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BOREAS POND UPDATE

The Adirondack Park Agency (APA) has finally released its proposal for classification of the 20,543 acre Boreas Ponds Tract. The APA will consider a proposal known as Alternative 2B at is meeting on February 1 and 2. Alternative 2B is a compromise which is very close to proposal endorsed by ADK, The Adirondack Council, The Nature Conservancy, and Protect the Adirondacks. All of these proposals and 2B classify some 11, 400 acres north of the Gulf Brook and Boreas Roads as Wilderness, including the 345 acre Boreas Ponds, ensuring that the lands and waters would be motor free, including motor vehicles, snowmobiles, and mountain bikes. ADK particularly opposed the Governor's proposal for hut to hut or luxury glamping facilities on the Boreas Tract and this idea was dropped in Alternative 2B. Local government had also pressed for snowmobile and mountain bike use around the Boreas Ponds and the Wilderness designation precludes these activities.

The APA classification proposal provides for 9,000 acres of Wild Forest which will permit a community connector snowmobile trail to utilize Gulf Brook and Boreas Roads as a part of the snowmobile trail connection between Newcomb and North Hudson. It will also allow motor vehicle use of these existing roads to enable the public to reach parking areas. The 2B proposal provides for a wild forest corridor, 75 feet wide, which will provide people with disabilities and mobility impairments to access a 4-6 car parking lot about 560 feet from the southern shore of Boreas Pond. You will need a permit to access this lot. ADK does not believe this Wild Forest Corridor is necessary for either siting the CP-3 Americans with Disabilities lot or for maintenance of the dam. These functions could legally be achieved by means of a larger Primitive Area. We don't believe there is any legal authority justifying so-called Universal Access parking where the CP-3 parking is located. We believe the main reason for the Wild Forest Corridor is to accommodate Universal Access parking a tenth of a mile from the shore of Boreas Pond.

Beyond the CP-3 lot, there will be an 11 acre Primitive Area around the south shore of the lake around the Boreas dam so DEC can reach the dam for maintenance purposes. Since the road to the dam inside the Primitive Area is likely to be designated in the unit management plan as a state administrative road, bicyclists will be able to bike from the Gulf Brook Road all the way to the Boreas dam. Not far north of the Four Corners, if approved in the UMP, there will be a small parking area for 8 to 12 vehicles for those wishing to canoe and kayak. This parking lot will be a little over 8/10ths of a mile from Boreas Ponds and paddlers would have to carry or roll their boats to the lake. ADK believes that use of this parking lot should be by permit only. If the Wild Forest Corridor is eliminated and the Primitive Area expanded, this canoe/kayak lot could still be located within 500 feet of the new Primitive boundary near the Four Corners. The main parking lot for hikers, campers, backpackers, and cyclists would be located at the site of the current interim lot about 3.6 miles from the dam at the Boreas Ponds. So most of the people exploring the Boreas Ponds will park at this lot. We expect DEC to construct a hiking trail from this parking lot to a viewpoint near the Boreas Dam to avoid a long tedious road walk. All of these parking locations and the trail have been identified, but will have to be approved through the preparation and approval of a unit management plan (UMP).

Proposal 2B, if approved by the APA board this week, will result in a very large increase in the 200,000 acre High Peaks Wilderness Area. In addition to the 11,400 acres of the Boreas Ponds Tract to be classified as Wilderness, the MacIntyre East (7,400 acres) and West (6,000 acres) tracts on either side of the Tahawus Road are to be classified as Wilderness and added to the High Peaks Wilderness Area. Additionally, the 1,450 acre Casey Brook Tract lying between the Boreas Pond Tract and Upper Ausable Lake is also to be included in the High Peaks Wilderness. The inclusion of the Casey Brook Tract will make the total Wilderness acres to be added to the HPWA some 25,000 acres. Moreover, the Casey Brook Tract would connect the 215,00 acre Dix Mountain Wilderness to the SPWA, making its total acreage rise to some 275,500 acres, the third largest designated wilderness east of the Mississippi River.

The proposed Primitive area south of first Boreas Pond would prevent public motorized access directly to the ponds, including the use of snowmobiles. Under Alternative 2B, bicycling would be allowed on Gulf Brook Road and the Boreas Ponds Road. If the section of the Boreas Road which traverses the Primitive Areas is designated Administrative Road in the approved UMP, bicycle use might be permitted to the dam. The Primitive Area would enable DEC to access the dam with motor vehicles for reconstruction or repairs to the dam. All the lands of the Boreas Ponds Tract are protected as Forest Preserve lands, pursuant to Article XIV of the New York State Constitution and all of the wetlands on the tract are protected by the Freshwater Wetlands Act. The Primitive classification on the south shore of first Boreas Pond allows for Wilderness protection for the Boreas Ponds themselves, protecting wetlands and bog communities around the ponds.

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Public Shares Local Knowledge of Palmertown Conservation Area

Alta Planning and Design, Open Space Institute, and Saratoga PLAN hosted a public workshop on December 13, 2017, in Greenfield Center, seeking input on emerging recreation, conservation, and economic development opportunities in the Southern Palmertown region.

