Last round of legal papers submitted in landmark lawsuit that will shape the future of the Forest Preserve

December 10, 2016

Protect the Adirondacks recently filed a new round of legal papers, our “Answers” in our lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the construction of 9-12 foot wide class II community connector snowmobile trails across the Adirondack Forest Preserve. The defendants, the State of New York, submitted a motion for summary judgment in 2015. This filing of legal papers completes the submissions for both sides.

Protect the Adirondacks is challenging the constitutionality of the the construction by the State of New York of a network of large road-like trails through the forever wild Forest Preserve. PROTECT believes that these “trails” violate Article 14, Section 1, the “forever wild” provision of the State Constitution, due to the vast number of trees being cut and the immense alteration of the Forest Preserve. This lawsuit was started in 2013.

To date, the Adirondack Park Agency (APA) and Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) have completed, started or planned over 36.5 miles of these road-like trails resulting in clearing of between 40-53 acres of forest lands and the destruction of over 31,000 trees. The state has cut down over 15,000 trees so far during construction of the trails.

class-ii-trail-2
class-ii-trail-3
Three pictures of recently constructed and damaging class II community connector snowmobile trail built from the Santanoni Historic Area to the Harris Lake Intensive Use Area. All pictures show portions of the trail much wider than the 9-12 feet allowable.  These trails often see cutting down of over 1,000 trees per mile and extensive grading with heavy machinery to flatten the trail surface area into a road-like corridor.Three pictures of recently constructed and damaging class II community connector snowmobile trail built from the Santanoni Historic Area to the Harris Lake Intensive Use Area. All pictures show portions of the trail much wider than the 9-12 feet allowable. These trails often see cutting down of over 1,000 trees per mile and extensive grading with heavy machinery to flatten the trail surface area into a road-like corridor.
 
In mid-November, all papers were filed.

Here are filing submitted on behalf of Protect the Adirondacks.

John Caffry, Affidavit, Caffry and Flower
John Caffry, Memorandum of Law, Caffry and Flower
Steve Signell Affidavit
Peter Bauer Affidavit

Here are the filings on behalf of the State of New York:

Loretta Simon, Memorandum of Law, Office of the Attorney General
Tate Connor Affidavit, NYSDEC
Tim Howard Affidavit, NYSDEC
Jonathon DeSantis Affidavit, NYSDEC
Rob Ripp Affidavit, NYSDEC
Peter Frank, NYSDEC

Oral arguments are scheduled for December.

Click here and here to read about how the Forest Preserve is harmed during construction of road-like class II community connector snowmobile trails.

Previous post:

Next post: