Thursday, October 13, 2016

APA Fails To End Criticism Over Boreas Ponds Options

boreasalternative4In response to public criticism, the Adirondack Park Agency staff came up with a fourth option for classifying the Boreas Ponds Tract, but it hasn’t ended the controversy.

The APA board is expected to vote Friday to hold public hearings on the four options, despite complaints that the staff failed to present a full range of alternatives for the tract and failed to properly analyze the alternatives it did present.

On Thursday, the State Land Committee voted to approve the hearing schedule and the four options, setting the stage for a vote by the full board, which is expected to follow suit.

Peter Bauer, executive director of Protect the Adirondacks, called the committee’s vote “a low day for the APA.”

“The contrast is startling between the stunning beauty of the Boreas Ponds and the cramped and meager actions by the APA to shun a variety of legitimate proposals advocated for months by the general public,” Bauer said in a news release. “In a world of infinite colors, the Cuomo administration is treating the Adirondacks in black and white.”

The APA’s land classification for Boreas Ponds will help determine how the 20,758-acre tract is managed and how much motorized access is permitted.

Forest Preserve advocates reacted in anger after the agency’s staff released three alternatives last week. All three would classify as Wild Forest a former logging road that leads from County Route 84 to the shore of Boreas Ponds.

Motorized use is permitted in Wild Forest Areas. A Wild Forest classification would allow the state Department of Environmental Conservation to drive to the ponds to maintain a dam. In theory, however, DEC also could allow the public to drive all the way to the ponds. The fourth alternative, unveiled at Thursday’s meeting, seeks to address that concern by classifying the last mile or so of the road as Primitive rather than Wild Forest. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The road in the Primitive classification could then be designated an Administrative Road, meaning state officials and contractors could drive on it to work on the dam. The public, however, would not be allowed to use motor vehicles in the Primitive Area.

After the meeting, advocacy groups remained disappointed with the range of proposals. Adirondack Wild and a new group, Adirondack Wilderness Advocates, both want the lion’s share of the tract to be classified as motor-free Wilderness. They are calling on the state to close the entire road, which would require people to walk nearly seven miles to reach the ponds.

“We need more alternatives,” said Dave Gibson, a partner in Adirondack Wild. “This 21,000-acre tract could be looked at as an extension of the High Peaks Wilderness Area.”

Gibson contends the state could maintain the dam even if it were in a Wilderness Area. For instance, he said materials could be flown in by helicopter.

Pete Nelson, one of the founders of Adirondack Wilderness Advocates, argued that the state should let the dam deteriorate, obviating the need to keep the road open to the ponds. “Dams in wilderness don’t need to be maintained,” he said. “Just like at Marcy Dam and Duck Hole, nature will find its way.” (Tropical Storm Irene damaged dams at both locations.)

Boreas Ponds had been three separate ponds connected by a stream, but when the Finch, Pruyn timber company built a dam, the ponds merged. The major lobes are still referred to as First Pond, Second Pond, and Third Pond.

The Adirondack Council and Adirondack Mountain Club back a plan that would allow the public to drive to LaBier Flow, an impoundment on the Boreas River. From there, people could hike a mile or so to Boreas Ponds. Under their plan, the land between LaBier Flow and the ponds would be classified Wilderness.

Willie Janeway, the council’s executive director, called Alternative 4 an improvement over the first three alternatives, but he said he was disappointed that none of the options reflects the council’s proposal.

Chad Dawson, a recent appointee to the APA board, told his colleagues that he was troubled by the small range of alternatives and the lack of analysis. He said the Boreas Ponds Tract presents a rare opportunity to preserve wilderness for future generations. Though the land has been logged, he said, “it’s not just what it is now; it’s what it could be.”

“There’s no more wilderness unless we let it rewild, and these opportunities do not come along very often,” said Dawson, a retired professor and a wilderness scholar.

“We seem to be only focused on the dam and the road and not the whole resource, and I find that troubling,” Dawson added, “

At one point, Dawson raised the idea of tabling the matter to give the staff more time to work on alternatives and analysis, but other board members expressed no interest in postponing the hearings. In the end, Dawson voted to send the matter to full board.

