I have to agree strongly with Piatt's sentiment - the difference is, Spitzer took responsibility for his actions - Stiles has done no such thing.
No apology. No admission of wrongdoing whatsoever.
It is no wonder the division between the Adirondack Park Agency and Adirondack residents exists, when you have people in power positions at the APA believing they are entitled to something the rest of us are not.
I have left my vehicle at many a locked gate and walked - with my kids for that matter - to a lake or pond whose access had been cut off due to poor road conditions. I like to think our forest rangers have a pretty solid reason for doing this, like the road could pose a hazard to those unaware of its condition.
When a gate is locked, the road is closed to motorized access. Period.
Would you drive around a barricaded road which had been closed because of an accident or natural disaster not knowing of the peril that may lay ahead?
Apparently, Mr. Stiles would. And, those who work with him would no doubt defend his honor, which is exactly what happened here.
When asked if Stiles had broken any law, the APA and DEC determined he had not, because the road he accessed was a private road on which the state holds a conservation easement.
Interestingly, there are a number of similar easements held by the state where gates block access during certain times of the year.
Perkins Clearing in Arietta is one such location that comes to mind. Does this determination by the DEC mean the general public has the right to drive under or around that gate when it is closed for road maintenance?
Dangerous precedent, if you ask me.
So, next time you encounter a locked gate accessing a state conservation easement, leave no rock overturned in your quest to get through.
I'm going to go out on a limb here, however, and say when law enforcement approaches you, the outcome will be a shade different than what Mr. Stiles experienced.
John Gereau is managing editor of Denton Publications and an avid outdoorsman. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org