APA holds Forest Preserve classification public hearings for the Essex Chain Lakes and Hudson River

May 11, 2013

The APA is set to take seven alternatives (an eighth is a “no action” alternative) to public hearing for formal Forest Preserve classifications of newly purchased lands around the Essex Chain Lakes and Upper Hudson River, OK Slip Falls and the Hudson Gorge, and lands at the confluence of the Indian and Hudson Rivers. These lands are the first batch to be fully purchased by the state from the 69,000 acres that Governor Cuomo committed to purchase from The Nature Conservancy in August 2012.

Click here to download a PROTECT Action Alert about these hearings.

See pictures of these lands here and PROTECT’s overall vision for these lands here.

The seven major alternatives generated by the APA cover the range of possible Forest Preserve classifications, from Wilderness to Wild Forest, from Canoe to Primitive. The APA has issued a staff memo on the 8 Forest Preserve classification alternatives accompanied by a set of maps illustrating the alternatives.

PROTECT Supports the Wilderness Classification Alternative 1A

Prior to the release by the APA of the seven classification alternatives, PROTECT had submitted a detailed letter calling on APA to include the new Hudson Headwaters Wilderness Area option. Here’s information about PROTECT’s proposal for the new Wilderness Area.

Here’s a map of that proposal:

The is a 39,000+ acre Hudson Headwaters Wilderness Area that PROTECT and many other groups are advocating for creation during the upcoming APA Forest Preserve classification public hearings. Alternative 1A most closely approximates this proposal.

Here are the two of the seven major alternatives that recommend the creation of a new Wilderness Area and propose to classify the overwhelming majority of the newly purchased lands as Wilderness. These are Alternatives 1A and 1B.

Alternative 1A: This most closely approximates the PROTECT proposal for a 40,000-acre Hudson Headwaters Wilderness Area. It places much of the new lands into a Wilderness classification; see three areas for the Essex Chain Lakes tract, Indian-Hudson Rivers tract, and Ok Slip Pond tract.It classifies the Essex Chain Lakes and the entire 22 miles of the Hudson River as Wilderness. Wild Forest lands in the Blue Mountain and Vanderwhacker Mountain Wild Forest areas are reclassified as Wilderness and all of the Hudson River Primitive Area is also reclassified as Wilderness. Road access, by using roads as boundaries, are kept open to provide public access to the Essex Chain Lakes and Hudson River, but these waters are motor-free. While the core new Wilderness Area is created, parts of the newly purchased lands are also classified as Wild Forest, principally to keep access roads open.

 

Alternative 1B: This is the main Wilderness option. It places all the new lands into a Wilderness classification; see three areas for the Essex Chain Lakes tract, Indian-Hudson Rivers tract, and Ok Slip Pond tract. It also reclassifies a large amount of Wild Forest lands in the Blue Mountain and Vanderwhacker Mountain Wild Forest areas as Wilderness and reclassifies all of the Hudson River Primitive Area as Wilderness. No roads are kept open for access to the Essex Chain Lakes or Hudson River.

During the upcoming public hearings, PROTECT will advocate for Alternative 1A, the Wilderness option that creates a new Wilderness Area and provides public access to the Essex Chain Lake and Hudson River.

Attend a Public Hearing Near You and Make a Statement in Support of Wilderness Alternative 1A

Public hearings are being held on June 12th in Ray Brook (6 PM), June 17th in Minerva (1 PM), June 17th in Newcomb (7 PM), June 25th in Indian Lake (6PM), July 2nd in Albany (1 PM), and July 2nd in Queensbury (7 PM).

If you plan to attend a hearing and speak, please let us know at info@protectadks.org.

Please send comment letters by July 19, 2013:

Mr. James Connolly
NYS Adirondack Park Agency
PO Box 99
Ray Brook, NY 12977
Fax: 518.891.3938
Email: apa_slmp@gw.dec.state.ny.us

Thank you for joining with PROTECT to take a stand for Wilderness in the Adirondack Park!

Primitive, Canoe Area and Wild Forest Classification Alternatives

Here are the remaining five alternatives. PROTECT does not think that they are appropriate for the management of the newly purchased lands.

Alternative 2: This is the Primitive-Wilderness classification option. All of the Hudson River lands are classified as Wilderness, yet the Essex Chain Lakes are classified as Primitive. This allows for various roads to remain open.

 

Alternative 3A: This is the primarily Canoe Area classification proposal. This would classify the Essex Chain Lakes area as a Canoe Area, including a stretch of the Hudson River.

 

Alternative 3B: This is the Canoe option where everything from the Cedar River north along the Hudson River and all of the Essex Chain Lakes are classified as Canoe.

 

Alternative 4A: This is the Wild Forest option. It classifies the Essex Chain Lakes as Wild Forest, which allows motorized uses. It would also keep open a wide range of roads for vehicular traffic.

 

Alternative 4B: This is the Wild Forest Special Management Area option. This is the preferred option of the DEC. Under a Special Management Area, the DEC can write rules for public access. This includes making some uses, like floatplanes, seasonal or allowing motorized watercraft on some waterbodies but not others.

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