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Access to Government Lands - New York

New information added on August 29, 2013

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Moose River Plains Plan to Take Away Much Hunting Access

Opposed to Limiting Access to Adirondack Park - Sen. Elizabeth O'C Little Letter to Carol W. LaGrasse, June 5, 2006

"Sacandaga Lake property owner Faults Adirondack Life Article" — Letter to the Editor by Guy Poulin, March 2005
Access permit holders maintain the shoreline, pay income to the Hudson River - Black River Regulating District, and pay premium local property taxes. The April Adirondack Life article attacking the permit holders had many important errors.

"Bulletin - Hearings for Comprehensive Adirondack Snowmobile Plan" - Property Rights Foundation of America. January 2004
Environmentalists long to close down snowmobiling. Sportsmen and women, and all who believe in preserving the rural economy should stand together. Access for snowmobilers helps to keep the Forest Preserve open to all. Full article contains hearing schedule across New York State beginning February 9 in Guilderland, ending March 11 in Utica.

"C.A.N.Y. Speech"
- By Ted E. Galusha, Region 5 Director, Conservation Alliance of New York (CANY)
October 25, 2004
All New York organizations that are working toward freedom from the extreme environmentalists should unite for our common goals.

Letter from Robert K. Davies, Director, DEC Division of Lands and Forests, to Adirondack Explorer, January 13, 2004.
"[S]nowmobiles are an allowable use in non-wilderness areas of the Adirondack Forest Preserve
[T]he dangerous and inflammatory rhetoric used by Mr. Van Valkenburgh in his article is
Such cavalier mention of booby-trapping snowmobile trails should be strongly renounced by everyone who wishes for a civil public process."

"The Adirondack Conservation Council is Sponsoring a 'Sportsman's Rally' and Fund Raiser"
Chicken barbecue at the Schroon Lake Fish & Game Club, August 16, 2003 in support of reopening the roads and waters of state lands.

See Also
See Also

Access to Government Lands - National

APA (Adirondack Park Agency)

Champion International Lands and Lawsuit

Conservation Easements

Government Control of Private Land

Government Land Acquisition

Additional Helpful Organizations
Additional Helpful

New York State Off-Highway Recreational Vehicle Association, Inc.

Conservation Alliance of New York (C.A.N.Y.)
Mike Zagata, President

Additional Resources
Additional Resources

"Oppose DEC ATV Plan!" - by Don Sage, Adirondack Council Life Member, April 28, 2005
This DEC plan to block ATV's from the Adirondacks is based on lies. ATV riding has been formally allowed for decades. Hikers are the most destructive users in the forest preserve. Since 1986, over $6 million has been taken from ATV fees, but there is nowhere to ride on state-owned land. DEC illegally closed 300 town roads in the forest preserve. These and 1,000 miles of trails should be reopened with an interconnecting trail system for all types of recreation.

"Conserving Open Space in New York State - 2001: Draft State Open Space conservation Plan & Generic Environmental Impact Statement-Oct. 2001"- New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.
Contact person Francis Sheehan, DEC (518) 402-9417
View Open Space Plan at DEC web site:
Frank Dunstan, Deputy Commissioner
625 Broadway, 5th floor
Albany, NY 12233-4250

Essential Books & Publications
Essential Books
& Publications

Conserving Open Space in New York State-1997—promulgated by New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.
(This is the latest revision of the Open Space Conservation Plan.)

The Property Owner's Experience-New York's Arbitrary and Excessive Environmental Regulation of Private Land and Resources: Observations and Recommendations for Reform - by Carol W. LaGrasse (Property Rights Foundation of America 1998)
Publication Order Form


