DEC reviewing adverse Adirondack snowmobile trail ruling

Published on Jul 24, 2019 by Uncategorized in Uncategorized

DEC reviewing adverse Adirondack snowmobile trail ruling
Schenectady Daily Gazette

Stephen Williams reports that an intermediate level state appellate court, in a 4 to 1 ruling, has reversed a lower court decision that tree cutting to construct community connector snowmobile trails was not unconstitutional. The appellate court ruling was based upon an interpretation of the word “timber” in the forever wild clause of the New York Constitution. The forever wild clause of the Constitution prohibits the cutting of “timber” on forest preserve lands. The question before the court was whether small trees, such as seedlings, saplings and brush count as “timber.” A decision of the highest state court has interpreted that clause to prohibit “timber” cutting to a substantial or “material degree.” The appellate court decision, which ruled that small trees are included as “timber” is available at

Review Board Note: The following is the Review Board’s position on “timber” cutting in the forest preserve. The Review Board urges the DEC to appeal this case to the New York Court of Appeals to establish that “timber” as used in the forever wild clause of the New York Constitution is defined as trees that may be sawed into dimensional lumber.

Review Board position on Protect’s lawsuit to prohibit tree cutting necessary for the construction of community connector snowmobile trails.

The relevant portion of the forever wild section of the New York Constitution provides that:

“The lands of the State, now owned or hereafter acquired, constituting the forest preserve as now fixed by law, shall be forever kept as wild forest lands. They shall not be leased, sold or exchanged, “nor shall the timber thereon be sold, removed or destroyed.”

The leading case on tree cutting in the forest preserve is the 1930 Court of Appeals case Association for the Protection of the Adirondacks v. MacDonald, 253 N.Y. 234. The court in that case held that legislation authorizing the cutting of 2,500 trees to construct a bobsled run for the 1932 Olympics was unconstitutional. It was estimated that 4.5 acres of land would be cleared.

The court in dicta reasoned that the words of the Constitution “… must receive a reasonable interpretation, considering the purpose and object in view, and “(T)he purpose of the constitutional provision, as indicated by the debates in Convention of 1894, was to prevent the cutting or destruction of timber or the sale thereof, as had theretofore been permitted by legislation …”

The court also stated that the Convention intended “… to prohibit any cutting or any removal of the trees and timber to a substantial extent. The Adirondack Park was to be preserved, not destroyed. Therefore all things necessary were permitted, such as measures to prevent forest fires, the repairs to roads and proper inspection, or the erection and maintenance of proper facilities for the use by the public which did not call for the removal of the timber to any material degree.” The court added that: “a very considerable use may be made by campers and others without in any way interfering with this purpose of preserving them as wild forest lands.”

The dicta in MacDonald emphasized that the Forest Preserve is for the use of the public. The Court found that the Constitutional focus is to prevent the sale of timber, as authorized in 1893 legislation, rather than immaterial cutting of timber to accommodate reasonable uses.

Protect appears to argue that “timber” is indistinguishable from “trees,” based on the vegetation they counted as timber, which was about five times more than DEC’s count. The dictionary definition of “timber” is “… trees capable of being squared into beams, boards or planks to be used in construction.”

Not all woody stems are considered to be trees.

Not all woody stems are “timber.” That’s why we have words for saplings, brush and seedlings. They are not capable of being used for dimensional construction lumber. In fact the 1915 Constitutional Convention proposed an amendment to add the word trees to timber in the forever wild clause and the amendment failed to pass.

The Merriam Webster Dictionary definition of “sapling” is a young tree, specifically not over 4 inches in diameter at breast height.

Brush” is defined as scrub vegetation.

A “seedling” is defined as a tree not yet 3 feet high.

It appears that Protect counted brush, saplings and seedlings as “timber.” That is a flawed counting method that leads to incorrect conclusions regarding the constitutionality of the cutting for community connector trails. No reasonable definition of “timber” includes every woody stem.

Protect also counted stumps. The accepted tree counting method is to count trees over 3 inches in diameter at breast height, which is 4.5 feet above the ground, not the stump near ground level. DEC believes Protect counted dead and diseased trees, and trees that are hazardous to the public.

In the 1993 Appellate Division Third Department case, Balsam Lake Anglers Club v. DEC the court held that the cutting of 350 trees for five parking lots, a new hiking trail, and a cross-country ski trail was not unconstitutional.

The court quoted the MacDonald case that “… only those activities involving the removal of timber to any material degree’ will run afoul of the constitutional provisions. The court found that the cutting of 312 saplings was cutting of “… vegetative growth that DEC does not classify as trees,”

The court also found that the framers of the Constitution “obviously distinguished between “timber” and any form of tree or wood”

It is also relevant that the trees cut and to be cut on the trails are dispersed along the trail and will result in retaining a canopy above the trail. In the MacDonald case the cutting would have cleared 4.5 acres for new construction and would have destroyed the canopy. The finished trails will

The Gateway Project

Published on Sep 5, 2018 by Economics Archive, Economics Feature Article in Economics Archive, Economics Feature Article

The goal of this project is to establish a benchmark vision for a new gateway hub to the Adirondacks that will promote a world-class recreational experience and increase the economic vitality of the “5 Towns” including North Hudson, Newcomb, Indian Lake, Long Lake, and Minerva. The gateway project will ensure that the proposed uses, programs and services improve access to the regions recreational amenities and support the growth of local communities and the region. This new “Gateway to the Adirondacks at the Upper Hudson Recreation Hub” will be developed in a manner that creates a dynamic and attractive destination that links local and regional resources and is easily accessible from the Northway, nearby Towns, villages and hamlets.

The facilities will provide year around recreational opportunities and services for multiple uses, users, vendors and special interest groups. A new Gateway Center would welcome, orient and connect visitors to trail networks, recreation destinations and business within the 5 Towns. Careful stewardship is required to protect the natural beauty of the site and its surroundings and to create a compelling Adirondack setting that will support a wide variety of uses and programs generally including camping, equestrian amenities, open space activity areas, trails and staging for large events.

Meadows, woodlands, wetlands and gently sloping terrain combine to create a unique context for diverse recreational interests including access to the Schroon River which runs along the western boundary of the project area. Although the project will be implemented over an extended period of time every aspect of its development will be positioned to create a world class experience that is unique to the region and includes a mix of lodging, businesses and interpretive opportunities.

Many of the structures from Frontier Town remain on the site and although the viable use of these structures is unknown, the spirit of this beloved theme park should be reflected in a manner that celebrates the site’s history.

View media and more information at the Town of North Hudson website

Adirondack Aquatic Invasive Species Prevention Program Applauds Governor Cuomo for EPF Grant Awards

Published on May 4, 2016 by Uncategorized in Uncategorized


Keene Valley, N.Y., May 4, 2016:  Today, the Adirondack Aquatic Invasive Species Prevention Program Advisory Committee applauded Governor Cuomo for his continued leadership in addressing one of the greatest threats to the ecological and economic health of the Adirondack region. The Governor’s recent announcement of $985,000 in Environmental Protection Fund Grants for aquatic invasive species (AIS) prevention in the Adirondacks marks a major milestone in the effort to protect the nearly 3,000 lakes and ponds and 30,000 miles of rivers and streams that define the region. Comprised of conservation groups, educators, lake associations, and government officials (see list of members below), the Advisory Committee was formed to develop and coordinate the prevention program across the more than six-million-acre Adirondack region.

With diverse involvement and growing financial support, the Adirondack AIS Prevention Program provides a working demonstration where both the process and program can serve as a model of what will be required to prevent aquatic invasive species from permanently degrading natural waterways closely tied to the region’s economic health.

Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program (APIPP) and Advisory Committee coordinator Brendan Quirion praised the Governor’s actions, “By providing $2 million in community grants for AIS prevention statewide, Governor Cuomo and the DEC are demonstrating the imperative for unprecedented collaboration, partnership, and concerted commitment in the region and across the state. This investment will pay dividends for years to come as our valued waters continue to provide the recreational enjoyment, economic vitality, and natural splendor as they have for generations,” said Quirion.

Making the case for the strongest prevention program possible was a Memorandum of Understanding, signed by more than 70 public and private Adirondack entities united and committed to mitigate this threat. This was followed by the creation of a Framework Agreement that converts the case into a deliberate structure and set of actions to guide establishment and immediate implementation of an Adirondack AIS Prevention Program. In fact, among the provisions called for in the Framework Agreement is formation of the Advisory Committee now in place.

Member organizations of the Advisory Committee weighed in on the Governor’s funding announcement and congratulated award recipients for their vital role in preventing the spread of AIS:

In commending the NYSDEC on the Governor’s recent announcement, New York Conservation Council President Chuck Parker said “We congratulate the strong collaborative efforts of the Advisory Committee, of which the Council is proud to be a part, and communities within the Adirondack region, for their efforts leading the way for programs to prevent the spread of aquatic species, as a volunteer effort and maintaining access for the people of New York.”

Tom Williams, President of the Adirondack Landowners Association, said “the Association is pleased that so many local government and regional stakeholders have joined in this important effort. Continued cooperation across a wide range of partners and interest groups is critical to our success in fighting the threat of invasive species.”

“We appreciate Governor Cuomo’s support for the efforts of a remarkable coalition of state agencies, local governments, lake associations, and environmental groups working in the Adirondacks to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species and their harmful effects on our water quality, environment, and economy,” said Adirondack Park Local Government Review Board Executive Director Fred Monroe.

“Invasive species can harm native plants and wildlife, interfere with outdoor recreation and are very costly to remove, when it is possible to remove them,” said Diane Fish, Deputy Director of the Adirondack Council. “Prevention is crucial. Today’s success is the product of APIPP’s leadership and the collaboration of many groups and individuals who created these programs and have helped to sustain them through the state’s Environmental Protection Fund.”

“I want to thank Governor Cuomo and Acting Commissioner Basil Seggos for their great work on these grants! Their commitment to environmental protection, the fight against aquatic invasives, and the Adirondack Park has been remarkable! Plus, the coalition that has come together to combat invasives throughout the Adirondacks is a true demonstration of what can be accomplished through team effort. All of the partners, from the Governor to the individual local governments and Lake Associations, deserve our sincere thanks,” explained William G. Farber, Chairman of the Hamilton County Board of Supervisors.

“The long-term health of our Adirondack environment and local economies is reliant on clean lakes. Governor Cuomo and Commissioner Seggos’ commitment to combat Aquatic Invasive Species is greatly appreciated, along with our thanks to the many individuals and organizations that have come together in this battle. This second year of funding for boat washing and inspection stations will greatly aid the many volunteer lake associations committed to vibrant lakes and communities,” said Brian Towers, President of the Adirondack Association of Towns & Villages.

“This latest round of New York State-funded grants demonstrates just how far the entire community has come in recognizing and effectively addressing the disruption and losses associated with the spread of aquatic invasive species,” said Eric Holmlund, Director, Adirondack Watershed Institute Stewardship Program at Paul Smith’s College.

Latest EPF grant funding toward Adirondack AIS prevention will support operation of five regionally distributed boat inspection and decontamination stations and numerous boat launch stewards. In addition to the improved regional capacity that will be made

possible by the EPF grant funding, Advisory Committee members are investing in numerous boat decontamination stations  and boat launch steward locations through  state, federal, and private funding sources.

