- Associated Press - Monday, January 11, 2016

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) - Two environmental groups sued New York state on Monday over the recreational access plan for the Essex Chain Lakes tract in the heart of Adirondack Park, saying it violates state law.

The lawsuit filed in state court in Albany says the plan for bicycle access, snowmobile trails and bridges over the Cedar and Hudson rivers violates the state’s Wild, Scenic and Recreational Rivers System Act. It was filed by Adirondack Wild and Protect the Adirondacks.

Spokespeople for the Department of Environmental Conservation and Adirondack Park Agency, which are named in the suit, said the agencies don’t comment on pending litigation.

The park agency is taking public comment on a proposed amendment to the State Land Master Plan that would allow bicycles in parts of the tract classified as primitive, where bikes are illegal. That could make the lawsuit’s claim about bicycles moot, said David Gibson, partner in Adirondack Wild.

The lawsuit also takes issue with plans to construct a snowmobile bridge over the Cedar River; open an old iron logging bridge over the Hudson River to snowmobiling; and create a new snowmobile corridor through a remote part of the Vanderwhacker Mountain Wild Forest.

“This lawsuit seeks to uphold longstanding New York environmental laws that protect the ‘forever wild’ Forest Preserve and protect wild rivers that have been recognized by New Yorkers as deserving the state’s strongest protections,” said Peter Bauer, executive director of Protect the Adirondacks.

The state purchased the former timber land from The Nature Conservancy in 2012 and developed a public access plan designed to boost tourism in surrounding towns. The management plan approved by the Adirondack Park Agency in November 2015 reflects a compromise agreement worked out between the towns, which advocated motorized access, and leading environmental groups, which argued for more restrictions.

The Essex Chain tract is in the town of Indian Lake in Hamilton County and the towns of Newcomb and Minerva in Essex County.

Copyright © 2019 The Washington Times, LLC.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide