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Statement From A.G. Schneiderman On Public’s Right To Travel On Recreationally Navigable Waters In Adirondack Park

ALBANY -- Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman issued the following statement regarding today’s decision on Friends of Thayer Lake v. Phil Brown, involving the public's right to travel on recreationally navigable waters in the Adirondack Park:

“I applaud today’s ruling affirming that the waterway between Lilypad Pond and Shingle Shanty Brook is ‘navigable,’ and that threatening signs, cameras and steel cables used by property owners to obstruct traveling on the waterway are illegal and constitute a public nuisance. The court’s decision is a victory for New York’s outdoor enthusiasts by reaffirming the public’s right to navigate Adirondack Park waterways even if their path takes them through private property.”

Background

In February 2011, Attorney General Schneiderman joined a lawsuit in order to defend the public's right to travel on recreationally navigable waters in the Adirondack Park. The Attorney General sought an order requiring the Friends of Thayer Lake to end their efforts to prevent public recreation travel along the state waterway between Lilypad Pond and Shingle Shanty Brook by defending that these efforts were illegal and created a public nuisance.

In February 2013, the Hamilton County Supreme Court agreed with Attorney General Schneiderman, ruling that the waterway was navigable-in-fact and that attempts to deny public travel along this state waterway are illegal and constitutes a public nuisance.

Today, the majority of the State Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Third Judicial Department, backed the Hamilton County Supreme Court ruling.

The case was originally referred to the Attorney General by the New York State DEC, and staff from both offices have worked cooperatively on it.