In-Depth Information

  • "Save the Historic Cody Place" - By Carol W. LaGrasse, Reprinted from the New York Property Rights Clearinghouse Vol. 17, No. 2
    (PRFA, July 2013)
    The well preserved Cody cabin, dating from 1923, is the only remaining building from the beloved Barber Place complex in West Stony Creek, where all the other buildings, which were in full use, were bulldozed into a pile and burned to ashes by DEC when the state acquired the land in 1974. The existence of this historic building is threatened when the right of occupancy expires on December 31, 2014. Be sure to view the current and historic photos.
  • "Is DEC Planting Trees to Reforest Camping Areas?" - By Carol W. LaGrasse, June 19, 2012
    In the Hudson River Recreation Area in Warren County the author viewed scores of uprooted landscape-size, brand-new balsam fir "Christmas trees" that had just been removed from their planting holes. The concentration of uprooted trees in the once welcoming, but now barricaded, clearing (which is one of many protected for motorized access by a federal court settlement) would have foreclosed any recreational camping or picnicking.
  • "Abolish the APA" - By Carol W. LaGrasse, Letter to the Editor, Post-Star, Glens Falls, N.Y. May 13, 2012
    In support of Don Sage's call to abolish the APA, this letter draws a brief comparison between the practices and attitude demonstrated in the New York State Conservation Commission's 1924 report to the Legislature welcoming vacationing families to camp in the forest preserve and the current APA/DEC eradication of family access and enjoyment of the forest preserve.
  • "Enormous Wilderness Corridors Masquerading as Land Management Refinements" - By Carol W. LaGrasse, Reprinted from New York Property Rights Clearinghouse, Vol. 15, No. 1 (PRFA, Spring 2011)
    The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation's Strategic Plan for its 442 state forests comprising 786,000 acres outside the Adirondack and Catskill Forest Preserves focuses on ensuring connectivity for wildlife movement between large "matrix blocks" of state forests maintained as mature cover connected with wide, natural strips of land with a high percentage of forest cover. This system would enhance connectivity though deep forested areas from Ontario to Georgia.
  • "Buried in the State Budget: Over $50 Million to buy 75,000 Acres for 'Forever Wild' Adirondack Forest Preserve" - Letter to Members of the State Legislature, by Carol W. LaGrasse, President, Property Rights Foundation of America, Inc., March 16, 2011
    While the State Legislature fights about where to cut jobs to meet a huge budget shortfall, hidden in the tentative budget is $50 million to buy private Adirondack land from The Nature Conservancy to block it from public access and kick out the hunting camps: $40 million to acquire over 60,000 acres of prime timberland formerly owned by Finch Pruyn Co. and relegate it to 'forever wild,' never to be logged again, and over $10 million is to acquire 15,000 acres in the area of Follensby Pond, with the same fate.
  • Statement in Opposition to APA/DEC Plans for Moose River Plains - E-mail to APA/DEC by Carol W. LaGrasse, PRFA, September 16, 2010
    Sportsmen beware: The extreme plans for this most popular, yet remote area of the Adirondacks will convert 15,062 acres of land deeded as the Moose River Plains Recreation Area to APA/DEC Wilderness category, forever cutting off roads and all access except for use by the most athletic individuals. So-called "roadside camping," which is simply camping where the motor vehicle can be driven on a narrow dirt road to a parking spot close to the primitive encampment, will be restricted to a thin string one tenth of a mile wide on either side of Cedar River Road. In addition, Otter Brook Road and Indian Lake Road will be closed. The present number of camps of 170 will be reduced to 83. (Many camps have already been stealthily taken away, reducing the number from over 200.) Forty-nine miles of snowmobile trail will be closed and only 14 miles created.
  • Ox Bow Inn"A State Snowmobile Plan & the Local Economy: Worth Commenting" - By Carol W. LaGrasse, Reprinted from the New York Property Rights Clearinghouse, Vol. 14 No. 2 (PRFA, Early Summer 2010)
    A new snowmobile plan for the area in the vicinity of Lake Pleasant in Hamilton County, known by DEC and APA as the Jessup River Wild Forest, is touted as facilitating a "connector" between communities that stops the use of a popular established route that is too deep in the forest for the environmentalists' taste. However, the "connector" dead ends at the Piseco Community Hall, not exactly a snowmobile destination, while prohibiting the use of Oxbow Lake to reach the Oxbow Inn and Oxbow Hotel and eliminating short spurs that make it possible for local residents to get to the trail.
