Last agenda of the year for APA is packed

Wild Forest, rail corridor and backcountry skiing on docket

RAY BROOK — The state Adirondack Park Agency’s last regular meeting of the year is packed to the gills, with three major decisions before the board.

On the agenda are a state plan to guide backcountry ski trail construction, approval of the Saranac Lakes Wild Forest unit management plan, and a reclassification of a travel corridors that could pave the way for construction of rail trail between Tupper Lake and Lake Placid.

The APA meeting starts at 9:30 a.m. Thursday, and then again at the same time on Friday.

The first major action on the agenda is a vote to approve a public comment period for the state Department of Environmental Conservation’s ski trail guidance document. The management guidance sets forth recommendations on how the DEC should construct cross-country and backcountry ski trails. A full breakdown of this plan will be in Wednesday’s Enterprise.

At 2:45 p.m. Thursday, the APA board is then set to vote on compliance with the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan for an amendment to travel corridor definitions that could result in construction of a highly debated rail trail.

The DEC and state Department of Transportation had previously put forth a plan that would remove the train tracks from the Remsen-Lake Placid Travel Corridor and replace them with a multi-use trail. That plan was shot down in court, but the APA’s amendment would allow any portion of the Remsen-Lake Placid corridor to be turned into a trail.

“The preferred alternative would allow, but not require, the rails to be removed from any section of the Remsen-Lake Placid Travel Corridor upon adoption of a UMP,” the APA’s memorandum on the amendment says.

After the travel corridor vote, the State Land Committee continues with a vote on SLMP compliance for the DEC’s Saranac Lakes Wild Forest Unit Management Plan. APA staff recommend approval of the plan with minor changes. The SLWF surrounds much of the Tri-Lakes region.

The APA board will also consider a permit for timber harvesting near Tupper Lake, discuss the agency’s recently released renewable energy plan, and get a presentation on the impacts acid rain, climate change and invasive species have had on native fish in the Adirondacks on Thursday.

On Friday, the board will hear presentations from private forest owners before final votes on all of the above at 11:15 a.m.

To see the full agenda and board member mailing items, go to www.apa.ny.gov.

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