New York's top court has ruled that the state cannot cut down thousands of trees to create a 27-mile snowmobile trail in the Adirondack Park without voters approving an amendment to the state constitution.
The 4-2 decision by the state Court of Appeals on Tuesday is a victory for environmentalists who sued over the partially built snowmobile trail claiming it violates the “Forever Wild” clause of the state constitution protecting state-owned forest preserve land.
Lawyers for the state Department of Environmental Conservation argued that the number of trees affected per-mile would be relatively small and any impact would be justified by increased recreational opportunities, according to the decision.
The court wrote that the Class II trail, which requires rock removal, grading and cutting down 25,000 trees, is “constitutionally forbidden” without a voter-approved amendment.
The state Department of Environmental Conservation said it is reviewing the decision.
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