The Residents' Committee to Protect the Adirondacks will not appeal the dismissal of its lawsuit challenging the state's approval of plans to connect Gore Mountain Ski Center with the North Creek Ski Bowl.
But the lawyer who handled the case for the RCPA is preserving his right to appeal.
John Caffry of Glens Falls was a co-petitioner, along with the RCPA, in a lawsuit against the state Olympic Regional Development Authority, the state Adirondack Park Agency and the state Department of Environmental Conservation, which had all approved a series of amendments to Gore's management plan allowing for new ski trails and a chairlift connecting Gore, which is run by the state, and the Ski Bowl, run by the town of Johnsburg.
Caffry and the RCPA argued that the trail cutting would harm the environment and that the project, dubbed the Gore "interconnect," was developed specifically to benefit a planned resort project next to the Ski Bowl as well as businesses in the hamlet of North Creek. They said the state was using Forest Preserve lands to subsidize private businesses in violation of the state Constitution.
But Albany County State Supreme Court Judge Michael C. Lynch dismissed the lawsuit. His July 13 ruling found "no support in the record" for the claim that economic development was the primary purpose of the interconnect and called the state's environmental review "rationally based."
Robert Harrison, chairman of the RCPA Board of Directors, said they have decided not to appeal the decision, largely because the organization, which at one time was based in North Creek, is preoccupied with completing a merger with the Association for the Protection of the Adirondacks. The two are combining to form a new environmental group called Protect the Adirondacks!
"We decided we needed to concentrate on that and didn't want to be distracted with this appeal," Harrison said Tuesday.
But Caffry said he filed a notice of appeal in his own name with the Albany County Clerk's Office on Monday. That gives him as many as nine months to decide whether to appeal the decision.
"I filed it to preserve my right to pursue the appeal," he said. "I haven't yet decided whether or not I will."
Caffry said he still feels strongly that "the state was subsidizing private entities on the back of the Forest Preserve."
Ted Blazer, ORDA president and CEO, told the Enterprise last month that he and other ORDA officials listened to and addressed the concerns of all groups when the amendments to Gore's management plan were developed.
He expected trail-cutting work for the interconnect would begin this year, with installation of the chairlift and snowmaking next year.
Contact Chris Knight at 891-2600 ext. 24 or firstname.lastname@example.org.