After the meeting, the Adirondack Association of Towns and Villages issued a news release in favor of a classification that will allow snowmobiles and mountain bikes on old logging roads around Boreas Ponds, electric motorboats on the water, and a small number of parking spots near the ponds. All of these things would be permitted under APA’s Alternative 1.

Under Alternatives 2 and 3, as under the new option, the ponds would be classified Wilderness, meaning no motorboats of any kind would be allowed. Also, the logging roads around the ponds would be off limits to bikes and all motorized use.

The towns of North Hudson and Newcomb have an easement that allows them to extract gravel from two pits on the Boreas Ponds Tract in order to maintain roads on the property. North Hudson Supervisor Ron Moore said the easements do not allow the towns to open the roads for public access. “Anything we do has to be permitted by DEC,” he said. “We can’t access that property without their permission.”

Map provided by APA: Alternative 4. Photo by Phil Brown: Boreas Ponds.

 


Phil Brown

Since 1999, Phil Brown has been Editor of the nonprofit Adirondack Explorer, the regional bimonthly with a focus on outdoor recreation and environmental issues, the same topics he writes about here at Adirondack Almanack.

Phil is also an energetic outdoorsman whose job and personal interests often find him hiking, canoeing, rock climbing, trail running, and backcountry skiing.

He is the author of Adirondack Paddling: 60 Great Flatwater Adventures, which he co-published with the Adirondack Mountain Club, and the editor of Bob Marshall in the Adirondacks, an anthology of Marshall’s writings.

Visit Lost Pond Press for more information.




101 Responses

  1. Scott van Laer scottvanlaer says:

    Chad Dawson is a most refreshing voice on the board. Thank You for your service!

  2. Boreasfisher says:

    My goodness, I agree. Thank you Dr Dawson for your thoughtful and considered proposals. I hope the final plan that is endorsed after public discussion can properly protect the resources you so pointedly brought to mind during this meeting. The four proposals being put forward already fall short, which begs the question of why public input is being sought on proposals that some already see as being deficient. Your effort to push for a fuller range of considered options is greatly appreciated…at least by me!

  3. Chris says:

    The deed for the property shows a number of Finch Pruyn easements for hauling timber out along some of the existing roads (including Boreas Pond Road). I am assuming the easements still exist since they were not eliminate when the land was transferred to the state. Did this factor into the APA alternatives that were presented since Finch Pruyn would still have legal access?

  4. Justin Farrell says:

    Quote by Dave Gibson:
    “We need more alternatives,” said Dave Gibson, a partner in Adirondack Wild. “This 21,000-acre tract could be looked at as an extension of the High Peaks Wilderness Area.”

    Dave,
    Just curious of your thoughts about the current interim public parking area located about midway along Gulf Brook Road as an acceptable alternative as opposed to a 1 mile or 7 mile walk?

  5. SLMPdefender says:

    May god bless Chad Dawson! Shame on the governor.

  6. Chuck Parker Chuck Parker says:

    The most inaccurate piece of reporting I have ever read. Unless more went on after I left at the conclusion of different land classification issues which included the Boreas Ponds Tract. The public comment meetings have been scheduled with further review to be completed by APA once that information has been collected. “Public” expressions of anger just didn’t happen. Those in attendance were split on the APA decision to move forward. Imagine a public hearing process where all can express a view.

    • Todd Eastman says:

      Burp…

    • Boreas says:

      Did we read the same article??

      • Chuck Parker Chuck Parker says:

        Was I at the same APA meeting from which these comments originated? I was and the reporting for this article was not very accurate.

    • Tim-Brunswick says:

      Chuck…..please don’t expect accurate reporting in this forum. I have learned it definitely leans in one direction. However you should definitely keep an eye on it simply because…. as was stated in the “Godfather” chronicles……”keep your friends close, but keep your enemies closer”. Not saying we’re “enemies”, but just remarking that my view points differ greatly from many who write/comment in this forum.

      I was a news journalist many years ago and accurate reporting in an unbiased manner was a requirement or you’d lose your job. Those standards don’t necessarily apply nowadays.

      Thank you

      • Boreas says:

        T-B/Chuck,

        Could you please list the inaccuracies and enlighten all of us? Specifics are more helpful than vague allusions.

