In 2013, Protect the Adirondacks filed a lawsuit that challenges the construction and management of snowmobile trails on the Forest Preserve by the Adirondack Park Agency (APA) and Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). PROTECT alleges that state actions by the APA and DEC violate state law and the State Constitution. PROTECT has long opposed an expansion of snowmobile trails to widths of 12 feet or wider. We see these “trails” at that width as road-like with far-reaching negative ecological impacts. PROTECT also believes that the design of these road-like trails is principally to support large tracked groomers, which we believe are limited to designated roads and prohibited from use on “trails” under state law. The only motor vehicle allowed on a designated trail is a snowmobile.

At this point we anticipate a decision on the first part of the lawsuit, which involves the use of large tracked groomers on trails, in the middle of 2014. The part of the lawsuit that deals with Constitutional issues is currently in the “discovery” phase.

Lawsuit Highlights

October 2013 PROTECT filed a major part of our lawsuit that rebutted briefs submitted by the state. These filings only pertain to part of PROTECT’s lawsuit. The case has currently been split into sections by the Judge. These papers submitted by PROTECT support its allegations about state violations of the State Land Master Plan and state agency regulations. Submissions for allegations about a Constitutional violations will be submitted later in the year or in early 2014, though that schedule is still to be determined.

Here’s background information on this lawsuit and initial filings. Here’s information about recent decisions.

On October 15, 2013, PROTECT submitted the following materials to the court:

1. PROTECT’s Memorandum of Law
2. PROTECT’s Reply Brief
3. Affidavit by the Author of the State Land Master Plan

September 2013 PROTECT was unsuccessful in legal actions to try and stop tree cutting on the Forest Preserve on other large-scale snowmobile trails.

September 2013 PROTECT defeats a motion to dismiss this lawsuit. Judge rules that this lawsuit has merit and will be heard.

July 2013 PROTECT submits papers in response to the state’s efforts to have this lawsuit dismissed.

July 2013 PROTECT visits the Seventh Lake Mountain Snowmobile trail and finds the snowmobile trail in question is still a mess in many sections more than a year after construction started.

April 2013 PROTECT makes its initial filings for this lawsuit against the state.

Here are some pictures of one road-like snowmobile “trail” that PROTECT is challenging. These pictures show a “trail” widened and graded with heavy machinery, rocks and trees removed, and an oversized bridge under construction for large multi-ton groomers.