As an example of financial commitments being made on behalf of these latest grant awards, The FUND for Lake George, another Advisory Committee member, is providing matching grant support of $25,000 for a new inspection and decontamination station that will be sited at the state boat launch to Lake Champlain in Ticonderoga. The station will provide courtesy decontaminations for boats exiting Lake Champlain that is known to have 50 aquatic invasive and non-native species. With The FUND’s backing, the Adirondack Watershed Institute of Paul Smith’s College was awarded an EPF grant of $98,123 to manage this station. “The FUND is deeply proud to be a co-investor

Gouverneur, The U.S. Constitution And The Adirondacks

Published on Sep 17, 2015 by Laws & Regulations Archive, Laws & Regulations Feature Article in Laws & Regulations Archive, Laws & Regulations Feature Article

Gouverneur, The U.S. Constitution And The Adirondacks
Adirondack Almanack
Story appeared 9/16/15
Glenn Pearsall describes Adirondack landowner, Governeur Morris’ major contributions to the United States Constitution, particularly the famous Preamble.

Chinese web billionaire buys 28,000 acres of scenic upstate New York for $23 million

Published on Sep 16, 2015 by Economics Archive in Economics Archive

Chinese web billionaire buys 28,000 acres of scenic upstate New York for $23 million
Daily Mail Website
Story appeared 6/25/15
Wills Robinson describes Alibaba billionaire Jack Ma’s purchase of 28,000 acres of former Rockefeller property in Franklin County


Published on Sep 16, 2015 by SLMP Archive, SLMP Feature Article in SLMP Archive, SLMP Feature Article

Watertown Daily Times (Watertown, NY) Website
Story Appeared: 09/08/2015
The Associated Press reports that the state Department of Environmental Conservation is taking public comments through Sept. 18 on a plan for a northern Adirondack forest tract that will allow extensive use of vehicles, including ATVs.

Symposium Reviews State Of Adirondack Water

Published on Aug 11, 2015 by Environment Archive, Environment Feature Article in Environment Archive, Environment Feature Article

PAUL SMITHS – It was standing room only in the Pine Room at Paul Smith’s College, and people were there to learn about the state of Adirondack waterbodies.

The first-ever Lake Association Symposium was held Tuesday, July 28. It got scientists, state officials and representatives of lake steward programs throughout the Adirondacks together to learn about the state of the Park’s waterbodies and what can be done to better protect them.

Read full article about Lake Symposium

Charles R. Wood Park revenue higher than expected

Published on Aug 11, 2015 by Local Government Archive, Local Government Feature Article in Local Government Archive, Local Government Feature Article

LAKE GEORGE | Charles R. Wood Park and the municipal parking lot next to it will bring in an estimated $125,000 in revenue during its first full season in operation, officials said Friday.
Fees to rent the festival space in the park will bring in about $44,000 this year, but the adjacent parking lot created on West Brook Road will generate at least $80,000.

Every summer weekend has been booked, with events scheduled well into September.

Read full article about Charles R. Wood Park revenue

Essex Chain Lakes Plan Fuels Debate

Published on Aug 11, 2015 by UMP Archive, UMP Feature Article in UMP Archive, UMP Feature Article

ADIRONDACKS — Of all the 65,000 acres of former Finch Pruyn lands the state is buying in the central Adirondacks, the Essex Chain Lakes was among the most coveted by nature-lovers.

The remote region between Indian Lake in Hamilton County and Newcomb in Essex County was off limits to the public for a century, and is studded with little-seen lakes, ponds and rivers, including a long stretch of the upper Hudson.

The 19,600-acre complex, which the state acquired in 2013, is currently the topic of a heated debate over how easy it should be for the public to reach the interior, and whether economic or wilderness values should prevail in land use planning.

Last month, the state Department of Environmental Conservation last month released a draft land management plan and environmental impact statement that emphasizes the tourism potential, and goes beyond just encouraging hiking and fishing opportunities…

Read full article at

Times Union Op-Ed By Jerry Delaney

Published on Aug 11, 2015 by Economics Archive, Economics Feature Article in Economics Archive, Economics Feature Article

By Jerry Delaney
An environmental advocacy group, Adirondack Wild, recently accused Gov. Andrew Cuomo, the Adirondack Park Agency and the state Department of Environmental Conservation of unjustly putting the interests of the Adirondack Park economy above its environmental health.