      • Chuck Parker Chuck Parker says:

        You are correct I can’t expect accurate reporting. One person I took to task one time about accuracy of their group’s reporting said at times we tend to embellish a little. This wasn’t embellishment it was a out right major distortion, about what went on at this APA meeting. There audience listening to the APA meeting was close to a 50 – 50 split on what the lands classification should be. Not one person with an opposing view to the theme of this article was interviewed.

        Tim, thank you for your reply

        • Boreas says:

          Chuck,

          Thanks for the reply. Were there other inaccuracies as well? I have pretty good spin/bias detectors, so I read these articles for the facts, since there aren’t a lot of other local sources to read that are almost up to the minute. If the facts aren’t true, that is one thing, but there were a couple dozen paragraphs here that you didn’t refute – which doesn’t seem to correlate with “The most inaccurate piece of reporting I have ever read.”. I am not trying to be provocative, I am just trying to sort out fact from fiction.

      • Joe says:

        This site, and the Adk Explorer use a tagline (or perhaps they stopped now) that called it’s style ‘journalism with a point of view’. So that is what you read here and you shouldn’t expect it to be journalism of a traditional reporting sort. Fox News is another example that comes to mind. With this form of reporting, the comments are largely of one perspective too, often called an echo chamber that event the sites editor has no qualms participating in.

        There is a bigger and richer conversation, you just don’t read about it here. Thanks Chuck for your input here.

        • M.P. Heller says:

          “With this form of reporting, the comments are largely of one perspective too, often called an echo chamber……”

          Or a mutual admiration society……

        • Phil Brown Phil Brown says:

          We don’t use that “tagline” and as far as I know never have. Again, if you or anybody else knows of an inaccuracy in the story, let us know.

    • Phil Brown Phil Brown says:

      As the author of the article, I am interested in hearing what you think was inaccurate. I would point out that the article is not a transcription of what transpired at the meeting. It is based on interviews and emails that took place after the meeting. Since you weren’t privy to those communications, how can you say the article is inaccurate? The “public criticism” in the first paragraph refers to criticism that occurred before the meeting, not during the meeting.

      • M.P. Heller says:

        I think Phil, that the point that Chuck is making is that there were 20 or 25 people at the meeting out of 50 or so in attendance who were in support of the plans as submitted and you didn’t cover that point of view.

        Of course, nothing says you have to cover both sides of the story and it’s clearly completely up to you who and what you think deserves a voice, but I believe that is what Chuck is driving at.

        • Phil Brown Phil Brown says:

          It’s known that the towns are pleased with Alternative 1. I’ve reported on that. The bigger story was that the APA introduced a fourth alternative in an attempt to mollify the environmental groups and that alternative failed to quell the strong criticism leveled against the agency before the meeting.

          That said, I regret that I did not include more of the towns’ point of view.

          • M.P. Heller says:

            You can always do a follow up outlining what the towns and others feel about the situation now that it’s heading out for public comment if you feel that is necessary or desirable.

            I agree that Alternative 4 didn’t do much to placate those vying for more a more stringent type of classification, but I think it’s also the best option that I have seen put forth to date.

            It’s abundantly clear that no matter what plan is ultimately implemented that not everyone is going to be happy about it. There is just too large a gap in opinions amongst the interested parties for everyone to suddenly agree on a single solution. In the end, it looks like it’s going to be a compromise at best.

            • Boreasfisher says:

              Talk about one sided views….I was at the meeting… where do you get the idea that there were 50 people there and 20-25 supported the proposed alternatives? Did you do a poll? You made that up, sir.

              • M.P. Heller says:

                Rough estimates sir. Perhaps there were only 40 people in the gallery. I didn’t do a firm head count, it was clearly standing only in the rear, you cannot dispute that. So if there were only 40 in attendance, maybe it was 15 or 20 that supported the APA staff work as submitted.

                Don’t make it sound like it was poorly attended, and don’t make it sound like everyone there was in objection to the proposals. That sir, would be a clear mischaracterization.

                No, I did not conduct a poll.

                Did you???

                • Boreasfisher says:

                  Read my comment again, please. I pronounced no verdict. You are the only one announcing a result without any clear evidence.

  7. Bruce says:

    “More alternatives needed” is a euphemism for our proposal isn’t on the list of possibilities, therefore it was never considered. I find it difficult to believe the APA is so in the dark, or centered on a single agenda that all proposals weren’t at least discussed to some degree.

    • Running George says:

      That is naive. The APA is now nothing more than a tool in the hands of Governor Motor Head” Cuomo.

      • Bruce says:

        Running George,

        It’s not just about the APA. Environmental groups (and others) use this same tactic all over the country. The rail AND trail group did the same thing when it looked like their proposal wasn’t going to be the final choice.

    • Boreas says:

      My take is that the proposals reflect the situation. BP, as many of us believed, was not simply a chunk of F-P property being bought by taxpayers. Rather, it started out as a chunk of F-P property, bought and held by TNC for several years before the state finally purchased it. It seems in the interim many above and below the table deals were made between numerous parties. These encumbrances are what the APA has to negotiate to come up with a classification. If the encumbrances are such that the road can’t be closed to motor vehicles, or the dam can’t be breached, what other alternatives can they offer? I am certainly not defending the APA, but I can understand their being caught between a rock and a hard place.

  8. Paul says:

    Phil, would alternative 4 put a parking area where they currently have the “temporary” parking area?

    • Phil Brown Phil Brown says:

      None of the alternatives specifies where the public parking area would be. That would be determined during the UMP process.

      • Paul says:

        Let me rephrase. In alternative 4 is the road closed around where the current temporary parking lot is?

        • Phil Brown Phil Brown says:

          Under Alternative 4, Gulf Brook Road is Wild Forest all the way to Four Corners and west of Four Corners. How much of it would be open to the public will be determined during UMP process.

  9. Todd Eastman says:

    Originally offering only 3 Alternatives makes the APA’s analysis of this land appear to be a fast-tracking for political purposes.

    The real story is likely the series of communications between APA staff and the Governor’s office…

    • Boreas says:

      Agreed. I doubt with the encumbrances currently in place that there are a lot of proposals that would be legal other than what APA have already proposed. All are variations of a significant compromise to any strong wilderness protection in the heart of the parcel in and around the ponds. It seems a shame that the central ponds/wetlands weren’t deemed as worthy of protection as the forest on the NE side of the road, but at least some of the parcel will be given Wilderness protection. Perhaps a decade or two in the future, the political pendulum will swing back and more of the parcel will be reclassified as Wilderness.

    • Paul says:

      All the alternatives lean very hard toward trying to please the environmental lobby but at the same time not completely alienating the towns and what they would like to see. Adding this 4th alternative at the last minute is another example. The APA could have classified all the land around the roads and the ponds intensive use for road side camping like in other parts of the Forest Preserve. As always they are trying to find some sort of a balance. It seems more difficult on this one since certain factions in the debate are being so inflexible.

      As far as parts of the state government communication with each other that seems like a good thing. Some people don’t like it here simply because that communication (if there is any) is maybe leading to an outcome they don’t prefer.

      • Boreas says:

        Paul,

        I agree, communication is good if it flows in both directions and is kept public when public funds are in question. Speaking for myself, I am irritated with the fact that the easements and agreements made prior to the purchase weren’t publicized much, if at all, before the purchase went through. Many of us were under the naive impression we were purchasing a jewel, not a jewel with a crack in it.

        Also, my sentiments don’t reflect the outcome not going my way as much as feeling duped into thinking the ponds area could have ever been classified as wilderness. How many taxpayers were aware of these encumbrances? I don’t recall reading anything about them. Do you?

        • Paul says:

          I think for others they like to bring issue with things like internal communications or potential conflicts only when it is related to a project that has not come to an outcome that they approve of.

          Any state project involves public funds. We have a representative government. We elect people to oversee people who make decision for us. Sometimes they make decisions we like sometimes they don’t.

          As far as the easement goes that was granted by the owner of the land before it was transferred to the state. If the state didn’t like the easement they had the option of not purchasing the property. It was clearly part of the deed package when they closed. What do you think these groups would have said if the state said nope we don’t want it with that easement, keep it, sell it to somebody else. They are damned if they do damned if they don’t.

    • M.P. Heller says:

      If 3 alternatives equals a “fast track”, what do the single plans without alternatives for the other several dozen tracts that are currently up for classification amount to???

