This presentation will provide an overview of how New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) relies on diverse partnerships and collaboration to meet our transportation mission while preserving park-like character and ecological integrity within the Adirondack Park.
The Adirondack Park is a unique 6 million acre landscape (approx. 3.4 million are privately owned and 2.6 million are state owned). The ecosystem includes 42 mountain peaks over 4,000 feet, over 3,000 lakes and ponds, 1,200 miles of river and over 30,000 miles of streams and brooks. This remarkable landscape is the largest publicly protected area in the contiguous United States, larger than Grand Canyon, Yosemite, Yellowstone and Everglades combined. Approximately 130,000 people live in the Park and an estimated 3.5 million travelers visit annually. Twenty-eight State Highway Travel Corridors span the Park, resulting in more than 2,400 lane miles used by tourists and locals for recreation access, commuting and commerce.
The mix of property ownership, resources and uses creates complex relationships between the wild landscape, human environment, abundant natural resources, scenic character, and recreational opportunities that support the Park’s tourism-based economy. The management of this world-class has long been a topic of concern and debate, predating its establishment in 1892 as one of the first Forever Wild Forest Preserves in the nation. Today stewardship of this remarkable resource continues to depend on coordination, partnerships, and collaborations at many scales and across multiple boundaries.
The Adirondack Park State Land Masterplan provides broad planning direction parkwide. Management of travel corridors is defined in the Master Travel Corridor Unit Management Plan for State Highways in the Adirondack Park (Master TCUMP, 2021). Travel corridor planning coordinates and integrates the planning and programming responsibilities of State agencies that share statutory responsibility for travel corridors. It also lays the groundwork for on-going partnerships at all scales.
Although management of Adirondack travel corridors is the primary duty of NYSDOT we are growing and supporting partnerships. Our three regional offices coordinate with two Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Regions and the Adirondack Park Agency (APA). Coordination extends to partners like The Nature Conservancy & Adirondack Partnership for Invasive Plant Program (APIPP). Collaboration occurs at multiple scales from public stakeholder meetings on broad topics to individual project meetings with partners and the public.
This presentation will provide an overview of the Master TCUMP, discuss parkwide implementation through partnerships and collaboration including our evolving annual reporting and work planning process. This process forms the basis for balancing environmental sustainability and resource protection with provision of a safe and efficient transportation system.