‘Stern ideological warrior’? Hardly

The Daily Enterprise editorialized (March 25, “A half-step forward”) to celebrate a procedural motion in Protect the Adirondacks’ lawsuit against the Adirondack Park Agency challenging its approvals of the Adirondack Club and Resort project.

In Peter Crowley’s editorial, he failed to note that this decision made zero rulings on the merits of any of Protect’s 29 allegations in its lawsuit.

He seized the moment, though, to criticize Protect and attack its staff as a “stern ideological warrior.” I think that generally the Daily Enterprise gets high marks for the evenhandedness of its reporting on the ACR issue. It would be a real disservice to its readers and the larger Adirondack Park community if Daily Enterprise editor Peter Crowley lets his editorial writing go the way of other Adirondack newspapers and resorts to making stuff up.

Let’s look at the “stern ideological warrior” bit. Protect is being lambasted for its lawsuit challenging the legality of the state’s construction of road-like snowmobile trails in the Forest Preserve. Protect’s predecessor organizations supported a Forest Preserve reclassification changing wilderness to wild forest in Piseco to allow a new snowmobile trail there. We also supported the Alice Brook Primitive Corridor for a new snowmobile trail through the Five Ponds Wilderness. We supported wild forest classification for the Watson’s East Triangle area, among others. In these issues and so many others, we’ve acted pragmatically to do what is right for the natural resources and communities of the Adirondack Park.

We were early and strong supporters of conservation easements at a time when many believed all state land purchases should be Forest Preserve only. While we’ve seen hundreds of thousands of acres purchased as easements, we oppose things like big clearcuts on easement lands. We’ve supported many Forest Preserve purchases, too. But again, hardly an ideological pattern.

Protect opposes the NYCO constitutional amendment but support the Township 40 amendment. We worked to come up with solutions around the Route 56, Raquette Lake water supply and Keene cemetery amendments – all of which we supported. We’ve supported state expansions of ski areas, too. Not much ideology at play.

We called for the removal of the Hurricane Mountain and St. Regis Mountain fire towers – because they violated state laws – but supported the Mount Adams and Wakely Mountain fire towers (and took a lot of heat from people who wanted them all removed).

We supported laws for controls on jet skis – but believed that these decisions should be made locally. Brighton and North Elba passed bans. Harrietstown chose not to act. No big deal. We’ve supported acid rain and climate change and smart-growth planning funding. Where’s the stern ideology?

Protect manages one of the Park’s biggest water quality monitoring programs and a forest stewardship program where landowners cut trees on their lands.

The list goes on.

Even the most bitter opponents of environmental protections and of Protect will be hard pressed to find a stern ideological approach.

As we’ve stated many times, the lawsuit against the Adirondack Park Agency over the ACR project goes beyond Tupper Lake and challenges a number of ruinous precedents for the Adirondack Park in the APA’s review and decision to approve this project.

There are plenty of other folks happy to call people names. There are plenty of other folks who play fast and loose with the facts. Mr. Crowley is certainly free to agree or disagree with Protect. But when he agrees or disagrees, we only ask that he plays it fair and doesn’t just make stuff up.

Peter Bauer lives in Lake George and is executive director of Protect the Adirondacks.