The Palmertown Conservation Area stretches fromĀ Moreau Lake State ParkĀ and the Village of Corinth in the north to Saratoga Spa State Park in the south, and from Route 9 in the east to Route 9N in the west. The area includes some of the wildest and most natural terrain in Saratoga County, with unfragmented forests providing important wildlife habitat and timber and protecting the headwaters of the Snook Kill and Kayaderosseras Creek. The area being studied encompasses 63 square miles.

Over 40 local residents and community leaders gathered in the Greenfield Community Center to learn more about the Palmertown region, and to provide valuable local knowledge and personal perspectives on important areas to protect, key destinations, natural areas appropriate for various recreational uses, and ways to enhance economic opportunities for those who live and work in the region. Participants were able to study and mark up maps with useful information.

"The collective wisdom, talents and enthusiasm of the workshop participants was impressive and encouraging. Working together, the Palmertown area can remain and flourish as an intact landscape, both environmentally and economically," said Maria Trabka, Saratoga PLAN's Executive Director.

"We are grateful to everyone who attended this workshop, providing ideas and insight into the next steps for developing a Palmertown Conservation Master Plan," said Katie Petronis, OSI's Northern Program Director. "Saratoga County has great potential to become a new center for outdoor recreational activities and this plan will identify conservation corridors and recreational areas, that, if protected, will create regional connectivity, bolster the recreational and forest economy in Saratoga County, and increase public access to trails."

This workshop is the beginning of a community planning process for the Southern Palmertown region intended to develop a strategy that is responsive to local values and concerns. Local residents are encouraged to fill out a short online survey to provide their perspective on conservation, recreation, and economic development for the area.

Call or email Saratoga PLAN at 518-587-5554 to get a link to the online survey or to sign up to receive notices of upcoming activities related to the Southern Palmertown region.


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Trump expected to shrink 2 Utah monuments by two-thirds

November 30, 2017

President Donald Trump will announce plans next week to shrink two sprawling Utah national monuments by nearly two-thirds, an action that environmentalists and tribal leaders called illegal and another affront to Native Americans.

Trump has already offended Native Americans by overriding tribal objections to approve the Dakota Access and Keystone XL oil pipelines and using a White House event honoring Navajo Code Talkers to take a political jab at a Democratic senator he has nicknamed "Pocahontas."

Leaked documents obtained by The Associated Press show that Trump plans to shrink Bears Ears National Monument by nearly 85 percent and reduce Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument by almost half. The plan would cut the total amount of land in the state's red rock country protected under monument status from more than 3.2 million acres (5,000 square miles) to about 1.2 million acres (1,875 square miles).

he proposals prompted an outcry from environmental groups, tribal leaders and others who say Trump's actions threaten important archaeological and cultural resources, especially Bears Ears, a more than 1.3 million-acre site in southeastern Utah that features thousands of Native American artifacts, including ancient cliff dwellings and petroglyphs.

Trump has told Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch and other Utah officials that he will follow the recommendation of Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to shrink both monuments, but the White House and Zinke's office have not offered details about how they'd redraw the monument boundaries.

Trump is traveling to Utah on Monday and is expected to announce details about his plan to shrink the two monuments, the first and the largest monuments targeted for reduction by Trump after a review of monuments nationwide launched earlier this year.

The proposed changes would be the most significant reductions by any president to monument designations made under the 1906 Antiquities Act, which gives the president wide authority to protect federal sites considered historic or geographically or culturally significant.

Trump ordered Zinke to review 27 monuments created in the past two decades, with Bears Ears the top priority. Trump called some monument designations by his Democratic predecessors a "massive federal land grab" that "should never have happened."

President Barack Obama created the Bears Ears monument last year after tribal leaders and environmental groups clamored for protection of land considered sacred by Native Americans.

Grand Staircase-Escalante was created by President Bill Clinton in 1996.
The Washington Post first reported on the documents, which include proclamations that will split up both monuments into several smaller ones that will be renamed. The plan would cut the overall size of Bears Ears from 1.35 million acres to 201,397 acres and Grand Staircase-Escalante from nearly 1.9 million acres to 997,490 acres.

A spokeswoman for the Interior Department said the newspaper "has very old, outdated and inaccurate information." The spokeswoman, Heather Swift, declined to offer any other details. Utah's Republican leaders, including Hatch, have said the monuments declared by Obama and Clinton unnecessarily locked up too much land and asked Trump to shrink or rescind them.

Hatch said in a statement Thursday that "details of the president's announcement are his and his alone to share," but added: "I appreciate his willingness to listen to my advice and even more importantly, to give the people of Utah a voice in this process."

Trump's action, "following Secretary Zinke's fair, thorough and inclusive review, will represent a balanced solution and a win for everyone on all sides of this issue," Hatch said.

Natalie Landreth, an attorney for the Native American Rights Fund, said her group has already drafted a lawsuit to challenge Trump's action, which she called unprecedented and illegal.

"He will not be able to bask in one day of applause at the Salt Lake City airport" before being sued, she said.

Randi Spivak, public lands program director at the Center for Biological Diversity, an environmental group, called Trump's actions a disgrace. "He wants to turn public lands over to corporations to mine, frack, bulldoze and clear-cut until there's nothing left," she said.
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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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