ADK Council Releases State of Park Report | New
The Adirondack Council, an Elizabethtown-based environmental organization, released its annual State of the Park report on Tuesday, describing Adirondack Park as a place of refuge during the coronavirus pandemic and a place beset by various problems .
The report includes thumbs up and thumbs down – praise for people the organization sees as working to resolve these issues, and blame for those the organization sees as having delayed, opposed or impeded their implementation. artwork.
The report says the Adirondacks face many issues – climate change, overcrowding, acid rain, invasive species, threats to Forever Wild in the state’s constitution, and the need for increased diversity.
The issues raised repeatedly in the report are that the state’s Department of Environmental Conservation is understaffed and the board of directors of the Adirondack Park Agency is not staffed.
The eight-member APA Board of Directors currently has no chair, one empty seat, and two members serving expired terms.
The Adirondack Council compares the millions of dollars the state has given the Olympic Regional Development Authority to modernize its venues, to its funding for environmental protection.
Council gave DEC the green light for not asking for more forest rangers.
“The agency once again defended the governor’s lack of additional funding for new staff during budget hearings in March,” the report read.
He congratulated State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli for pointing out that the DEC needs more funding as it has more work to do now than years ago when funding has remained stable.
Several of the points in the report were linked to a ruling by the state’s highest court in May, which ruled that the state had violated its own constitution by cutting trees for Class II snowmobile trails around the park.
The Council gave the green light to the courts for stopping the cutting of trees and to the DEC for trying to cut trees.
The Council supported the state by injecting $ 300 million into the Environmental Protection Fund, donating $ 250,000 to the Adirondack Diversity Initiative and funding the Remsen to Lake Railroad project. Placid.
The report also supported DEC’s work with the Mount Adirondack Reserve to create a pilot hiker reservation system at the AMR High Peaks Entrance in St. Huberts, as well as recommendations made by the Advisory Group of DEC’s High Peaks strategic planning.
The board berated DEC for what it calls an “incomplete” plan for the Debar Mountain Wilderness Forest.
The state legislature was reprimanded by the council for failing to fund the Adirondack Lakes Survey Corp. to investigate the 2,800 lakes and ponds in the park. The report says the current data is three decades old.
Saranac Lake got a nudge for achieving bronze in the Climate Smart Community certification, an effort that was heavily influenced and carried out by local high school students.
Council also congratulated Tupper Lake for obtaining a grant of $ 200,000 from the Northern Frontier Regional Commission for the expansion of fiber-optic Internet.
Keene Town Supervisor Joe Pete Wilson was praised for handling the flow of new visitors to the High Peaks and for working with the state to secure funding for the hiker shuttles.
The City of Santa Clara approved a moratorium on all commercial development in January until it was able to review plans to expand the marina at Fish Creek Ponds.
The report commended the DEC for finding PFAS – fire fighting chemicals – at the Adirondack Regional Airport and making this section of the property a Superfund site. The cleaning of the airport is in progress.
The report gave the DEC arguments for winning a conviction against a Saranac Lake man who shot a moose in 2019, resulting in jail time, a fine and the revocation of his hunting license.
State Assembly Member Billy Jones of Lake D-Chateaugay has approved legislation to inspect boats and trailers for invasive species in the Adirondacks. State Senator Dan Stec, R-Queensbury, was also praised for his support for broadband legislation, making it easier to expand into rural areas.
The report gives APA a favorable opinion not to require that a capacity assessment of Lower Saranac Lake be carried out before approving the Saranac Lake Marina. This issue is still being debated in the courts. As a judge dismissed a case against the marina in August, the plaintiff, former DEC commissioner Thomas Jorling, made a final appeal for the case to be heard.
The APA also got a favorable opinion for the approval of a shoreline development permit on Upper Saranac Lake, where residents and environmentalists fear that a residential septic system could be installed so close to a stream. leading to the lake that it could degrade the water quality.
The US military has approved cutting back on military training exercises in the Adirondacks and moving them out of the forest reserve. But the Northeast Air National Guard rejected the increase in supersonic flights over the park, one of which they said pushed horses from a state-run campground at Raquette Lake to repel their riders, resulting in “minor injuries”.
Cuomo’s unfinished business
Adirondack Council communications director John Sheehan said broadband, road salt and invasive species issues were “put aside” by former Governor Andrew Cuomo because of his personal issues, professionals and politicians this year.
He said the council had discussed these matters with the new governor of New York, Kathy Hochul.
Cuomo was given the nod for signing the Randy Preston Road Salt Reduction Act, but immediately thereafter was given the nod for not appointing people to fill the task force created by the act.
Sheehan said so many people have been pushing this road salt law so far, for so long, but then stopped when it got to Cuomo. It sat on his desk for months before it was signed in December, and now there are deadlines ahead, he said.
The task force is supposed to release its preliminary findings at the end of the summer and deliver a full report to the Legislature by Dec. 1, Sheehan said, but it doesn’t even have members yet.
He said the task force may request an extension, but that could delay the implementation of solutions and prolong obsolete methods of de-icing roads.
Sheehan said the state also failed to address cell coverage gaps in the Adirondacks, as it had promised to do.
The report gives Cuomo props to make the internet more affordable, but adds that some people can’t even get it.
He gave the former governor a boost for vetoing the Global Broadband Connectivity Act, which Sheehan says revealed who has a connection and who doesn’t in New York. He called this veto “disappointing”.
“Broadband helps build communities and make the place more livable,” Sheehan said. “It can be done in a way that doesn’t detract from the beauty of the park.”
He said broadband strengthens communities and makes the Adirondacks a popular place for residents and visitors. The council wants to preserve the forest, Sheehan said, but they also want it to be accessible and affordable.
“The communities of the park are integrated into its landscape,” he said. “It’s not an easy place to make a living. I think if it did, it would just take off from the face of the earth and go up to heaven. “
The report says Aaron Mair – a former president of the Sierra Club – is the new director of the council’s Forever Adirondacks campaign, which focuses on the intersection of environment and community and advocates for an “Adirondack Green New.” Deal ”with improvements to jobs, housing, education, child care and broadband.