I reside in Stony Creek in Warren County, within the wretched Blue Line. I am a retired civil and environmental engineer and the president of the Property Rights Foundation of America, Inc., based in Stony Creek. PRFA is a national grassroots non-profit educational organization, founded because of the disdain for private property ownership and property rights and the injustice that the Adirondack Park Agency and the DEC consistently impose on the people of the Adirondacks.
I have been commenting at the DEC's and APA's obnoxious hearings since 1973, when I spoke at a first hearingin New York City, where I lived at the timeon the Adirondack Park land use plan, which I now realize was an initiative in injustice. I have a perfect record at DEC and APA hearings and other opportunities to comment on the policies of these agencies. A perfect zero. Nothing of substance, to my knowledge, from my remarks has ever been taken into account. I know that my statement is disdained and will be disregarded.
But, in spite of the stressful travel over lonely mountain roads to the July 13 Lows Lake hearing at Long Lake and the time spent to prepare this statement, I feel a civic duty and an obligation to the ordinary people who share the circumstance of living in these mountains to speak out, especially since many people tell me that they are too afraid of the APA to express their viewpoints publicly.
The plan to close seaplane access to Lows Lake by instituting the Bog River Flow Complex UMP changes and by moving Lows Lake Primitive Area into the Five Ponds Wilderness involves bureaucratic complexity making the process incomprehensive to the general public and therefore illegal, and is illegal for other reasons, unjust, irrelevant or harmful to environmental protection, and may involve a conspiracy with environmental groups, who seem to work inside the APA and DEC to govern the people of the region without elected representation. The APA/DEC intention to close seaplane access to Lows Lake should be rejected.
The Bog River Flow Complex UMP should be re-offered for public comment, because the members of general public were confused by the unnecessary complexity of the stages of the classification of Lows Lake. People has little idea that the revision to the Bog River Flow Complex UMP was considered by the DEC/APA to be the decision-making event with respect to the policy of eliminating seaplane access to Lows Lake, especially considering that the hearings on Lows Lake's re-classification remained to be held. It is doubtful that this sector of the general public generally understood the respective roles of the Bog River Flow Complex UMP and the Lows Lake reclassification into wilderness by shifting it to the Five Ponds Wilderness area.
It is questionable, also, whether this duplex system of land classification (where Lows Lake itself is classified as part of a larger unit of multiple types of land classifications and also as a sub-unit with a single land classification, under a separate process) is valid. It is my opinion that a "complex" UMP made up of more than one classification, such as the Bog River Flow Complex UMP comprised of the Five Ponds Wilderness, Eastern Five Ponds Access Primitive Area and other areas, is not provided for by statute or the State Land Master Plan.
These are some of the grounds under which the plan to close Lows Lake is illegal:
The idea to make the lake "wilderness" by eliminating the pleasure, renewal, and healthy activity that people could experience by accessing the lake is hostile to the most basic premise of government, that the good of the people should be paramount. "Public health and welfare" is a fundamental of every level of government in the United States. The idea of converting the popular lake, which is enjoyed through seaplane use, to "wilderness," is also in conflict with the APA law, which calls for balance.
I have concluded that the reclassification of Lows Lake, like so many APA and DEC actions, is for the purpose of harming the ability of local businesses to survive, and that this is part of their goal, shared with the environmental groups, to drive out the local people by destroying the local economy. This suits the goal of turning the entire region into untrammeled "wilderness" consistent with the Champlain-Adirondack Biosphere Reserve designation, which was accomplished by UNESCO as a result of the application of planner Edward J. Hood on behalf of the APA.
There is always more land to acquire by over-bidding everyday potential buyers, and hence the ability to drive out the people. To use the power of government office to drive people out of their communities is unjust.
The injustice also extends to the favoritism of one group of users, the canoeists and kayakers, in their late twentieth century, ultra-light, high-tech craft, over the seaplane users, whose use of the lake is to be verboten because the planes are also twentieth century technology. The policy of favoring one group of users over others is discriminatory.
IRRELEVANT OR HARMFUL TO ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION
The natural beauty and the quality of Lows Lake survive the use by people who have accessed it by seaplanes for many decades. This natural beauty and quality of the artificial lake survive the motor vehicle road that leads directly to the lake, and the use of the land along the perimeter of the lake by a large Boy Scout camp, also accessed by motor vehicles. Prohibition of seaplanes by declaring Lows Lake to be "wilderness" is, at best, irrelevant to environmental protection.
There exists no practical environmental purpose of making Lows Lake inaccessible to all but canoeists and a select few who can hike to it across the state Forest Preserve land or who travel the motor vehicle road leading to it or who are among the 300 campers who use the Boy Scout camp yearly. Ironically, overuse by canoeists has already been recognized since the Bog River Flow was acquired in 1984. Non-maintained trails (which is a common condition of DEC trails) used for portaging from one water body to another become sources of erosion, but people arriving from the air do not require trails.
It appears that the classification of the lake as "wilderness" is a step toward a future for which the APA and DEC envision an even more radical situation. If it is ultimately the APA and DEC's mutual goal to acquire all of the land around Lows Lake, that could lead to environmental harm, under the current APA/DEC policy of obstructing and prohibiting adequate fire suppression access.
CONSPIRACY WITH ENVIRONMENTAL GROUPS?
In May 2008 environmental groups brought a lawsuit to stop seaplane access to Lows Lake. This was the action that triggered the APA and DEC changing their regulation of Lows Lake. The groups that brought the lawsuit read like a directory of the entities that have successfully brought about new regulations to eliminate or restrict uses of the Adirondack Forest Preserve cherished by local people and those who use motor vehicles for access. The groups that brought the lawsuit to eliminate seaplanes on Lows Lake were the Adirondack Mountain Club, Association to Protect the Adirondacks, Residents Committee to Protect the Adirondacks, and Sierra Club. The APA and DEC seem to be waiting for these lawsuits and promptly comply.
This issue of possible sweetheart lawsuits has never been investigated. But it seems possible that the use of a tool like a lawsuit settlement is the way the APA and DEC avoid any questions that might arise from their issuing new regulations out of the blue to block access to the Forest Preserve. Prohibiting seaplane access to Lows Lake by amending the Bog River Flow Complex Unit Management Plan and by reclassifying Lows Lake to become part of the Five Ponds Wilderness area is just the latest example.
When will it stop?