  • "Statement Opposed to the Rerouting Snowmobile Trails in Jessup River Wild Forest" - By Carol W. LaGrasse, PRFA, June 16, 2010
    The proposed plan to reroute snowmobile trails in the Jessup River Wild Forest does not satisfy the Adirondack Park Agency law's requirement for balance. The elimination of trails, lake crossings, and spurs will threaten one of the few surviving businesses in Lake Pleasant, the Ox-Bow Inn on Route 8.
  • "APA Re-votes: Waters & Underlying Land of Lows Lake Are Not Classified" - By Carol W. LaGrasse, PRFA, November 14, 2009
    According to the APA's vote in September, the waters and underlying land of Lows Lake on the border of Hamilton and St. Lawrence Counties would be classified as "wilderness" and "primitive" because the underlying land is state-owned and most of the surrounding land was state-owned. This would have been the first such determination where all of the surrounding land was not state-owned. However, one of the votes was invalid and the APA reconsidered the decision at its November meeting. At this meeting, every commissioner was present and all of the State agency designees sided with the opponents of the classification. In addition, one of the governor-appointed commissioners who had favored the classification reversed his position. The new vote was 7 to 4 in favor of approving the land use classification for the area around Lows lake, but not the lake itself.
  • James McCulley"Victory: Old Mountain Road Opened to Motor Vehicles" - By James McCulley, President, Lake Placid Snowmobile Club, Lake Placid, N.Y., Thirteenth Annual National Conference on Private Property Rights (PRFA, Lake George, N.Y., October 17, 2009)
    Jim McCulley's first-hand account of his successful battle to restore motorized use to Old Mountain Road between Keene and Lake Placid brings the entire history to life. This is the first time DEC has been forced in court, both in the Essex County Supreme Court and in the DEC Administrative Court, to open up a town road that the agency tried to close.
  • Ted Galusha"Righting the APA/DEC Access Policy" - By Ted Galusha, President, Adirondackers for Access, Warrensburg, N.Y., Thirteenth Annual National Conference on Private Property Rights (PRFA, Lake George, N.Y., October 17, 2009)
    In 1998, Ted Galusha and other disabled individuals filed suit in federal court and immediately won an injunction opening the roads, trails and areas that the DEC officers drove on to access the Adirondack Forest Preserve and illegally arrested them on for using motorized vehicles. After three years of fighting in court, they had a consent decree, signed by the judge as a court order on July 5, 2001. This speech is a heart-rending litany of the myriad ways that the state has chosen not to comply with much of the consent decree and the Americans with Disabilities Act.
  • "APA Classifies First Water Body - Lows Lake Mainly 'Wilderness'" - By Carol W. LaGrasse, PRFA, September 20, 2009
    The Adirondack Park Agency asserted a new power in September by classifying a water body for the first time, in this case designating Lows Lake in the town of Long Lake as mainly "wilderness." In addition to designating the waters and bed of the lake as largely "wilderness" and also "primitive," the agency decided that the shores of lakes do not have to be entirely owned by the State of New York for the lake itself to be classified and so managed, as long as the bed of the lake is owned by the State.
  • "Statement in Opposition to the Reclassification of Lows Lake and Vicinity" - By Carol W. LaGrasse, PRFA, August 25, 2009
    The proposed classification of Lows Lake itself (the actual waters of the lake) as wilderness is a new power grab by the APA, which has never before classified the waters of a lake. Acting Executive Director James Connolly called it a "progression in the way it deals with water bodies." This six-page statement shows how the illegalities and injustices in this group of classifications exemplify the bias against seaplanes and the like and favoritism toward canoers, kayakers, and hikers, who are the political clientele of the wealthy who control the APA. Environmental considerations are not a factor.
  • "The Fraud and Double Standard" - By Carol W. LaGrasse, PRFA, August 15, 2009
    The APA was just defeated as it tried to exert illegal jurisdiction over farm worker housing. The wealthy forces from New York City use an environmental façade to victimize local people. A double standard allowed APA Chairman Curt Stiles to unlock a gate to drive through designated "wilderness" to camp at Lake Lila, but ordinary people have to hike to see the lake.

