Monday, February 22, 2010

Written In Stone?

After nearly four decades, environmental groups and local governments are ready to take a risk and reopen the ever-divisive state Land Master Plan.

Over the last several months, calls for reopening the SLMP have grown louder.
The SLMP outlines acceptable and non-acceptable uses on state lands based on the land-use designation ascribed to it by the Adirondack Park Agency.

It also outlines if man-made structures are allowed or not on state land of a given designation.

Historically, both local governments and green groups have balked at the notion of reopening the SLMP out of fear that it could go bad for them, one way or another.

A DEC proposal to amend the Unit Management plans for the Hurricane Mountain Primitive Area and the St. Regis Mountain Canoe Area is yet another example of a situation that could call for SLMP amendments.

The proposed UMP amendments would require the demolition of the two fire towers in the areas, something that local officials argue is tantamount to selectively gutting the region's cultural history.

Some environmentalists are quick to point out that structures like fire towers are antithetical to the concept of Wilderness and therefore should be removed.

APA Chairman Curt Stiles has repeatedly argued that SLMP amendments aren't that pressing of an issue. He instead would prefer to see the agency's operating procedures revised through either new legislation or amendments to the APA Act itself.

So here's the question: After nearly 40 years, is it time to reopen the SLMP or is Stiles correct in saying that APA operating reform is of greater importance? If it is time to dive into the SLMP, what would you like to see changed?

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