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APA approves campsite guidance, with changes

Floodwood Road campsite number 2 on the shore of Polliwog Pond would be permanently closed under a DEC plan for the Saranac Lakes Wild Forest. (Enterprise photo — Justin A. Levine)

RAY BROOK — On Friday, the state Adirondack Park Agency approved a guidance document that will help determine how primitive campsites in backcountry locations should be designed, monitored and managed.

The guidance — created by the state Department of Environmental Conservation — is not legally binding, but it creates baselines for how large primitive sites can be and where they should be located.

Primitive sites are those that are non-reserveable, are on state Forest Preserve lands and are not located along a road.

APA board member Chad Dawson pushed back on the guidance that a 1,200-square-foot campsite is acceptable in terms of size. He said the size of the sites is too large to be considered “Leave No Trace.” DEC board representative Bob Stegemann said that is the maximum size allowed, and not all sites will be that size. Dawson said the DEC should consider various site designs that reduce their overall size, such as clustering small sites near a communal cooking area.

Stegemann suggested the guidance document be changed slightly so DEC is compelled to inspect and monitor sites with regularity, and the APA State Land Committee approved those changes.

The Primitive Tent Site Guidance was approved, with the changes, by the full board.