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Entries Tagged as 'lewis county'

Adirondack Forest Ranger Search and Rescue Highlights: 1/12-01/18/15

January 22nd, 2015 · No Comments · Adirondack News

NYSDEC LogoNew York State Department of Environmental Conservation Forest Rangers respond to search and rescue incidents statewide. Working with other state agencies, local emergency response organizations and volunteer search and rescue groups, Forest Rangers locate and extract lost, injured or distressed people from the backcountry.

“DEC Forest Rangers’ knowledge of first aid, land navigation and technical rescue techniques are often critical to the success of their missions,” said DEC Commissioner Joe Martens. “Search and rescue missions often require Rangers to function in remote wilderness areas from rugged mountainous peaks to white-water rivers, and through vast forest areas from spruce-fir thicket to open hardwoods.”

Recent missions carried out by DEC Forest Rangers in the Adirondacks include:

Hamilton County

Town of Indian Lake
Injured Hiker: DEC Dispatch received a call from Hamilton County 911 at 3:00 p.m. on January 17 advising of an injured Boy Scout hiking on the Blue Mountain hiking trail. The Boy Scout Group secured the 17-year-old boy and began bringing him down the mountain. DEC Forest Rangers and the Blue Mountain Fire Department located the group on the trail at 4:57 p.m., and placed the injured boy in a Stokes Litter, brought him down Blue Mountain to a waiting Blue Mountain Lake Ambulance Squad at the trailhead. He was transported to Adirondack Health in Saranac Lake for treatment. The incident concluded at 6:15 p.m.

Town of Indian Lake
Injured Snowmobiler: DEC Forest Rangers responded to a snowmobile accident in the Moose River Plains area on January 19 at 1:44 p.m. A member of a snowmobile party called DEC Ray Brook Dispatch, informing them that a 30-year-old man from Hamilton, NJ, struck a tree while riding a snowmobile trail. Indian Lake Fire & Rescue Department also responded. Responders, including Indian Lake Fire & Rescue Department, reached the injured man at 2:30 p.m. and administered first aid. Crews brought him out to the nearest trailhead by rescue toboggan behind a snowmobile. The Indian Lake Ambulance Squad transported him to Glens Falls Hospital for treatment. The incident concluded at 3:44 p.m.

Lewis County

Town of Watson
Injured Snowmobiler: On January 17 at 12:30 p.m. a caller notified DEC Ray Brook Dispatch about a snowmobile accident three miles east from the intersection of McCarty Road and Stillwater Road. Three DEC Forest Rangers and Lewis County Search and Rescue responded to the location. They discovered an injured 45-year-old female from Clifton Park, NY who they assessed and stabilized for transport via rescue toboggan behind a snowmobile to a waiting ambulance at the intersection of Stillwater Road and Number 4 Road. The injured snowmobiler was taken by ambulance to a helicopter and then flown to Syracuse Hospital for treatment at 3:30 p.m. Town of Webb Police Department snowmobile patrol assisted in the rescue.

Be sure to properly prepare and plan before entering the backcountry. Visit DEC’s Hiking Safety and Adirondack Trail Information web page for more information.

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Environmental Org Warns ‘Snirt’ ATV Rally Has Grown Too Big

April 11th, 2014 · 1 Comment · Adirondack News

April 12 Event Now Draws 3,600 All-Terrain Vehicles to Tug Hill’s Lewis County Trails & Roads, Leaves Lasting Scar on Landscape & Rivers

Adirondack CouncilLOWVILLE, N.Y. – The Adirondack Park’s largest environmental organization has called on the Lewis County Board of Legislators to reconsider its prediction that an annual all-terrain vehicle (ATV) rally causes no environmental harm.

The Adirondack Council wants Lewis County officials to conduct a full environmental impact study of the annual SNIRT (Snow/Dirt) Rally, which allows ATV riders from across the Northeast to use public highways and the county’s trails to travel between local taverns.

The event causes erosion, excessive noise and disturbances to fish and wildlife, while destroying vegetation, intrudes on quiet neighborhoods and imperils human lives, the Adirondack Council said. Any one of these is reason enough to require a full environmental review under state law, the organization warned.

The SNIRT event drew only a few hundred participants when it began 11 years ago. In recent years, however, more than 3,500 riders have participated. The event’s impact has expanded from Tug Hill into the Adirondack Park, near Brantingham Lake, at the edge of the Independence River Wild Forest.

“We are extremely disappointed that the board of legislators has decided to operate an all-terrain vehicle rally without implementing the necessary changes that would minimize the environmental damage this event has caused in the past,” said Adirondack Council Legislative Director Kevin Chlad in an April 8 letter to the board.

“SNIRT’s rapid and uncontrolled expansion has overwhelmed the capacity of law en forcement, leading to an epidemic of trespassing on both state and private lands. Such lawlessness should be unacceptable to the county’s lawmakers,” Chlad wrote. “Further, we find it troubling that you continue to allow this event on public highways within the Adirondack Park.”

Chlad noted that that operation of ATVs on public highways is illegal, unless roads are properly opened.

“We believe that Lewis County has violated the provisions of section 2405 of the Vehicle and Traffic Law,” which limits the roads that may be opened to ATV traffic to only short distances, and onlywhere they can connect two already-legal ATV-riding areas or trails. Instead, the county opens roads that connect only to other roads.

Chlad said the county appears to be mistakenly relying upon another section of the V&TL (section 2408) to justify its road openings, when that section is merely a set of instructions for how to notify the public of special events.

“The Adirondack Council continues to recommend that a formal State Environmental Quality Review be conducted so that officials may monitor the full extent of damage that the event inflicts, both on the region’s roads and its natural resources,” Chlad advised.

Chlad said the organization strongly disagreed with the county’s finding that the annual event has so little impact on the environment that there is no need for a formal environmental impact study. He reminded county officials that the NY State Environmental Quality Review Act requires a formal environmental review of any proposed event that would cause one of the following to environmental changes:

  • Substantial adverse change in noise levels;
  • Substantial increase in soil erosion;
  • Destruction of large quantities of vegetation;
  • Substantial interference with the movement of fish or wildlife;
  • Impairment of aesthetic resources of community or neighborhood character; or,
  • Creation of a hazard to human health.

Over the past five years, the SNIRT Rally has caused all six of these impacts, Chlad said.

He noted that most of them can be witnessed on videos posted by the event’s participants.

“The Adirondack Council believes that this overdue assessment is a reasonable and necessary step towards improving this event in the future, as it would allow for proper environmental safeguards to be put in place,” he wrote. “We understand and support the county’s desire to boost tourism. However, we strongly believe that state law calls for events such as this to be carefully planned and strictly supervised to prevent the widespread abuses of public and private property that have been left in the wake of every previous SNIRT event.

“A lack of attention to these details encourages a culture of wanton environmental destruction, and at worst, simultaneously promotes drinking and driving with reckless disregard for public and private property and the well-being of other riders,” he noted.

In 2013, dozens of SNIRT participants had to be rescued by local rescue and law enforcement officials when they left the highways that had been opened to them and trespassed into local farm fields, where they were stranded by deep snows. Lewis County still has a significant snowpack as this weekend’s event approaches.

The Adirondack Council is privately funded, not-for-profit organization whose mission is to ensure the ecological integrity and wild character of New York’s six-million-acre Adirondack Park. The Council envisions an Adirondack Park comprised of core wilderness areas, surrounded by working forests and farms, and vibrant rural communities. The Council carries out its mission and vision through research, education, advocacy and legal action. Adirondack Council members live in all 50 United States.


Recent video of SNIRT Rally: Note that multi-passenger vehicles with roofs are too large to be legally registered as ATVs in NY State. Note also the constant presence of alcohol in these videos, as well as the riders leaving the roads and trails to cross wetlands and farm fields, both of which are supposed to be off-limits to all riders.


