Dear New York Snowmobiler:
During the summer of 2013, many of you participated in the public comment process which resulted in land classifications for the Essex Chain of Lakes which provided expanded opportunities for recreation on this newly State-acquired tract of land.
Because of the many comments offered by the snowmobile community, a conceptual snowmobile route was laid out on the tract potentially connecting the ADK communities of Indian Lake, Minerva and Newcomb.
Key to this connection is a bridge over the Cedar River that can carry snowmobiles as well as many other recreational users across the river.
This is what we wrote about the crossing last year: “Many of our NYSSA members engage in equestrian activities. NYSSA supports the construction of the Cedar River Bridge in the location the Department has proposed. Several of our members have cautioned us that the width of the bridge is inadequate to accommodate two horses passing or a horse and wagon passing. Complicating this issue is the fact that the bridge will be a popular spot for picture taking, to take in the landscape and to fish. Rather than attempt to regulate people’s use, it would be preferable to plan now for those uses and construct a bridge of adequate width to accommodate how people will no doubt use it. We propose that a 12 foot wide bridge be considered.”
If the bridge is constructed totally of wood, the bridge would be enormous and be visually damaging to the Cedar River view shed. If the state allows steel to be used to construct the bridge, it will result in a structure with a much lower profile, have the opportunity to be wider, and would better serve the entire recreating public.
NYSSA also supports the idea of allowing mountain bikes in the Essex Chain Primitive Area. Our fellow trail users should not be prohibited from enjoying this natural and recreational resource.
While the APA press release focused on these two issues, there is no reason that other issues should not be introduced into the discussion. Limiting new snowmobile trails to character of a foot path does not serve the Adirondack Community economy.
While we appreciate the work that has been done to construct the Seventh Lake Mountain Trail, this trail is a very unattractive choice to running the lakes or taking more enjoyable alternative snowmobile routes.
The trail ends up being very winding, requiring very slow speeds and a well above average skill level to navigate. No one wants high speed highways in the forest, but the character of the trail should be dictated by the surrounding forest and the trail opportunities that are inherent in the land.
These new constructed snowmobile trails should be able to support reasonable speeds.
Tens of thousands of acres have been added to the Forest Preserve over recent years. However, the snowmobile trail mileage cap has never been allowed to increase. When the cap was put into place, no one imagined how much new land would be added to the Adk Park. Newly acquired lands should allow the trail cap to increase and should not be considered a “material increase.”.
Most of our members will not be able to attend these listening sessions, but we highly encourage you to send in written comments to the APA.
The following was sent out by the APA:
ADIRONDACK PARK AGENCY ANNOUNCES MEETING DATES FOR PUBLIC LISTENING SESSIONS REGARDING ADIRONDACK PARK STATE LAND MASTER PLAN AMENDMENTS RAY BROOK, NY – The Adirondack Park Agency (APA) will hold a series of public listening sessions to solicit comments regarding possible amendments to the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan (APSLMP) including proposals identified as part of the Essex Chain Lakes classification.
As part of the Essex Chain Lakes Complex classification, the APA agreed to consider amendments to the APSLMP that would allow the use of all-terrain bicycles in the Essex Chain Lakes Primitive Area and the use of non-natural materials for the construction of a bridge over the Cedar River.
The public will have the opportunity to make suggestions about changes to the APSLMP in relation to the Essex Chain Lakes commitments as well as suggest additional recommendations during a series of four public listening sessions. The meeting format will include opportunities for individuals to interact directly with APA staff, ask questions and provide suggestions about possible revisions to the APSLMP for further consideration.
The public is encouraged to bring written comments to support their input. At the conclusion of each listening session, agency staff will present an overview of the process required to amend the APSLMP.
The APA has scheduled four public listening sessions to be held at the following times and locations (two sessions have already taken place): November 17, 2014 – 11AM-2PM NYS DEC Headquarters 625 Broadway, Albany, New York 12233 November 18 – 5PM-8PM Town of Webb Union Free School District School Gymnasium 3002 State Route 28 Old Forge, NY 13420 In addition to the listening sessions, APA will accept written comments on APSLMP amendments until December 5, 2014.
Please submit written comments to: Deputy Director, Planning Kathy Regan PO Box 99 Ray Brook, NY 12977 Or via email – PublicComment@apa.ny.gov
At the conclusion of the public sessions, the APA will discuss topics for further consideration with DEC and engage stakeholders to identify amendment recommendations. Following public and stakeholder engagement, the APA will undertake the State Environmental Quality Review Act process on the Essex Chain Lakes Complex proposals. APA will also develop a timeline to consider other possible APSLMP amendment recommendations.
The Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan defines permissible activities on State-owned Forest Preserve land in the Adirondack Park. The APSLMP was written in 1972, but since 1987, there have been no major amendments to the APSLMP, despite changing recreational activities, such as mountain biking and easement land purchases that included snowmobile trails. The meeting facilities are wheelchair accessible.
Please provide any requests for specific accommodations to Keith P. McKeever at 518-891-4050. 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.