  10. Marco says:

    I believe the APA is trying to ram their thoughts on how things work down on me. They are trying to make me a party to some fairly bad things in my book. So, I am with Mr. Dawson. I would support a moratorium on this for a period of twelve months and let the public hash stuff out. They, all departments of the government and the government itself, work FOR the public. I do not accept what are rather vague proposals with what smacks of secret agreements between individuals as defacto rules for a Wild Adirondacks.

    Point: We are (well, I am) just hearing of, within the last week, of a towns right to access and use gravel on the road. If there was no road, why was this put in the agreement? Clearly the intent was to subvert public opinion and go with a wild forest classification when the deed changed hands. I do not believe this is best for what I consider a heavily logged area needing a natural rebuild. Much of the rest of the park was in the same state when purchased, now it is reverted to a much more natural state. And I hear some say it is enough. But, isn’t this what the park was created for? Not recreation. Not for logging. Not for special interest groups. But to preserve, maintain, and protect the forest that once covered this area?

    • Boreas says:

      Marco,

      As far as I am concerned, the state should have re-negotiated the purchase and/or the purchase price when the encumbrances came to light. Perhaps they did, but who heard about it? If I am looking to buy a piece of property and encumbrances that would restrict my usage of it are found in the deed – that would certainly reduce its value in my eyes. I could either re-negotiate the price or back out altogether.

      What isn’t clear to me is what did the state know, and when? Did they advise TNC before the sale that it was OK to grant these easements and it wouldn’t effect the purchase? If not, when they found out about them, and did they re-negotiate the price? I certainly assume they knew of the encumbrances before the deal was closed – or am I assuming too much?

      The other thing I can’t figure out is why the town was granted an easement to maintain the dam, as it seems more likely to me that the dam would be the responsibility of NYS – the owner of the property. It seems to me that it was more for the control of the road, not maintaining the dam. If so, well played!

      Oh well, we own it now. It’s all good.

      • Paul says:

        The state knew about this before they closed the deal. Again the state had no authority to OK or not OK these easements. They had the ability to walk away once they knew about them prior to signing on the dotted line (I don’t think they are dotted anymore!). Doing that would have led to way way way… more blow back than what they are getting now. Some people would have been ecstatic that it all fell through. Here you are talking about easements where it looks like the state basically has full control over any of that possible activity. I see no decrease in the value of the deal. In fact it gives the state additional options. Ones they don’t have to exercise if they decide not to. Boreas what is the loss in value that you describe? Additional rights for a landowner increases the value of a parcel not the opposite.

        • Boreas says:

          Paul,

          The loss in value, to me, is the simple fact that with the easements, the state no longer has the option of giving certain areas of the parcel a Wilderness classification unless the encumbrances are removed or the SLMP is amended. So I consider them restrictions on any future plans the state may have had for the parcel and consequently fewer options, not more.

          The ‘additional’ options you mention would still be available to the state with a free title with no encumbrances, however I will acknowledge the terms of the easements could have been even more restrictive. But I don’t think I understand what the “additional rights” you mention are that they wouldn’t have had with a clean deed.

          It still ain’t a bad deal from most points of view – especially in Albany. That is probably why the state went ahead with the purchase. I can live with it.

      • Phil Brown Phil Brown says:

        I asked the North Hudson supervisor, Ron Moore, about the easements. He said the town has an easement to mine gravel and maintain the roads, but only under DEC permit. If the roads are closed, then the towns won’t need to access the pits to maintain them. The towns are not responsible for the dam, though it’s conceivable DEC could ask them to help out in its maintenance. The easements do not permit the towns to open the roads for public access or anything of the sort.

        • Boreas says:

          Phil,

          Thanks for clearing those points up for me. So if I am hearing you correctly, the state could still classify the entire parcel Wilderness if it wanted? It could decide not to maintain the road and/or dam? If so, I misunderstood the entire issue and need to shift my attention to the APA. Sorry for using up bandwidth on this misunderstanding.

          • Phil Brown Phil Brown says:

            That’s my understanding. The easement allows the towns to mine gravel and maintain the roads within the tract. If the roads are closed, the towns won’t need to access the pits to maintain them.

      • M.P. Heller says:

        Seems there is a deed research deficiency at the state.

        The rail trail is the other elephant in the room when it comes to this. The state approved that project only to find out later they don’t have fee title to the entire corridor. It seems that the state (and others) have chosen to remain mute on this issue as well.