    Hike to Lake Lila Photo Gallery
  • Susan Allen"Statement in Opposition to the Lows Lake Classifications and Reclassifications" - By Susan Allen, August 28, 2009
    This succinct one-page statement covers a range of reasons why the Lows Lake Classifications and Reclassifications should not be approved. For instance: "Dams, roads and private inholdings contradict the description of the area as 'wilderness.'" Bias is indicated by the DEC's plan to increase the number of campsites for canoers, whereas campsites for hunters and families in the forest preserve are being greatly reduced.
  • "Shorefront Owner Access Rights to Sacandaga Threatened" - By Carol W. LaGrasse, Reprinted from New York Property Rights Clearinghouse, Vol. 13, No. 2 (PRFA, Spring 2009)
    A brief essay commenting about the environmentalist effort to lock out Sacandaga Reservoir shorefront access permit holders, where the Hudson River Black River Regulating District is picking off the permit holders one facet or group at a time.
  • "DEC Administrative Judge Rules in Favor of McCulley's Use of Old Mountain Road" - By Carol W. LaGrasse, PRFA, May 31, 2009
    The DEC's Chief DEC Administrative Law Judge James T. McClymonds concluded that the Department of Environmental Conservation staff failed to overcome the presumption that Old Mountain Road between the towns of North Elba and Keene in Essex County continues to exist as a public highway, whether as a town road or other legal public right-of way. DEC Commissioner Alexander B. Grannis then dismissed the DEC enforcement proceeding that had been brought against James W. McCulley because he drove his truck into the Adirondack Forest Preserve on the road.
  • "DEC Should Control Its Beavers" - By Carol W. LaGrasse, PRFA, May 31, 2009
    A beaver dam burst in Warren County, New York, releasing a barrage of water that washed out forty feet of the Upper Hudson Railroad tracks in Riparius. Taxpayers are upset at facing still another delay and expense related to the exorbitant railroad restoration project. But the Department of Conservation, which owns the beavers, should pay for the repair.
  • "Is There an Adirondack Awakening?"
    - By Carol W. LaGrasse, April, 2009 (Reprinted from the
    New York Property Rights Clearinghouse, Vol. 13, No. 1)
    The extreme policies of the Adirondack Park Agency, Department of Environmental Conservation, and Governor David Paterson are arousing opposition that has been brooding for years. Local citizens and officials are expressing mounting anger about the state's regulatory impositions; prosecutions of landowners; obstruction of economic development; unbridled state land acquisition; impeding and closing of travel, recreational access and campgrounds; and the attempted imposition of unbearable real estate taxes.
  • "DEC's Insidious Disregard for the People—Comments on DEC Draft Wilcox Lake Wild Forest UMP"- By Carol W. LaGrasse, President, Property Rights Foundation of America, March 2, 2007
    DEC's insidious disregard for the people is exemplified by its treatment of Stony Creek and environs. The proposed Draft Unit Management Plan for Wilcox Lake Wild Forest should be discarded. The plan should be re-drawn under new assumptions, with the local culture, economy, history, and the community included as salient factors in a plan that respects the local people.
  • "Disabled Apartheid-DEC's Betrayal and Discrimination" - By Carol W. LaGrasse, Hearing Statement on DEC Lake George Wild Forest UMP, Queensbury Town Hall, December 13, 2006.
    DEC has betrayed the visionary effort of the disabled to open up access to the Forest Preserve to people with disabilities and people who are not athletic, by virtually closing down the popular family recreation area on the Hudson River in Warrensburg, which was established on land acquired from Niagara Mohawk, while keeping open the most limited facilities exclusively for the disabled.
  • Encon police ticket Ted Galusha"Land Acquired - But Wait, Access Closed" - By Carol W. LaGrasse (Reprinted from the New York Property Rights Clearinghouse, PRFA, Summer 2006)
    New York State's announcements when acquiring vast tracts of private land for the Forest Preserve promise more access for the public, but over decades, more recently over a very short time, the campsites and access roads are being closed and the land is being cut off from hunters and other recreational users that do not fit the mold approved by extreme environmentalists.
  • "Our Hike on the Threatened Road to Whitehouse-A Photo Story, April 11, 2006" - by Carol W. LaGrasse (PRFA, June 2006)
    In order to enlarge the Silver Lake Wilderness, the State Department of Environmental Conservation proposes to deliberately destroy the West River Road, a town highway leading to the historic site of Whitehouse on the West Branch of the Sacandaga River in Wells, N.Y. Two fine steel suspension footbridges will be deliberately allowed to deteriorate, locally cherished old stone chimneys at the ghost town will be lost, and large, active campsites enjoyed since at least 1962, when the State acquired the land, will be deliberately destroyed. Access to a nineteenth century cemetery will be cut off.
    • "The Cemetery at Whitehouse" - Photo Story by Carol W. LaGrasse (PRFA, June 2006)
      The DEC's radical eradication of highways closes down access to cherished cemeteries, so that descendants and local people who would like to visit, pay their respects, and maintain the graveyards are stymied.
  • Guy Poulin"Organizing Successfully Against the Sacandaga Reservoir Regulating District"-By Guy Poulin, Speech to the Ninth Annual National Conference on Private Property Rights (PRFA, Albany, N.Y., October 22, 2005)
    Guy Poulin, a resident of Northville in Saratoga County, rallied the shoreline owners on the Great Sacandaga Lake when the Hudson River Black River Regulating District Commission obscurely announced that the access permit fees would go sky high. His researched the law controlling the fees, exposed the new scheme, which was illegal, and aroused the property owners to action.

