To the editor:
The Adirondack Park Agency will be voting on a general permit (GP) for clear-cutting soon. This is a step in the right direction.
If you believe the Forest Preserve will be clear-cut, this is not true. By Article 14 of the New York State Constitution, trees cannot be cut on state Forest Preserve; roughly half of the Park is state land. The GP will only affect PRIVATE PROPERTY and only the private property of landowners who are enrolled in a third-party certification process. To be certified by one of these organizations, the landowner must have a harvesting plan. This plan must match what the certifying agency requires for a healthy forest. This does not relate to just the trees; plants and animals are taken into consideration. The harvesting plans create habitat for different species. The silvicultural science behind a clear-cut is sound.
I was recently in a meeting with several Adirondack environmental groups. They did not dispute the need for clear-cutting in some forest conditions. The problem with the current permit process is that it is lengthy; the one permit the APA issued took 14 months. One must understand clear-cutting is not a decision made lightly. However, forestry is like gardening: Instead of planning for a summer when gardening, foresters plan for 30 years or more.
The APA is not abandoning its responsibilities, as some groups have claimed. It is trying to streamline its processes. The APA employees who are tasked to approve a GP are the very same APA employees who will recommend approval of a Class A permit to the APA board. The real difference will be in the amount of time it takes for approval.