  11. William says:

    My 2 cents:
    I favor ecological preservation for its own sake, at the expense of access, recreation, etc. Let the dams fail and the roads revert, and let the moose take over the resulting marshland (if you are concerned about revenue, the best way to attract tourist dollars is with charismatic megafauna).
    Option 4 creates a lot of “Wilderness” but with a public road driving directly through it. By doing so, the APA (or Cuomo?) gets to say they created so many acres of Wilderness, while undermining that land ecologically. Other than the last mile of the road, which is indeed important, is there any real difference between Option 2 and 4?
    This whole process has been disappointing. We have an opportunity with management of the Adirondacks to do something great, to lead in the world and provide an example in conservation. Instead, we are headed to a shortsighted compromise so that people can take a 1 hour paddle. Sad! (never thought I’d quote Trump)

    • Boreas says:

      William,

      I agree. It isn’t so bad if the road stays – the key question is what will it be used for and by whom? Same with the ponds – will electric motors be allowed? Much of the ponds are very shallow – how much damage to flora and fauna will occur from prop motors chewing up the bottom?

  12. Boreas says:

    Here’s a few questions I came up with looking at the Option 4 inset map. If the LaBier Flow dam is maintained at it’s current height, what would happen if the BP dam was opened? Would LaBier Flow remain essentially unchanged after the ponds were slowly drained? Does the LaBier Flow dam currently allow fish to pass, or is it too high? Does anyone know the purpose of this dam and creating LaBier Flow? Were these dams created for staging logs or just to create ponds & wetlands?

    • M.P. Heller says:

      I’d encourage anyone with questions about the dam at the flow to go look at it. No matter the classification, it’s not going to last much longer without maintenance. It’s a wooden structure that has aged and was not built to high standards originally. Reasonable forecasting would suggest that the next major storm like Floyd or Irene will cause it to fail. Why wait and incur the additional expense of a cleanup and remediation effort when it could be intelligently deconstructed now???

      Just another point to ponder…..

      • M.P. Heller says:

        On second thought….

        I didn’t do the dam at the flow a proper justice.

        It’s a massive piece of crap that has the engineering skills of teenagers. Originally I was trying to be kind and constructive about it, but the fact is sometimes the truth is bitter no matter what frosting you try to put on it.

        Sorry for the confusion.

        • Boreas says:

          Do we have any idea why it was built? For log staging or water power for a sawmill? I would say if it has no clear purpose today, remove it. Let the beavers build a better one.

      • Boreas says:

        It seems to me, the most critical part of the discussion about classification is the issue of the dams. It seems the APA is planning on maintaining the status quo with regard to the dams, as none of their proposals even suggest removal of either dam. For instance, they could have recommended the removal of the dam(s) and still split-classified the parcel as they did. I would like to know the thinking behind keeping the dam(s) when they are not the best option for the health of the ecosystem there. I feel the dam issues should be analyzed and finalized before classification is finalized.

      • Phil Brown says:

        The dam may be fragile, but I wonder if it’s subject to the kind of hydrologic forces we saw in the high mountains and narrow valleys during Irene. The Boreas likes in a flat valley, and it seems like Boreas Ponds would dissipate the force. I could be wrong, of course.

  13. Todd Eastman says:

    How do the Alternatives impact DEC regulation or permitting snowmobile use through the parcel?

    • Phil Brown says:

      In the first two alternatives Gulf Brook Road and its extension to the west (Boreas Ponds Road) could be used as a snowmobile trail. This is the route favored by Protect and the Nature Conservancy.

      In the other two alternatives, the road to the west is Wild Forest only to a gravel pit. Therefore the roads could not serve as a community-connector trail.

      Also, under the first alternative, it would be legal for DEC to allow snowmobiles to ride on old roads around the ponds.

      • Boreas says:

        Phil,

        Without connector trails, do you think snowmobile use would be very heavy if people have to trailer to the GBR trailhead? Other than a new place to ride, I just don’t see the roads being that interesting to snowmobilers other than the ponds themselves.

        • Phil Brown says:

          I wouldn’t hazard a guess at to is popularity. The state plans to build a connector trail. The question is where. The two proposals are using the logging roads and creating a trail close to County 84. Protect is suing the state, arguing connector trails violate Article 14.