Sign - To the Twin Graves...
Photo Gallery
Our walk to a small graveyard along an old Indian Lake town road barricaded by New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to enlarge the Adirondack Forest Preserve wilderness shocked us with the realization that DEC is eradicating roads, trails, and history.
  • "Essex County Judge Saves Old Road Through Forest Preserve" - By Carol W. LaGrasse, PRFA, April 27, 2005
    Overturning the conviction of James McCulley for driving his snowmobile on Old Mountain Road in the Adirondack Forest Preserve in the North Elba, Judge Andrew Halloran ruled that the road, established by the Legislature in 1810, could not be closed by the Department of Environmental Conservation's regulations.
  • "Group Campaigns to Save Hurricane Mountain Fire Tower" - By Carol W. LaGrasse PRFA, April 21, 2005
    Loyalty to the 80-year old local landmark in Essex County is fueling a battle led by Elizabethtown resident Gretna Longware against the DEC's proposed reclassification of the area to "wilderness," apparently at the behest of influential environmentalists.
  • "Comments on the DEC Draft Comprehensive Adirondack Snowmobile Plan" - By Peter J. LaGrasse, Captain, Stony Creek Emergency Squad, February 9, 2004.
    All trails should be built for pickup truck access so that snowmobile access would double as fire and emergency access. Snowmobile access can also be pickup truck access for the disabled and senior citizens.
  • "Landowner Access to Great Sacandaga Lake is Squeezed"
    - By Carol W. LaGrasse (Reprinted from NY Property Rights Clearinghouse, Property Rights Foundation of America, Fall 2003)
    Conflicts raged over the Hudson River - Black River Regulating District. The District tried to raise access permit fees over 300%. Access permit holder John Barber's Hunt Lake Holding Company sued to keep his lake access location, which the District changed without notice.
  • Peter J. LaGrasse"Statement - Wilcox Lake Wild Forest" - By Peter J. LaGrasse, Captain, Stony Creek Emergency Squad, & Chairman, Stony Creek Board of Assessors, DEC Meeting, Thurman Town Hall, March 8, 2002
    Harrisburg Road should be cleared through beyond Moosewood Club and Baker's Clearing to Wells, other roads cleared, and a network of roads created for pickup trucks, which are what people drive to go fishing, ATVs for recreation, emergency use vehicles, and ambulances.
  • "Statement - Wilcox Lake Wild Forest" - By Carol W. LaGrasse, President, Property of America, DEC Meeting, Thurman Town Hall, March 8, 2002
    Swaths of open area should be cut as fire breaks. Ancient highways should be opened and trails widened for fire protection vehicles. Waite Road and other old roads should be opened to access State land. The State should reverse its anti-ATV policy. Cemetery access should be respected. The State's environmental review should include the cultural and economic impacts, not just biological aspects.
  • "DEC Official Describes Implementation of ADA Consent Decree" - Carol W. LaGrasse, Property Rights Foundation of America, October 14, 2001
    At the monthly meeting of the Adirondack Park Agency on October 11, DEC official Carole Fraser reported on the steps being taken in the Adirondack Park to implement the consent decree that the State reached in July after three years of negotiations with Ted Galusha and the two other handicapped co-plaintiffs to obtain access to the State's wilderness lands under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
  • "Roads and Trails Open to Motor Vehicle use By People With Mobility Impairment Disabilities" - New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, August 29, 2001
    This 16-page chart lists and gives the basic access information to 165 roads and trails into State-owned land throughout New York that are now open to motor vehicle use by people with "mobility impairment disabilities." The roads and trails are located from Suffolk County to St. Lawrence County. The official chart represents an important step in the practical implementation of the 2001 court settlement won in the Galusha lawsuit for handicapped access to State-owned land. Additional accessible roads and trails are being opened and created to enter wildlands, which were the subject of the lawsuit. The applicable disabilities include limitations on sight as well as what are popularly understood to be limitations on mobility. Consult DEC for more details, such as the permit requirements.
  • "DEC settles in access for disabled lawsuit"-Reprinted by permission from the Hamilton County News, July 10, 2001
    The State of New York has caved in to three years of civil rights litigation brought by disabled local residents in federal court. The Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) will give the disabled real access to the State Forest Preserve lands in the Adirondack and Catskill Mountains-including access to motor vehicle roads exclusively used by the State and the expenditure of nearly $4.8 million to make parking areas, restrooms, fishing access sites, boat launches, campsites, picnic areas, equestrian mounting platforms and offices accessible to the disabled. This article describes the settlement and its implications for Hamilton County.
  • "Governor Announces Acquisition of over 26,000 acres of International Paper Company land in Adirondacks" - Property Rights Foundation of America Bulletin, October 6, 2001
    In early October, DEC circulated Governor Pataki's announcement that the State and The Nature Conservancy (TNC) have agreed to preserve 26,562 acres of land in the Adirondacks primarily in Hamilton County, that TNC recently acquired from International Paper Company (IP) for $10.5 million. The land deal appears to be a mix of fee simple and conservation easements, modeled after the Champion International acquisition.

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