What’s really happening — and should be celebrated by those who truly care about the park’s future — is a move on the part of the Cuomo administration, the APA, DEC and the park’s more reasonable and respected environmental groups to finally establish the balance of economic and environmental interests that was envisioned at the park’s inception.

The Adirondack Park is a fascinating social experiment – a six-million-acre expanse of public and private lands governed by some of the most restrictive land use regulations in the country, but also home to approximately 130,000 people who must reconcile those restrictions with their need to earn a living.

For many years, the balance between the environment and the economy has been woefully out of whack when it comes to state policy in the Adirondacks — to the detriment of the economy and residents.

Over the past four decades the amount of the park that is owned outright by New York state or controlled by state conservation easement has grown from 2.3 million acres to 3.6 million acres —meaning nearly 60 percent f today’s park is effectively off-limits to any form of development, and to many forms of economic and recreational activity. Couple that with restrictive state regulations on how private lands can be used, and the challenge of sustaining local economies and populations is overwhelming.

Local government leaders have, for many years, called for the “sensible balance between the needs for preservation and development within our treasured Adirondack Park,” that was so eloquently envisioned by Gov. Nelson Rockefeller in 1973. We have not asked to run roughshod over our land. This is our home, and we understand better than anyone how inexplicably linked our economic prospects are to a healthy, well-protected natural environment. What we have asked for is the ability to use the land that is still available to us in a sustainable way for economic growth — whether it’s producing useful products, or creating recreational opportunities, natural resource-based attractions or responsibly planned and constructed homes and hospitality businesses where people can live or stay while enjoying the natural splendor our region offers.

Finally, we are beginning to see progress. Under Cuomo, we have seen a much more fair, reasonable and balanced approach to Adirondack issues. The state is helping us strengthen our economy, without jeopardizing the environmental health or natural resources upon which that economy is built.

After more than 10 years of intense environmental review and exhaustive public debate, the proposed four-season destination Adirondack Club & Resort in Tupper Lake has received state approval to proceed. The project is designed to bring 500 new year-round private-sector jobs to the region and generate more than $11 million in new tax revenue. Development will occur on just 522 of the property’s nearly 6,400 acres —far less than allowed by state regulations — and more than 5,000 acres will be set aside as open space. This is balance at its best.

Just outside Lake George village, approval has been given for a zip line attraction on privately owned French Mountain. The zip line will comply with strict environmental regulations, and the owner has pledged to minimize the number of trees that will be removed to accommodate the attraction. His goal is to give people an unparalleled “birds’-eye” view of the lake and its surrounding environs by allowing them to soar above the forested landscape and gain a new appreciation for the natural beauty the Adirondacks have to offer. This is balance at its best.

On the former Finch, Pruyn forestlands now owned by the state in the heart of the park, New York is working with local governments to identify new recreational opportunities — like improved and expanded snowmobile trails or mountain biking experiences — that take advantage of the extensive network of woods roads that were navigated for generations by logging trucks and skidders. This is balance at its best.

There’s also the state’s agreement to temporarily swap 200 acres of state Forest Preserve land next to an active mine in Essex County to the mine’s owner in return for 1,500 acres of new Forest Preserve lands. The swap will help protect 100 good-paying Adirondack jobs, and was validated as a good idea by the state’s voters who approved it on Election Day two years ago. This is balance at its best.

Some people would like to you believe that a crisis hangs over the Adirondacks because of decisions like those above. But where they see apocalypse, we see opportunity. New York state is paying attention to the people of the Adirondacks, as well as the trees and lakes and creatures. This is balance at its best.

Jerry Delaney chairman of the Adirondack Park Local Government Review Board and a councilman in the town of Saranac. The Local Government Review Board was created by the state to monitor, advise and assist the Adirondack Park Agency as the “voice of local government.”