      • Todd Eastman says:

        Thanks!

  14. Craig Von Bargen says:

    I was at the Agency meeting and felt to much was being discussed in order to please all the end users. Chad Dawson eloquently spoke up and talked about an opportunity to create a real wilderness experience here, tying it into the north AMR Property and other state land. Chad pointed out the APA mission is one to help create a land where it appears untouched by man. And this could happen in a few short years around Boreas if it is classified wilderness. THE GBR classifications smack of trying to reach out to the non wilderness groups to give them easier access. We know what damage easy access brings to pristine (i.e. Boreas Pond) lands. A 3 or 6 mile walk will be greatly rewarded. The APA has a battle of many Civic groups wanting their form of access. It will be tough at each of the upcoming hearings. I praise Chad Dawson for what he said. And no there was not a pro or con final feeling after the meeting, it was informational and left each group with terms of how they want to rebuttal at the hearings.

    • Boreas says:

      Thanks Craig. I am glad Dr. Dawson is fighting the good fight. It is a shame he seems to be the only person currently on the APA willing to even mention the benefits of wilderness and Wilderness classification.

  15. Bruce says:

    Chad pointed out the APA mission is one to help create a land where it appears untouched by man, in other words appear to be wilderness. Oh, really? This seems like oversimplification. If it were that simple, there would be little need of other classifications in the SLMP.

    Perhaps he meant to say it was only one of APA’s missions, and didn’t intend to sound as if it were the only mission.

    The bottom line is whatever decision the APA arrives at, there will still be controversy, complaints, and possibly lawsuits.

    • Paul says:

      The APA’s mission is to create a land where it appears untouched by man? Chad That is not what the APA’s mission is.

      “The basic purpose of this article is to insure optimum overall conservation, protection, preservation, development and use of the unique scenic, aesthetic, wildlife, recreational, open space, historic, ecological and natural resources of the Adirondack park.”

      Their task goes well beyond preservation. You wouldn’t even need an agency (at least a division to deal with state land) if it were as simple as designating any land the state purchases as Wilderness.

    • Boreas says:

      It wasn’t a direct quote, but rather Craig’s interpretation about something Chad said. Who knows in what context it was?

      • Bruce says:

        I think the APA is trying to do the best they can within their overall mandate, and if some are distressed about it then so be it.

        I’ve often wondered how many folks who speak about this or that as going against “public opinion” are talking from a point of view of not living in or near the Adirondack Park, but are more or less regular visitors as we are.

        When I first signed on to the “Almanack”, the hot topic was the rail-trail discussion, and what could be done to improve the economic condition of Adirondack towns and hamlets along the ROW. Of course one big part of the answer was bring in more tourist dollars and I’m guessing more tourists ride the train than locals.

        Well, us tourists don’t all want to hike 7 miles to something good, nor do we want to be told that newly acquired and especially beautiful areas are off limits because we can’t.

        That’s where the compromises come in, and so far I’ve not had any worthwhile issues with the compromises reached by the APA.

        • Boreas says:

          Bruce,

          Many of us feel the compromises currently offered do not offer sufficient protection to the Ponds area in the center of the parcel. We realize a compromise is necessary, and the best way seems to gate the road prior to the ponds to limit most motorized vehicles to the Ponds area itself.

          I am happy with the interim parking gate (about an hour walk) – others would like to see it closer, some would prefer to close the entire road. NO ONE is suggesting making anything off-limits – that is nonsense. Two elderly women were able to cart their canoes from the current parking spot and enjoyed their day. Often, we seem to make our own obstacles

          • Bruce says:

            Closing the entire road and making the whole tract Wilderness is what I was referring to by off limits. We do make our own way however we can, that’s undisputed. Just for example, I can’t walk much more than a mile at a time, but I can ride a bicycle, and I do ride on gravel roads.

            I believe those who say bicycles will cause significant damage to the roads in question are blowing this out of proportion. They essentially are against any wheeled vehicles except canoe carts.

            • Boreas says:

              Bruce,

              Even closing the road doesn’t make anything “off-limits”, yet people keep using the term to further their cause. No Wilderness areas are off-limits. Off-limits (POSTED) is what the land was before it was purchased. There are vehicle/usage restrictions. But my 2 cents would say if canoe carts are allowed, biking on the main roads should be allowed as well, regardless where the gate is.

