APA reviews changes for Whiteface, other state land

RAY BROOK — The state Adirondack Park Agency will tackle management plans for some high-use locations in the Adirondacks, including Whiteface Mountain Ski Center, at its monthly board meeting on Thursday.

After beginning at 9:15 a.m. at APA headquarters in Ray Brook, the State Land Committee will convene at 9:45 to vote on several unit management plans (UMPs). The board will be asked to find conformance with the State Land Master Plan for changes planned at Whiteface in Wilmington.

Whiteface Mountain Ski Center is owned by the state, overseen by the state Department of Environmental Conservation but managed by the Olympic Regional Development Authority under a memorandum of understanding with the DEC. ORDA operates all the 1980 Winter Olympic venues including Whiteface and, in Lake Placid, the ski jumps, Olympic Center ice rinks and Mount Van Hoevenberg sliding and nordic ski facilities.

The changes planned for Whiteface are wide-ranging and include new ski lifts, trails and parking areas, as well as the relocation of lifts and widening of several existing trails.

Next, the committee will vote on whether to send to public comment three proposed UMP amendments for the Black River Wild Forest near Old Forge; the Cranberry Lake Boat Launch; and the Lake George Beach and Battlefield Park.

The Black River Wild Forest is more than 127,000 acres in the southwest corner of the Adirondacks. It is home to hiking, fishing, paddling, snowmobiling and mountain biking opportunities, as well as Woodhull Mountain, which has 102-year-old fire tower. The DEC wants to update the wild forest so snowmobile trails conform with state guidance and construct or improve a couple of parking areas. The DEC also proposes to build several new foot trails to be part of the North Country Scenic Trail.

At the Cranberry Lake boat launch, the DEC is proposing the addition of two accessible parking spaces, along with an accessible beach launch for canoes and kayaks. The DEC is also proposing a new office building and visitor interpretive center in Lake George.

After lunch, the Economic Affairs Committee will get a presentation from the Adirondack Watershed Institute on its Business Community Outreach Program, which looks for businesses to partner with to educate the public on invasive species.

In the afternoon, the Regulatory Programs Committee will hear about a proposed “treetop adventure course” near Lake Luzerne. The course would contain 36 platforms and 44 obstacles suspended from existing mature trees, including an approximately 300-foot long zip line.

The full board meets for final votes at 3:45 p.m. For the full agenda, including mailing packets, go to www.apa.ny.gov/Mailing/2018/04/index.htm.