Press-Republican

Local News

January 11, 2010

Environmentalists sue APA over snowmobile plan

(Continued)



The new guidelines allow for removal of some rocks and boulders from trail surfaces.

Sheehan said at issue is not the width, which was designed for safety, but the way the guidelines were approved.

“Are wider trails safer? For higher speeds, yes. If you’re out wanting to increase your speed substantially, you’ll need to widen and straighten the trail. That’s essentially what DEC is trying to do, but they didn’t ask the right people. They didn’t ask the public; they asked APA.

“We are seeking an injunction from what was approved in November being implemented. The way it was approved does not comply with the State Environmental Quality Review Act.

“It’s our contention that putting community connector trails two miles into the woods and across water bodies is inherently unsafe and would make rescue a nightmare.”



GROOMERS

Also at issue in the lawsuit is use of motorized grooming equipment on Adirondack Park lands.

“They’ve got trails; the question is whether they can use groomers to widen them. We believe they need to get the public’s permission — DEC and APA have to amend the State Land Master Plan.”



PUBLIC INPUT

McKeever said APA went through an extensive public-comment period before approving the snowmobile maintenance plan.

“We had a very public process, which involved a number of hearings, and we received hundreds of letters from people expressing opinions on the issue.

“After years of debate, the (APA) board made a decision. They felt snowmobile guidance is compatible with the State Land Master Plan and is going to be used going forward on (DEC) Unit Management Plans that have been stalled for years.”

McKeever said that until they see the paperwork, “we won’t know to the full extent how to approach litigation.

“Potentially, a lawsuit could stall the snowmobile plan.”



E-mail Kim Smith Dedam at:

kdedam@pressrepublican.com

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