Snirt Run 2012 (Whiskey Riders)


2013 Snirt Run

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DEC Modifies Forest Conservation Easement to Allow Leasing of 220 Camps and State Acquisition of 2,900 Acres of Forest Land

March 30th, 2012 · No Comments · Adirondack News

Leasing of Former Champion Lands in Adirondacks
by Heartwood Forestland Fund to Continue

Deal Adds 2,146 Acres to the State Forest Preserve
and Creates 651-Acre State Forest

NYSDEC LogoLeasing of recreational camps on the former Champion lands in Franklin, Herkimer, Lewis and St. Lawrence counties will be allowed under an agreement reached this week with the state and Heartwood Forestland Fund III, LP, the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Joe Martens announced today. As part of the agreement, Heartwood Forestland, the owner of a conservation easement on the former Champion lands, will transfer 2,797 acres of valuable wildlife habitat in the Deer River corridor to the state.

“Today’s agreement recognizes the importance hunt clubs play in the day-to-day management of these lands and in ensuring the long-standing traditions of hunting, fishing, camping and hiking will continue,” said Commissioner Martens. “DEC and Heartwood Forestland worked cooperatively with area stakeholders to ensure these camps can continue to be an important destination for hunters and their families in this remote area of the Park. DEC continues its efforts to create and maintain important recreational opportunities on state lands and lands subject to conservation easements.”

Under the new terms of the agreement, Heartwood Forestland will retain the right to permanently lease no more than 220 camp sites located on the 110,000 acres of forest lands on which the state acquired a working forest easement in 1999. In return, the company will transfer the 2,797 acres of land to the state in two parcels adjacent to the state’s existing Deer River holdings.

A 2,146-acre parcel within the Adirondack Park will be added to the State Forest Preserve as part of the recently classified Deer River Primitive Area, and a 651-acre parcel outside the Park will become a new State Forest. These parcels will provide access to a previously-inaccessible, detached Forest Preserve property and will be open to the public for hunting, fishing, camping, hiking and other outdoor recreation.

Under the terms of the 1999 agreement with Champion, the leased camps on the easement property acquired by Heartwood Forestland were to be removed by 2014. DEC and Heartwood Forestland worked with many other stakeholders to explore options to keep the tradition of camp leasing viable in this area. The new agreement will provide Heartwood Forestland with the discretion to permit the camps to remain on one-acre parcels after 2014. The entire 139,000-acre property will be open to public hunting, except for the one-acre camp parcels.

“This is great news for the north country,” said Robert Snider, Town of Clifton Town Supervisor. “The tradition of hunting and hunting camps is an important part of our heritage.”

Charles H. Collins, Managing Director, the Forestland Group, LLC which manages Heartwood Forestland said, “We are pleased this project is now complete as it aligns the Champion easement with the other conservation easements in the Adirondack Park. This amendment will demonstrate that traditional, regional uses of this ownership can be combined with our fundamental goals of sustained natural resource management and access to these lands for the general public. This project will benefit the natural resources of the Adirondack Park, the communities and residents who live in and around the Park, and the Park’s many visitors both from within New York state and around the country. The cooperative effort involved in this project is a testament to its value to the North Country. We look forward to a continued close working relationship with all of our conservation partners.”

Brian Houseal, of the Adirondack Council, stated, “This revised Champion lands conservation easement will ensure the protection of this important working forest as an economic asset for the Adirondack region, as well as preserve over 2,100 acres as Forever Wild Forest Preserve for future generations of New Yorkers.”

New York State Conservation Council’s Access and Land Use Specialist, Walt Paul, said, “It’s a great day and I’m sure a relief for families with camps on the former Champion Lands to finally have some resolution to this situation after 12 years of hard work by many, many people. The sporting community recognizes and truly appreciates the hard work and persistence on the part of DEC staff to bring this to closure. What became evident during the discussion and seemed to be a turning point is the realization that sportsmen and women and their families have been good stewards of these lands for many years and that the contributions they make to our regional economies are significant and very important.”

The Agreement was publically noticed in the November 4, 2009 Environmental Notice Bulletin and included a 48-day public comment period. The Agreement was also approved by the Adirondack Park Agency after a public comment period, the Offices of the Attorney General and the State Comptroller. A full Environmental Impact Statement and Responsiveness Summary was also prepared for the agreement, which is available for viewing on DEC’s website at

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