Appeals court: Tree-cutting for Adirondacks trails illegal

July 3, 2019

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — A mid-level state appeals court has ruled that the state’s tree-cutting to create new wider snowmobile trails in the Adirondacks is illegal.

The environmental group Protect the Adirondacks sued the state Department of Environmental Conservation in 2013. It said cutting 25,000 trees for the 27 miles of “community connector” trails violated the “forever wild” clause of the state’s constitution.

A trial-level state court ruled in the state’s favor in 2017, but the appellate division reversed the ruling Wednesday.

The state constitution prohibits timber-cutting on state-owned Forest Preserve land in the Adirondacks and Catskills. The DEC had argued that trees less than three inches in diameter don’t count as timber, but the court disagreed.

The DEC said it’s reviewing the court decision and working to determine the best option going forward.

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