Press-Republican

Local News

January 11, 2010

Environmentalists sue APA over snowmobile plan

RAY BROOK — Snowmobile-trail guidelines approved by the Adirondack Park Agency in November came under legal fire Monday.

The Adirondack Council filed a lawsuit in Supreme Court, claiming new guidelines violate the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan.



CONCERNS

“There are really three big problems that we have,” said John Sheehan, spokesman for the Adirondack Council.

“One, the widening of the trails and curves up to 50 percent; two, the use of tracked grooming vehicles on park lands; and three, the construction of new trails as far as two miles away from road or the periphery of the Forest Preserve, which is so broad as to make it a joke.

“We believe what (APA and the Department of Environmental Conservation) did violates the intent of the State Land Master Plan. We aren’t saying we would stop them from making the changes, but they need public input to do that.”



‘DISAPPOINTED’

APA spokesman Keith McKeever said they had not been served with the papers as of late Monday afternoon.

“If they do sue us, the agency would be disappointed, because we feel there has been a lot of good work between stakeholders on this issue.”

The new Adirondack Park Snowmobile Trail Maintenance Guidelines define Class II trails as a “new class of snowmobile trail to establish and improve community connections.”

The definition of Class I trails “intended to preserve a more traditional type of Adirondack snowmobiling experience.”

The thrust of the new guidelines, as outlined by APA, is to establish “a park-wide community-connection snowmobile trail system to provide north-to-south and east-to-west routes that will link many Adirondack communities together.”



TRAIL WIDTH

Class I trails could be maintained by snowmobile clubs to an 8-foot width, with Class II trails groomed to 9 feet wide but expanding to 12-foot widths on curves and steep running slopes.

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