Recently the Adirondack Park Agency approved a set of amendments to the Adirondack Master Plan. While the changes are modest at best, this is really big news. It demonstrates that the current APA Board is willing to look at changes when changes are good for both the ecology of the Park and for those who use the park for recreation and upon which to build a livelihood. The changes show that the board considers the Master Plan a dynamic document which from time to time should be amended. While many of us thought the changes could have gone further, NYSSA accepts this action as a step in the right direction. The changes dovetail with the Recreation Plan for the Essex Chain – Vanderwacker Wild Forest Complex.
For Immediate Release: March 11, 2016
Contact: Keith P. McKeever |
Public Information Officer | Adirondack Park Agency | Press Office | (518) 891-4050
APA Approves Recommendations To Amend The Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan Amendments increase public recreational opportunities and maintain natural resource protection
Ray Brook, NY – At its March 2016 Board meeting, the New York State Adirondack Park Agency (APA or Agency) approved recommendations to amend the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan (APSLMP). This historic action marks the first major revision to the APSLMP in nearly two decades. The Master Plan guides the classification and management of State lands inside the Adirondack Park. The APA will now prepare to forward the recommendations to Governor Andrew Cuomo for final approval.
Consistent with 2013 resolution commitments for the Essex Chain Lake classification action, the APA reviewed alternatives for management and use of bicycles in the Essex Chain and Pine Lake Primitive Areas, as well as the use of non-natural materials for bridge construction in Wild Forest units. After careful consideration, which included consultation with the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and a rigorous public comment process, the APA approved preferred alternatives. The recommendations forwarded to Governor Cuomo for final approval will:
Allow for the use of bicycling on former all-season roads in the Essex Chain Lakes and Pine Lake Primitive Areas;
Allow for the use of motorized vehicles and motorized equipment for periodic, non-routine maintenance, rehabilitation or construction of the designated Primitive Recreational Trails and,
Allow the possible use of non-natural materials on bridge designs in wild forest areas following a “minimum requirements approach”.
Chairwoman Lani Ulrich said, “The Agency is pleased to advance our recommendation to approve amendments to the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan to Governor Cuomo. This action represents years of hard work and careful consideration. It also represents a thoughtful recognition that the Master Plan is a living document that should be revisited over time. Today we acted on commitments made in 2013 to find opportunities to incorporate evolving public use interests without diminishing the principles of the APSLMP.”
“I commend the Adirondack Park Agency for approving these important amendments to the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan,” said DEC Acting Commissioner Basil Seggos. “This progressive proposal, which was carefully crafted with strong public participation, will ensure the public can access and enjoy a broad range of recreational opportunities on newly acquired lands and waters in the Adirondack Park while the state continues to protect and conserve the region’s globally significant forests and natural resources. This proposal demonstrates the continued commitment of Governor Cuomo, APA and DEC to uphold the integrity of the APSLMP and promote increased visitation to this world class destination.”
The inclusion of bicycling in the Essex Chain Lakes and Pine Lake Primitive Areas will expand recreational opportunities based in Newcomb and Indian Lake. The amendment will enable the DEC to add another area of State land for bicyclists to explore in the Newcomb and Indian Lake region. A bridge built across the Cedar will allow bicyclists to ride back-country from Indian Lake to Newcomb, free of motor vehicles on the majority of the route.The periodic use of motor vehicles and motorized equipment for major maintenance, rehabilitation or construction projects during off-peak seasons or, when extraordinary conditions such as floods need to be addressed during peak seasons, will help restore the land to its natural state while enhancing the recreational experience.
The amendment to permit the use of non-natural materials following a minimum requirements approach will allow the Department to design and build a bridge over the Cedar River that could be smaller and less intrusive than one designed and built with only natural materials. The bridge could be part of a multi-use trail connecting Indian Lake with Minerva, which could be used by hikers, bicyclists, snowmobilers and equestrians.
These two changes to the APSLMP will increase recreational opportunities in the area. With a through trail, bicyclists may ride from one community to the other, increasing visitors in the communities on both ends of the trail. Similarly, other recreationists will be able to travel from one community to the other, with increased demand for visitor services at both ends. The increased visitation could generate more business opportunities and jobs in the communities.
Minor changes include updating terms such as “State Truck Trail” to “Administrative Road” and “All Terrain Bicycle” to “Bicycle,” adding definitions for terms which are referenced in the guidelines but not defined (Bicycle Trail, Horse mounting platform, etc). Additional content has been added on Conservation Easements and Invasive Species. Ministerial changes include grammatical corrections, updates to figures, removing the names of Agency Members no longer serving on the Board and other additions or deletions that did not change the meaning of the document.
The APSLMP states that planning is an on-going process and, as public use of the State lands expands or changes, land use controls may require reanalysis.
Protection and preservation of the natural resources of the State lands within the Park must be paramount. Human use and enjoyment of those lands should be permitted and encouraged, so long as the resources in their physical and biological context, as well as their social or psychological aspects, are not degraded.
For more information or to download the proposed amendments to the APSLMP please go to the Agency’s website (apa.ny.gov).
The mission of the Adirondack Park Agency is to protect the public and private resources of the Adirondack Park through the exercise of the powers and duties of the Agency as provided by law.
For more information, call the APA at (518) 891-4050 or visit www.apa.ny.gov.