Sensible Change is needed in the State Land Master Plan: Proposals for Managing a Changing Adirondacks

Published on Aug 11, 2015 by SLMP Archive, SLMP Feature Article in SLMP Archive, SLMP Feature Article

The Adirondack Park Agency has launched a process to review and amend the State Land Master Plan – the document that governs the use of all 2,614,000 acres of state-owned land in the Adirondacks.

Together, members of the Adirondack Park Local Government Review Board, members of the Adirondack Associations of Towns and Villages and other leaders in the Adirondacks have reviewed the Plan and are pleased to present our recommendations for sensible updates that preserve the natural character and beauty of the Adirondacks while fostering economically sustainable communities for the people who live and visit here.


In the 40 years since the creation of the Adirondack Park Agency and the State Land Master Plan, the economic and environmental forces that shape the Adirondack Park have changed dramatically.

The State Land Master Plan has not kept up, and sensible changes are needed to reflect the realities of today’s Adirondacks.

Change is uncomfortable – just ask the people who have been laid off since our national recession began in 2008. Change can be scary – like when an entrepreneur starts a business that she believes in but isn’t sure anyone else will. Change can be difficult – as it has been for those schools in the Adirondacks that have had to deal with budget shortfalls as residents flee to other areas, taking their students – and their tax money – with them.

And yet, without change, we wouldn’t have permeable pavement, upgraded and substantially invisible cellular phone towers, invasive species protection, or permanent high-speed Internet service in areas of the Adirondacks.

Change is disrupting – but it is inevitable, and in this case is sorely needed. How we manage this change assures our success – or dooms us to failure.

Some would have you believe that nothing can change in the Adirondacks – that any change the state makes in land use will take away from the “forever wild” character of the region.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

Sensible, properly managed change will preserve what works and will repair what doesn’t work…

Read SLMP White Paper


Published on Aug 11, 2015 by Economics in Economics

Sustainable Adirondack economic development is a concern for all Adirondack communities. Trying to balance the needs of local residents with protection of the environment is a constant challenge. The Review Board helps to insure that the economic needs of these communities are given due consideration when the Park Agency reviews development projects or potential uses of Forest Preserve lands that surround them.

The Adirondack Park Regional Assessment Project Report released in 2009 provided a snapshot in time of economic conditions in the Adirondacks. The Adirondack Park Regional Assessment 2014 (APRA 2014) updated portions of APRAP and showed disturbing economic and social trends.

Copies of the Adirondack Regional Assessment Project Report (APRAP) are available.

Copies of the Adirondack Park Regional Assessment 2014 The Adirondack Park Seeking Balance (APRA2014) are available.

Cell Tower Resolution


Published on Aug 11, 2015 by Environment in Environment

The Adirondack environment is front-page news almost every day in the Adirondacks. There are numerous stakeholder groups representing all aspects of environmental concern. The Review Board attempts to work with all these different groups as it represents the interests of local communities.

The Review Board is a leader, along with many others, on major environmental issues like aquatic invasive species education and prevention. In 2015, the Review Board helped draft a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) concerning the nature and severity of the environmental and economic threat of aquatic invasive species to the waters of the Adirondacks, which are so important to tourism, and the second homeowner economy of our communities.

Three state agencies and more than 50 local governments, lake associations and environmental groups signed the MOU. Governor Cuomo proposed $1 million for an Adirondack Invasive Species Prevention Pilot Program in his 2015 State of the State Message. The Pilot Program began operation in the summer of 2015 with twelve boat inspection and decontaminations stations, including a boat-tagging program and fourteen new boat launch steward locations, in addition to those previously operating.

The Review Board worked with the Fund for Lake George and the Adirondack Park Invasive Plant Program to help with the selection and purchase of 32,000 wire and plastic seals to be used to identify boats which have been decontaminated and are safe to launch in any water body, and to identify boats leaving launch sites that are safe to return to that water body.

