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Landowners plan to appeal canoeing case

Saturday, April 13, 2013 - Updated: 8:39 AM



LONG LAKE - Canoers and kayakers who are planning to paddle through long-closed private property here may want to put their plans on hold.

The Friends of Thayer Lake and the Brandreth Park Association will appeal the Feb. 25 Supreme Court ruling that opens a waterway on their property here to the public.

The Adirondack Almanack reported earlier this month that Attorney Dennis Phillips of Glens Falls said his clients would appeal but did not say on what grounds the appeal would be based.

The legal battle started when Adirondack Explorer Editor Phil Brown paddled from one parcel of public land to another in the William C. Whitney Wilderness Area in May 2009 using Mud Pond, Mud Pond Outlet and a section of Shingle Shanty Brook.

Instead of using a .8-mile carry around the private land, Brown paddled two miles through property owned by Friends of Thayer Lake, in which Brandreth Park Association has an interest. He was sued for trespassing in 2010.

"I didn't set out to get sued," Brown says. "I believed I had the right to canoe the waterway, and so I did. My aim was to write about the issue of navigation rights, using the Mud Pond-Shingle Shanty stretch as an example of a disputed waterway."

State Supreme Court Justice Richard T. Aulisi found the route is navigable-in-fact and opened it to the canoeing and kayaking public, but if the plaintiffs obtain a "stay" of his decision while their appeal is being heard the route will not be open.

At the end of March Aulisi told the landowners they could not replace their "No Trespassing" signs and/or the cables they used to block passage on the waterway. He declared the cables a public nuisance, Adirondack Almanack reported.


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