Press-Republican

Friday

March 1, 2013

Green group looks to sue over new trail

RAY BROOK — Days after the opening of a the new Adirondack snowmobile connector trail, environmentalists are looking to challenge its construction in court.

The lawsuit, if allowed by Appellate Court, would be directed at Department of Environmental Conservation and Adirondack Park Agency planning and trail work.

The 12.8-mile connector in Moose River Plains Wild Forest links Inlet with Raquette Lake hamlets and is a multi-use trail designed to be open year-round.

‘BROAD SUPPORT’

The Unit Management Plan was completed by the State Department of Environmental Conservation in 2011 after public hearings and years of forestry inventory and planning.

As part of the plan, 46 miles of former snowmobile trails were closed. And another 15,000 acres of land were moved out of the Wild Forest unit into a new Moose River Wilderness area.

DEC Commissioner Joe Martens heralded the opening of the new trail on Feb. 15 with an invitation for the public to bring snowmobiles.

“While there are a limited few who refuse to see the forest through the trees and how sustainable communities benefit both the Adirondack Park and the local economies, our many partners in this project demonstrate the broad-ranging support for this new trail,” Martens said in a statement.

“The construction of this important multiple-use trail could not have been accomplished without the many organizations and municipalities we work with in partnership as stewards of the public lands in the Adirondack Park,” he continued, commending his staff, APA staff and local leaders.

TREES LOST

But early this week, Protect the Adirondacks, an environmental group based in Lake George, announced its plan to sue to challenge the way the new trail was built and use of trail groomers to maintain the route in winter.

The green group says DEC cut down too many trees.

“DEC’s cutting of more than 2,200 trees over the 11.9 miles of the new Class II community connector snowmobile trail in (Moose River Plains) violated the State Constitution’s prohibition on tree cutting,” the statement said.

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