The Review Board also worked with the SAVE Lake George Partnership to create and air aquatic invasive species educational messages on the Pilot Program on radio stations in Albany, Glens Falls, Utica, Plattsburgh and the Lake Champlain region.

The Review Board serves on the Forest Preserve Advisory Committee, which advises the DEC on Forest Preserve environmental and access policies.

Review Board Chairman Jerry Delaney serves on the board of the North Forest Center, which works on environmental and economic initiatives in the forested areas of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and New York. He also serves on an APA sustainable forest harvesting practices advisory committee.


Published on Aug 11, 2015 by Meetings in Meetings

The Review Board holds monthly meetings at a different location around the Adirondack Park each month, except August and November. The meetings are open to the public.

The Review Board discusses actions taken by the APA Board at its latest meetings and actions by DEC regarding the Adirondack region. The Review Board adopts resolutions on matters important to Adirondack local governments and Adirondack residents and forwards them to the governor, state legislators, county boards of supervisors and county legislatures.

Information about these meetings can be found on the Review Board Calendar on this website.

Laws & Regulations

Published on Aug 11, 2015 by Laws & Regulations in Laws & Regulations

The Adirondacks have a blend of state and local laws, which are unique to the area. The Review Board works with a number of regulatory agencies, most importantly the Adirondack Park Agency and the NYS DEC, in representing the interests of local government and park residents.

The Adirondack Park Agency (APA) was created in 1971 by the New York State Legislature to develop long-range land use plans for both public and private lands within the boundary of the Park. The APA is a New York State governmental agency with an eleven-member board, and a staff consisting of 54 people. The Agency Board meets monthly to act on Park policy issues and permit applications under the APA’s Private Land Use and Development Plan. The Agency Board meetings take place the second Thursday and Friday of each month and are open to the public.

The APA administers the Adirondack Park Agency Act, the Freshwater Wetlands Act and the Wild, Scenic and Recreational Rivers Act within the 6 million acre Adirondack Park Blue Line.

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) was created on July 1, 1970 to combine in a single agency all state programs designed to protect and enhance the environment.

Its mission is “To conserve, improve and protect New York’s natural resources and environment and to prevent, abate and control water, land and air pollution, in order to enhance the health, safety and welfare of the people of the state and their overall economic and social well-being.”

DEC’s goal is to achieve this mission through the simultaneous pursuit of environmental quality, public health, economic prosperity and social well-being, including environmental justice and the empowerment of individuals to participate in environmental decisions that affect their lives.

DEC is headed by a commissioner assisted by executive managers. The department has 24 divisions and offices and is further organized into bureaus to fulfill the functions and regulations established by Title 6 of New York Codes, Rules and Regulations (6NYCRR). Some programs are also governed by federal law.

For additional information see:

State Land Master Plan (SLMP)

Published on Aug 11, 2015 by Feature, SLMP in Feature, SLMP

The Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan (SLMP) sets policy for the management of state owned lands. Developed by the Adirondack Park Agency in cooperation with the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and approved by the Governor of New York State, the Master Plan was first adopted in 1972. The actual management of the State Lands is carried out by DEC forest rangers, foresters, environmental conservation officers, and other state personnel.

State Land Classification

State land is classified into the following seven categories according to the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan.


A wilderness area, in contrast with those areas where man and his own works dominate the landscape, is an area where the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man–where man himself is a visitor who does not remain. A wilderness area is further defined to mean an area of state land or water having a primeval character, without significant improvement or permanent human habitation, which is protected and managed so as to preserve, enhance and restore, where necessary, its natural conditions, and which (1) generally appears to have been affected primarily by the forces of nature, with the imprint of man’s work substantially unnoticeable; (2) has outstanding opportunities for solitude or a primitive and unconfined type of recreation; (3) has at least ten thousand acres of contiguous land and water or is of sufficient size and character as to make practicable its preservation and use in an unimpaired condition; and (4) may also contain ecological, geological or other features of scientific, educational, scenic or historical value.


