Adirondack Council criticizes DEC plan to allow motor vehicle access in protected Hopkinton forestland
Sunday, November 5, 2017 - 4:14 pm

HOPKINTON -- The Adirondack Council is calling on the NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation to withdraw its proposal to construct a new road through a wild and remote Adirondack Park landscape.

The DEC plan calls for the purchase of an easement on the Five Mile CE, which includes the right for public motor vehicle access from May 1 to September 30, provides the only opportunity to allow public motor vehicle access to the Kildare Tract.

According to the plan a new road will be built following Route 5. The department will also pursue the possibility of acquiring public motor vehicle rights for the period of Oct. 1 thru at least the end of the big game season, or preferably year round, from the landowner.

According to the council, the road could prevent the creation of a planned wilderness area, bisect an old-growth forest and degrade the habitat of at least two endangered species - the spruce grouse and a rare dragonfly.

This new road in the Adirondacks "raises very alarming ecological and legal concerns," said Raul (Rocci) Aguirre, Director of Conservation for the Adirondack Council, in a letter to DEC's Conservation Easement office in Potsdam.

He says the DEC’s own plan for managing the Adirondack Park says "Ecological resources found here are considered to be critical on both a regional and global scale."

"The Adirondack Council opposes construction of the 1.25-mile connector road and the subsequent opening up of approximately 17.5 miles of roads" nearby, Aguirre explained. "We request that a more comprehensive, detailed, and science-based second draft be completed that prioritizes natural resource and ecological protections."

The DEC's plans were contained in a draft Amendment to the Five Mile Interim Recreation Management Plan and Conservation Easement Portion of the Raquette Boreal Complex Unit Management Plan.

The proposed roads would cross 12,000 acres of forests, streams, wetlands and commercial timberlands where the state owns the recreational rights, through a conservation easement. The easement lands are located in southeastern St. Lawrence County, adjacent to public Forest Preserve in the Raquette-Jordan Boreal Primitive Area.

The Adirondack Council is a privately funded not-for-profit organization whose mission is to ensure the ecological integrity and wild character of the Adirondack Park. The Council envisions a Park comprised of core wilderness areas, surrounded by farms and working forests, as well as vibrant, local communities.

The Council carries out its mission through research, education, advocacy and legal action. Adirondack Council members live in all 50 United States.