Posted on March 13th, 2012 25 comments Add a comment >>
The state attorney general is again asking a federal judge to dismiss a lawsuit that demands that the disabled be allowed to fly to remote lakes in regions of the Adirondack Park classified as Wilderness, where motorized use is prohibited. Among the waterways targeted in the suit is Lake Lila, long a prime destination of canoeists and kayakers.
Assistant Attorney General Susan Taylor argues, among other things, that the five men who filed the suit, though disabled, can access Wilderness Areas and many Adirondack lakes without a floatplane.
But Lake Placid attorney Matthew Norfolk says his clients (who include Maynard Baker, the former supervisor of Warrensburg) are unable to visit on foot “truly wild lakes and ponds” in the backcountry.
Norfolk says there are 860 lakes and ponds in Wilderness Areas. The plaintiffs seek permission to fly to thirty-eight of them, those considered big enough to accommodate a floatplane. One of them is Lake Lila, the largest lake in the Adirondack Park totally surrounded by publicly owned Forest Preserve. With its several islands and wild setting, Lila is a popular destination of paddlers.
The other thirty-seven lakes are:
West Canada Lake Wilderness. West Lake, South Lake, Cedar Lakes, Whitney Lake, Mud Lake, Metcalf Lake, Horn Lake, Pillsbury Lake, Spruce Lake.
Pigeon Lake Wilderness. Shallow Lake, Lower Sister Lake, Queer Lake, Constable Pond, Terror Lake, Pigeon Lake, Cascade Lake.
Five Ponds Wilderness. Cage Lake, Salmon Lake, Negro Lake, Rock Lake, Lyon Lake, Witch Hopple Pond, Big Deer Pond, Clear Pond, Crooked Lake, Sand Lake.
Pepperbox Wilderness. Sunshine Pond.
Siamese Ponds Wilderness. Upper Siamese Pond, Lower Siamese Pond, Round Pond, Puffer Pond. 31
Blue Ridge Wilderness. Cascade Pond, Stephens Pond.
Silver Lake Wilderness. Silver Lake.
Pharaoh Lake Wilderness. Pharaoh Lake, Crane Pond.
High Peaks Wilderness. Round Pond.
The plaintiffs filed the suit in U.S. District Court in August 2010, claiming that Wilderness regulations violate the federal Americans with Disabilities Act.
Click the links below to read the latest court filings from the plaintiffs and the state.
Posted on April 22nd, 2009 3 comments Add a comment >>
Just before we went to press for the May/June issue of the Adirondack Explorer, the Adirondack Park Agency voted 9-2 to allow floatplanes to continue landing on Lows Lake for three more years, thus ending almost a year of public debate. As a sop to green groups, the APA and state Department of Environmental Conservation agreed to classify Lows Lake and adjacent state lands as Wilderness. Look for a story on the decision when you get your Explorer. I am posting here two of the important documents relating to the decision. In one, DEC spells out the rationale for allowing commercial pilots to land on Lows and the rules they must abide. The second is a memo to the APA board in support of the proposal, written by the APA’s acting executive director and its counsel. It’s interesting that the memo fails to mention that the APA’s state-lands staff concluded that extending floatplane access to Lows Lake would violate the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan.