MINERVA — There has been no decision yet from state Supreme Court in Warren County about whether the state can lawfully build a bridge over the Cedar River, but the state said Thursday it still plans to do so.

The bridge, which would support a number of recreational activities, including snowmobiling and horseback-riding, would connect an existing trail network between Minerva and Indian Lake, according to a management plan for the Essex Chain Lakes. It will be built in the town of Minerva.

Two environmental groups, Protect the Adirondacks and Adirondack Wild: Friends of the Forest Preserve, sued the state, arguing that the Cedar River is protected from such a project under the state’s Wild, Scenic and Recreational Rivers System Act.

On Wednesday, May 8, Judge Robert Muller heard from both the state and the environmental groups during opening arguments. The case is considered a “first impression” case, because such an issue has not been addressed by the courts before.

The state Attorney General’s Office, which represented the DEC in the matter, had said the DEC’s plans were to issue a bid for the bridge at the end of May or beginning of June.

Muller reserved making a decision that day. Muller’s office said Thursday that the judge had not yet issued a decision.

After The Post-Star inquired to the DEC about whether it was moving forward with construction of the bridge and its timeline, the DEC said: “DEC is currently in litigation but we intend to proceed with the construction of the bridge over the Cedar River.”

The DEC declined to provide information on a timeline.

The assistant state attorney general had said during the court hearing, however, that the state would provide the environmental groups one week’s notice before construction started.

David Gibson, partner for Adirondack Wild, said Friday he was not yet aware of any notice given by the state.

“We’re weighing our options assuming they will give us that notice, what actions we should take or could take in terms of an injunction, but we haven’t taken that step yet,” Gibson said. “That’s the difficulty of going to court. It’s a waiting game and both parties are in that position. I think we did as good a job as we could have done in court that day.”

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Reporter Gwendolyn Craig can be reached at (518) 742-3238 or gcraig@poststar.com. Follow her on Twitter @gwendolynnn1.


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