Adirondack Hudson River Gorge Wilderness Approved

Gov. Andrew Cuomo signing the original Finch, Pruyn purchase in 2012. Photo: Brian Mann

Gov. Andrew Cuomo (R) signing the original Finch, Pruyn purchase in 2012. At left sits Bill Ulfelder, head of the N ature Conservancy in New York.  Photo: Brian Mann

The largest new wilderness area in a generation was created this morning by a unanimous vote of the Adirondack Park Agency.  The Hudson River Gorge Wilderness, at roughly 24,000 acres, will sit adjacent to a large motorless primitive area also established today.

APA chairwoman Lani Ulrich hailed the vote as historic, and cited unprecedented cooperation between environmentalists, local government leaders, and state officials.

This approval also marks a significant environmental legacy for Governor Andrew Cuomo’s first term.

Some environmental groups criticized the fact that the final compromise includes a proposal for a “wild forest” strip through the primitive area, with a bridge across the Cedar River, to accomodate snowmobile traffic between the communities of Indian Lake, Minerva and Newcomb.

Local government leaders, meanwhile, conceded motorless use on the Essex Chain Lakes, which will now be established as one of the park’s largest “primitive” paddling destinations.

NCPR will have more on this story Monday during the 8 O’clock Hour.

8 Comments on “Adirondack Hudson River Gorge Wilderness Approved”

  1. Paul says:

    Protect the Adirondacks seems to think that the classification (or at least the process) was illegal. They explain here at their website:

    I suppose that anybody that disapproves of this classification (either way) could try and use these grounds for a lawsuit. For example if one of the towns felt that a Wild Forest Classification was in order they could use this as a basis for their suit. For example SEQRA was not followed properly and there we timing problems etc.?

    Can these roads be legally closed (in this manner rather than by the towns)? That is another issue that has been floated?

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  2. Pete Klein says:

    After all the work that went into this, I would hope there is no idiot out there who wants to challenge it with a lawsuit.

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  3. Peter says:

    They think the classification was illegal? I think the acquisition was illegal!! It DOES NOT conform to the NYS ENCON law, does not abide by DEC Region 5 guidelines, and is certainly not compatible with SLMP language. I would liked to have seen at least some coverage addressing these issues.

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  4. Dan Murphy says:

    PROTECT is obviously going to file a lawsuit. Any decision in their opinion that allows any human presence in the ADK park is illegal.

    Read the comments that Paul linked.

    PROTECT doesn’t even want mountain bikes allowed…

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  5. Paul says:

    Pete, this is NYS. I heard my 11 year old talking about suing someone the other day over something that didn’t go his way! I guess I shouldn’t be too surprised given what he is surrounded by here. I can only try and steer him away from such thinking by reasoning with him. Of course maybe I should steer him towards a law degree!

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  6. Paul says:

    Dan, these groups might also choose to focus on making sure that all the other necessary law and policy changes that would be required don’t happen.

    For example you could probably make a good case that a Primitive classification should not allow Mt. Biking. So that change is one that might be blocked. If it was, No bikes.

    Changing the Wild Rivers law to allow the bridge will also be difficult. No bride, no snowmobile trail.

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  7. Paul says:

    One important lesson here and what should get coverage is that this process is in serious need of change.

    One thing that should have been different is to propose a classification scheme way ahead of time. One that will be the final approved plan IF an acquisition is going to take place.

    In a large transaction like this the towns must approve the deal. They cannot do that in an informed way when the have no idea what the eventual outcome will be.

    They cannot have the expectation that these areas will be Wild Forest areas with large numbers of tourists biking, snowmobiling, and motor boating (along with paddlers hikers and campers) all around if they are eventually going to consider even a very restrictive Wilderness classification later (the Wilderness one “without access” that had something like a three mile carry to the water).

    These deals are sold as a boon for tourism and then they are eventually whittled down and lobbied to something different. This isn’t an argument against Wilderness. In fact the entire area can be shut off form anybody, the point is it needs to be decided ahead of time.

    This could have easily been done here. The TNC was not going to sell to someone else. They would have waited for the state just like they are now doing for the Follensby Pond tract.

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  8. Peter says:

    Socialism pure and simple

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