A primitive area is an area of land or water that is either:

1. Essentially wilderness in character but, (a) contains structures, improvements, or uses that are inconsistent with wilderness, as defined, and whose removal, though a long term objective, cannot be provided for by a fixed deadline, and/or, (b) contains, or is contiguous to, private lands that are of a size and influence to prevent wilderness designation; or,

2. Of a size and character not meeting wilderness standards, but where the fragility of the resource or other factors require wilderness management.
A canoe area is an area where the watercourses or the number and proximity of lakes and ponds make possible a remote and unconfined type of water-oriented recreation in an essentially wilderness setting.

Wild Forest:

A wild forest area is an area where the resources permit a somewhat higher degree of human use than in wilderness, primitive or canoe areas, while retaining an essentially wild character. A wild forest area is further defined as an area that frequently lacks the sense of remoteness of wilderness, primitive or canoe areas and that permits a wide variety of outdoor recreation.

Intensive Use:

An intensive use area is an area where the state provides facilities for intensive forms of outdoor recreation by the public. Two types of intensive use areas are defined by this plan: campground and day use areas.


Historic areas are locations of buildings, structures or sites owned by the state (other than the Adirondack Forest Preserve itself) that are significant in the history, architecture, archeology or culture of the Adirondack Park, the state or the nation; that fall into one of the following categories;

  • state historic sites
  • properties listed on the National Register of Historic Places
  • properties recommended for nomination by the Committee on Registers of the New York State Board For Historic Preservation; and that are of a scale, character and location appropriate for designation as an historic area under this master plan and the state has committed resources to manage such areas primarily for historic objectives

State Administrative:

State administrative areas are areas where the state provides facilities for a variety of specific state purposes that are not primarily designed to accommodate visitors to the Park.

Learn more at

2016 Review Board Letter

Local Government

Published on Aug 11, 2015 by Local Government in Local Government

There are 103 towns and villages and twelve counties in the Adirondacks, each with their own unique issues and needs. Local governments are the governments closest to the people and the most responsive to their needs. Hundreds of town and village residents serve on Adirondack planning and zoning board s to to protect and enhance the values of their communities. The LGRB works closely with all of these counties, towns and villages to help represent the interests of their residents and to help ensure fair representation on matters before the APA. The towns and villages also have their own organization, the AATV (Adirondack Association of Towns & Villages) which serves as a collective voice for the residents of the Adirondack Park on a variety of important issues. Learn more at

View story about Adirondack local government

UMP Updates

Published on Aug 11, 2015 by UMP Updates in UMP Updates

Unit Management Plans (UMPs) in the Adirondacks are written by DEC Staff consulting with APA staff. They assess the natural and physical resources present within a land unit. They also identify opportunities for public use which are consistent with the classifications of these lands, and consider the ability of the resources and ecosystems to accommodate such use. The APA reviews the proposed plans to determine whether they comply with the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan. Learn more at and


Published on Jul 11, 2015 by Events in Events

There is always something going on the Adirondacks…from local shows or celebrations, to regional meetings on important economic or conservation issues.

The Adirondack Park Agency board meets each month, usually on the second Thursday and Friday of the month.

The Adirondack Local Government Day Conference, held in the Spring each year, attracts approximately 300 local government officials from around the Adirondacks to Lake Placid to discuss issues of mutual concern. The Review Board helps establish the agenda for the Conference.

The Common Ground Alliance meeting in Long Lake in mid-July brings together approximately 200 local government officials, environmental groups, state officials business owners and individuals to discuss issues of shared concern. Recent topics include expansion of broadband internet service, invasive species, viable communities, schools and working families. Initiatives supported by the Common Ground are frequently supported b the governor and legislature.

Several times during the year, public hearings are held in various locations throughout the Adirondacks on draft Unit Management Plans for units of state land. Those plans contain recreational access and environmental provisions, and are reviewed by the Adirondack Park Agency for compliance with the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan.

Please look here to learn about events that may be of interest to you.