APA: Grannis ruling could lead to reopening of old roads

Additionally, the APA argues that the Master Plan determinations made in 1987 were never called into question by either town.

The APA says that the Grannis decision could result in a domino-effect, creating the potential for reopening other, similar roads, like the Marcy Dam truck trail in the High Peaks Wilderness Area.

According to the APA, the truck trail "illustrates a closure in fact that has been a long-settled issue between the state and the town of North Elba which is potentially reopened" by the May 2009 decision.

The APA's Keith McKeever says the Grannis decision could potentially lead to Adirondack towns pushing to reopen old roads like the Marcy Dam truck trail or the South Meadow road.

Matt Norfolk is an attorney from Lake Placid and has represented McCulley throughout the case.

"You've got to change this decision - this is how I read it - because the impact would be widespread and detrimental to all the APA and DEC has tried to accomplish, in that all of these roads, they say, could be reopened."

Norfolk questions why the APA is now crying foul over the Grannis decision, when in 2005, Essex County Court Judge Andrew Halloran levied a similar opinion.

In his 2005 ruling, Judge Halloran wrote that "the state had the burden at the trial of proving abandonment by non-use by the public for six years. It failed to meet that burden."

"That's law - that's actually a real court," Norfolk said. "A county court, on appeal, basically had the same decision as DEC - it's a town road, because you didn't close it properly. It doesn't just happen by osmosis. So the precedent has already been set and it's already out there."

The APA is arguing that South Meadow Road, the Marcy Dam truck trail, and Indian Pass were closed through the adoption of the State Land Master Plan, and that the DEC commissioner lacks jurisdiction on the matter.

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