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In The Adirondacks

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Notes from the North Country

Group seeks lawsuit over snowmobile trails

The environmental group Protect the Adirondacks is seeking court permission to sue the state Department of Environmental Conservation and Adirondack Park Agency over policy on construction of snowmobile trails.

The organization recently sought approval to sue from the Third Department Appellate Division, as required when raising a state constitutional issue.

The group wants to challenge, as a violation of the constitution's "forever wild" clause, how a new community-connector trail was built in the Moose River Plains in Hamilton County, and the use of heavy tracked equipment to groom those trails.

"Protect’s principal objection has been that the 9- to 12-foot wide class II community connector snowmobile trails are basically roads," the group said in announcing the planned lawsuit. "These 'trails' require a high level of construction that changes the terrain and wild character of the Forest Preserve where they are built."

Defenders of the trails say snowmobiling is the economic lifeblood of the Adirondacks in winter, and the trails are limited to "wild forest" areas — not the more-strictly controlled "wilderness" areas.
If the motion is granted, the lawsuit will be filed in State Supreme Court in Albany, Protect the Adirondacks said.

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