APA: No need for lean-to removal

RAY BROOK - Following a report aired last week on WNBZ radio, the Adirondack Park Agency is clarifying its stance on lean-tos within the Blue Line.

For several years, the state Department of Environmental Conservation has been removing structures in the park that don't comply with the State Land Master Plan. That includes fire towers, tent platforms, snowmobile trails and some lean-tos.

Some park residents say the structures should be considered historic and left alone, but the DEC, bound by state law, has proceeded with their removal nonetheless.

That removal, though, does not necessarily include lean-tos. The APA's Keith McKeever said lean-tos in compliance with the State Land Master Plan, commonly referred to as the SLMP, are safe.

"The lean-to is an authentic Adirondack structure," he said. "In the SLMP, lean-tos are compatible in all land-use classifications. There is a directive that older lean-tos that are very close to waterways, if they're going to be rehabbed or rebuilt, that you do so by moving them 150 feet from the shoreline."

McKeever explained that the 150 feet rule for lean-to rehabilitation exists for several reasons.

"We want to make sure people can enjoy the waterways and see a natural shoreline," he said.

Additionally, McKeever said keeping lean-tos away from the shoreline is a public health precaution.

"You don't want to have a lot of camping right up on waterways when you don't have the facilities to deal with sanitary waste and things like that," he said. "Overall the lean-to is compatible in all the land-use classifications in the park and there's no intention by the agency and there's nothing at all in the master plan that says lean-tos need to be removed."

When the SLMP first implemented, lean-tos were often clustered in tight groups. The master plan does call for three of those clusters to be removed or scattered.

McKeever said putting space between those clusters has been viewed as a good thing.

"We like to have some site separation between the lean-tos so campers aren't piled up on top of each other," he said.

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