Press-Republican

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September 1, 2013

Enviros to APA: 'Go slow' in classifying new state land

ELIZABETHTOWN — Environmentalists have banded together in asking the Adirondack Park Agency to take their time in classifying new state land.

At issue before APA commissioners are eight land-use designations for the Essex Chain Lakes and three parcels of new state land nearby.

Adirondack Council spokesman John Sheehan told the Press-Republican the concern rests in complex legal and scientific questions.

Real answers may take longer than a month to determine, he said.

“There is the possibility that they (APA Board) could make a decision in September. We would hope they would wait at least until October.

“There are a lot of unanswered questions asked by the APA Board at the August meeting.”

ACCESS POINTS

The environmental coalition, which includes the Adirondack Council, Adirondack Mountain Club, Protect the Adirondacks and Adirondack Wild, is lobbying for APA to zone sensitive regions of the Essex Chain Lakes with the Wilderness classification.

Theirs is a position not entirely shared by many town leaders and residents of Indian Lake, Newcomb and Minerva, where most of the new state land is located.

Towns are pushing for a less-restrictive Wild Forest designation in sections of the property, allowing motorized access.

Indian Lake has a town road that cuts through part of the region being classified. A town road limits classification as a pre-existing “non-conforming” structure.

“I don’t think there’s any argument over whether that road can exist,” Sheehan said. “And none of the groups opposed the access points suggested by APA: There is one just above Essex Chain Lakes, one at the confluence of the Indian and Hudson Rivers, and one near the north end of the property near the Polaris Bridge.”

UNANSWERED QUESTIONS

Still, a list of issues remain to be sorted out. Some of them straddle tender legal points encompassing the entire State Land Master Plan.

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