoosic Falls. The PFOA issue required that DOH or DEC initiate action.

Federal Issues – The May 4th issue of the NEW YORK TIMES, listed a summary of the 23 Environmental Rules Rolled Back in Trump's First 100 Day. The discussion centered on the Ordered Review of national monuments created since 1996. No President has ever reversed a national monument designation. The Antiquities Act does not allow for such reversals. This can only be done by an act of Congress. The Antiquities Act, passed in 1906, is a powerful conservation tool. Many current National Parks, such as Grand Teton, Grand Canyon and several Alaskan Parks were first set aside as National Monuments before achieving National Park status through congressional action. This could also be the first step in undoing the Antiquities Act,
Wild lands Stewardship Subcommittee We are looking to reinvigorate this subcommittee. We have a good start with the following:

Albany – Siamese Ponds Wilderness
Taconic Hiking Club – Taconic Crest trail
Iroquois – Ha De Ron Dah
Onondaga – Pigeon Lake Wilderness
If you have questions or want to know more about conservation issues, please contact David Pisaneschi at: dapadk@gmail.com or 459-5969.

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