Adirondack Park Online Petition
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Sign this petition and help create a new West Stony Creek Wilderness Area in the southern Adirondack Park

We need to show Governor Andrew Cuomo, the Adirondack Park Agency, and the Department of Environmental Conservation that there is strong support for a new Wilderness Area in the southern Adirondack Park. Help make the West Stony Creek Wilderness Area a reality in 2015-16.

Map of the proposed West Stony Creek Wilderness Area

BACKGROUND

The Adirondack Park Agency (APA) will soon take up the issue of formal classification of some 8,500 acres of newly purchased lands for the Forest Preserve. These lands were purchased by the State of New York in early 2014. This purchase enables the creation of a new 12,000-acre Wilderness area in the southern Adirondack Park.

Protect the Adirondacks calls for the creation of a new West Stony Creek Wilderness, consisting of 3,025 acres of lands recently purchased by the State of New York from The Nature Conservancy and over 8,925 acres of existing Forest Preserve lands in the towns of Benson (Hamilton County) and Mayfield, Northampton and Bleecker (Fulton County). This new wilderness connects to the existing Silver Lake Wilderness and provides a wilderness gateway to the southern Adirondack Park.

Some 8,925 acres are currently classified as Wild Forest (see map above) in five different tracts in the Shaker Mountain Wild Forest. The newly purchased lands, part of the former Finch Paper holdings, will allow these Wild Forest tracts to be consolidated into a new, cohesive 12,000-acre Wilderness area that will protect a large intact landscape. This is an accessible wild area opening up Wilderness access within an hour of nearly a million people from Albany to Utica, just north of the Thruway. Most Wilderness areas are more remote in the central Adirondacks.

This is a historic opportunity to create a new Wilderness Area (see map above). We need to show strong support for this bold new proposal.

  1. In recognition of the wild character of this area, the Northville-Placid trail (NPT) has been rerouted through the West Stony Creek tract as part of the Shaker Mountain Wild Forest Unit Management Plan (UMP). This will provide a stunning new beginning for this landmark trail that takes hikers off a road trail and puts them in a wild setting for nine miles before they enter the Silver Lake Wilderness area. Just as the northern end of this iconic Adirondack trail is in the High Peaks Wilderness, now the southern end will also terminate in a wilderness area, enhancing the wilderness experience of both through and day hikers.
  2. The Forest Preserve lands contain mature forests with many trees over 150 years old. Over six miles of West Stony Creek meanders through this tract, connected to various wetland systems. West Stony Creek, whose waters run into the Sacandada Reservoir and then into the Hudson River, is classified and protected under the NYS Wild, Scenic, and Recreational Rivers Act. The best protection for this stunning river is a Wilderness classification.
  3. This country is generally high and rugged, containing 10 unnamed peaks in the 2,000-foot range, and numerous ponds, beaver ponds, and wetlands, including several tributaries that feed Stony Creek. These hills have local names, including Maple and Gifford Hills, to the north of Mud Pond, Ash, Tripoli, Deer, and Cyrus Hills to the southwest, and Pinnacle Mountain to the south. (This Pinnacle is not to be confused with another Pinnacle Mountain further west in the Shaker Mountain Wild Forest.) Commonly, they contain numerous rock ledges and have steep cliffs and rise sharply near the top. These characteristics have preserved old growth forests and scenery. Some of them have great views from the top, but most of them are forested over the top, with no views.
  4. Wilderness areas protect whole ecosystems. In the Adirondack Park, Wilderness areas allow for broad forested landscapes to be permanently protected in a state where natural processes can proceed year after year unimpeded with by human interference. The best natural resource protection is through Wilderness classification and management.
  5. Wilderness opportunities grow fewer each year as more and more places are developed across the U.S., especially east of the Mississippi River. Lands that are classified and managed as Wilderness areas become part of a relatively small and specially recognized wild places in the eastern U.S.
  6. People need quiet, untrammeled, motorless places where they can unplug and get away. The solitude of a Wilderness area, accessed by a narrow hiking trail, or bushwhack, is a rare experience that becomes more important and more valuable with each passing year.
  7. Wilderness areas do not allow motor vehicle use and thus do not have roads and snowmobile trails. Wild Forest areas in the Adirondacks have seen infestations of terrestrial invasive species along roads that penetrate into their interiors. Wilderness areas provide greater protections against invasive species.
SIGN THE PETITION BELOW AND TAKE A STAND FOR WILDERNESS IN THE ADIRONDACK PARK
Aeriel photo of the poposed West Stony Creek Wilderness Area

THE THREAT

Supporters of expanded motor vehicle use in the Adirondack Park are calling for all new Forest Preserve lands to be classified as Wild Forest, which allows automobiles on designated roads and rampant snowmobile trails. New roads and motor vehicle use fragment the forest and cause natural resource damage.

WILDERNESS CLASSIFICATION IS THE RIGHT CHOICE FOR THE ADIRONDACK PARK

The West Stony Creek Wilderness is a balanced and appropriate proposal. Of the 160,000 acres of former Finch Paper lands that were purchased by The Nature Conservancy, 95,000 acres were sold as conservation easements, where logging will continue in perpetuity. Of the 65,000 acres being sold to New York State for Forest Preserve, more than half will be classified as Wild Forest and be opened to a variety of motorized uses.

After the Forest Preserve classification hearings of 2013, there are now over 1,160,000 acres of Wilderness compared with over 1,275,000 acres of Wild Forest. There remains across the Forest Preserve well over 100,000 acres more classified Wild Forest lands, which permits various types of motor vehicle use, than non-motorized Wilderness lands.

The creation of a new West Stony Creek Wilderness Area will help to bring a better balance to state management of the "forever wild" Forest Preserve.

Click here for more information on the exciting proposal to create a new 12,000-acre west stony creek wilderness area.

PRIVACY STATEMENT

Your information will not be shared with anybody other than New York State Governor Andrew M. Cuomo's office and state agencies will not be used for any other purpose than to contact you regarding this petition.

YES, I SUPPORT THE NEW 12,000-ACRE WEST STONY CREEK WILDERNESS AREA!

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