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The DEC says these signs and cables should come down (Photo:  Brian Mann)
The DEC says these signs and cables should come down (Photo: Brian Mann)

State DEC wants to intervene in paddling lawsuit

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State environment officials have requested that the Attorney General's office intervene in a new legal case involving paddling rights in the Adirondacks.

Property owners near Tupper Lake sued a journalist last week for allegedly trespassing on land and waterways around Shingle Shanty Brook.

Brian Mann has details.

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Brian Mann
Adirondack Bureau Chief

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DEC spokesman Yancey Roy confirmed that the environmental agency has made a formal request to the Attorney General that the state intervene in the lawsuit. 

In a letter to the landowners in September, the DEC had already confirmed that it sides with recreational paddlers in this dispute, arguing that Shingle Shanty Brook is a public right-of-way. 

Phil Brown, with the Adirondack Explorer magazine, was sued last week for paddling the river.  He says the DEC’s support is good news.

"I think it just bolsters our position," Brown said.  "If the state DEC thinks that these watertways are open to the public, that's good for us."

Brown has been sued by several property owners, including the Brandreth family, who own large tracts of land in the area. 

Dennis Phillips represents the property owners and said last week that he expected the state to get involved.

 "DEC indicated that it would refer the matter to the Attorney General and that means, I'm sure, that it would be referred for some kind of legal action," he said.

Landowners in the area claim that paddlers using the river and portage trails are violating their private property rights.  They say they hope this suit will clarify the state’s navigation laws.

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