Timber Court Decision :
Case involved Protect The Adirondacks (Protect) suing DEC over the construction of 27 miles of Class II Community Connector trails primarily for snowmobile use. Protect contends that : ( 1) Community connector trails ( 9 feet wide and 12 feet wide at turns ) are in fact roads which the violates the wild forest character requirement of Article 14. and that : (2) The amount of trees cut violates Article 14 in that the “the timber shall not be sold removed or destroyed.” Central to this issue is the definition of timber within the context of Article 14, which determines the number of trees, and consequently cumulative tree cutting. DEC contents that only trees 3 inches in Diameter at Brest Height (DBH) are considered trees (timber). Protect contends that all trees even samplings are included and produced expert witnesses in support of their claim, notably Adirondack author and historian Phil Terrie. Protect lost on both points in Supreme Court in Albany County, but prevailed on the timber cutting issue at the Appellate Court level. The Appellate court determined that one inch DBH was considered a tree ( timber). The state will appeal to the Court of Appeals Protect will repetition regarding the road issue.
South Chain Lakes Road :
In question is a one mile section of the Hudson River which is classified as a Wild River corridor within the context of the Wild Scenic Recreational Rivers System Act ( WSRRA). Accordingly, the corridor (.5 miles) must be managed as wilderness. At issue, the Court of Appeals reviewed a challenge bough about by Protect the Adirondacks regarding DEC’s decision made on consultation with the APA to allow snowmobile use within this corridor. In making this determination, DEC commissioned the Schachner Report, which outlined the factual history of motor vehicle use on roadways based on land records and affidavits of 19 individuals familiar with the historic use of the land. The was DEC’s rationale for permitting snowmobile use on the South Chain Lakes Road. In rebuttal, Protect contended that prior use was private before state acquisition and cannot apply to public use when the property became public. The court ruled that since motorized public use would be seasonal , limited only to snowmobiles, this did no exceed the motorized use when the property was private, which was year around , consequently it would be allowed.
Cedar River Bridge Case:
Supreme Court of Warren County has granted a preliminary injunction. Judge Mueller is awaiting the Court of Appeals decision from the anticipated appeal by DEC on the timber case. There are alternate routes on adjacent conservation easement lands which DEC failed to adequately address. Bridge may be moot depending on the outcome of the timber case , since DEC may not be able to build the snowmobile trail from the Polaris Bridge to Minerva which would traverse the Blue Mountain Wild Forest. This would require cutting a new snowmobile trail.
If you have questions or want to know more about these issues, please contact David Pisaneschi at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 459-5969.