Why oppose public access to waterways?

To the editor:

Let me say this first: I like Joe Hackett. I enjoy his column and often share his views on environmental issues – with one recent notable exception: I’m having trouble understanding Joe’s position against public access to public waters.

For some reason, Joe seems to think the world would be a better place if members of the paddling public asked permission of private landowners to traverse waters running through their properties, even though the courts have already ruled – twice now – that the public has this right. Personally, I find the notion of asking private citizens permission to use an established public right-of-way to be offensive. (Besides, we know what the answer to that question would be by the cables illegally stretched across public streams with “No Trespassing” signs hanging from them.)

He then goes on to argue that “most defenders of wild places would consider it contrary for an environmental advocate to lobby for a law that allowed unlimited public access.” Many environmental advocates have lobbied for just that. Isn’t that the principle behind Article XIV of our state constitution – protected public lands free and open for the public to use? Not sure why he equates public access to unlimited hordes of commercial operators moving in. Maybe he’s had a bad experience in his guiding business (?).

As an Adirondack guide, Joe no doubt has ties to many large landowners in the Park and has probably hunted, fished, canoed and set up J. Crew catalog photo shoots at many swanky Adirondack Great “Camps.” His defense of large property owners seems transparent and self-serving. Sorry, Joe – I just don’t get it.

Joe Moore

Lake Placid