          • Todd Eastman says:

            Bruce, Vermont is a pleasant theme park if you want better access…

            … managing a vast landscape like the Park with a tract like Boreas Ponds, provides an opportunity to let the natural systems recover, while providing recreation. Finding that balance is where the APA’s alternatives tilt towards intensity of recreational use that cut into ecosystem recovery or sustainability.

      • Boreasfisher says:

        The quote Chad Dawson used came verbatim from the original statement of the APA’s purpose and it made the point inarguably that the primary purpose of the APA is to protect natural resources from depletion…recreation second.

        What was ironic about Dr Dawson’s comment was that he began by asking Kathy Regan to go back to the original slide in her presentation where this passage was quoted as the background for APA/DEC’s work to classify the various parcels being discussed. The point he made was that APA was neglecting its duty by only allowing 4 alternatives for discussion. Having served on several Federal panels, his point was that a much broader set of alternatives and biological/ecological analyses of each should be presented and considered for APA to properly fulfill its role.

        • Boreas says:

          We should know before long how effective Chad’s argument was on the other members – they are dealing with NYS politics after all. I hope he keeps fighting for protection.

        • Boreas says:

          FWIW, I couldn’t come up with the verbiage Dr. Dawson used on the APA website, but did find something similar in the APSLMP pdf document.

          “If there is a unifying theme to the master
          plan, it is that the protection and
          preservation of the natural resources of the
          state lands within the Park must be
          paramount. Human use and enjoyment of
          those lands should be permitted and
          encouraged, so long as the resources in their
          physical and biological context as well as
          their social or psychological aspects are not
          degraded.”

  16. Mike from Indian Lake says:

    Can’t wait to ride my sled through the area and bring some much needed economic help to the small towns.

  17. Paul says:

    The towns and the state want these parcels to bring some increased economic benefits to the area. To date these parcels have attracted and maintained hundreds of individuals that have been coming and leasing and recreating on the lands. With this purchase that economic component goes away and a new one replaces it. If the area is difficult to access will it attract at least as much activity and economic benefit to the surrounding communities? Like it or not the APA needs to consider things like this as part of their deliberation. This is the premise that the towns agreed to when they gave the state the go ahead to buy the land. Without that approval the only options the TNC would have is keep the land or sell it to another private entity and we would not be having this discussion.

    • Boreas says:

      The APA certainly has considered these things, considering the options they have put forth. We are just trying to hold their feet to the fire to consider all of the options that may be available. Is there a major problem with continuing the interim plan from the current gate, for instance?

  18. Todd Eastman says:

    Could someone please post the relevant documents that describe the APA’s mission regarding “economic development” within the Blue Line.

    I am familiar with economic development under the APA mission is its role as the planning agency for private properties located outside of hamlets, and development within hamlets without functional zoning capacity.

    The APA’s planning and classification process for state lands within the Blue Line do not seem to include any provisions for including local economic development in its analysis of state lands.

    Cites are welcome. Thanks!

    • Boreas says:

      Todd,
      This may not be what you are looking for, but you could start here:
      http://www.apa.ny.gov/Documents/Guidelines/CitizensGuide.pdf

      • Todd Eastman says:

        Thanks B, I know allabout that stuff, but what I want to see is the actual guidance that directs the APA to consider economic benefits when classifying state land within the Blue Line.

        • Boreas says:

          The governor?

        • Paul says:

          Todd, look at the APA act it clearly states that the economy of the Adirondacks is one of the things it should consider for any of its decisions. Saying that it only applies to decisions regarding private land (as someone said here) is just not accurate. The act is where their legal guidance comes from.

          For this particular classification the APA wouldn’t even have any land to classify if economics were not part of the deliberation. The town would not have approved the sale and it would not be owned by NYS.

          A Wild Forest classification is a very restrictive classification, less restrictive than a Wilderness classification, but still offering a high level of protection. And again even under the least restrictive alternative on the table there is enough land being classified as Wilderness (over 10K acres) to warrant its own new Wilderness area if it wasn’t next to another one.

          • Todd Eastman says:

            All I see when reading the Act, is the consideration of economic factors in Section 805 – Adirondack park land use and development plan; this covers private lands.

            Nothing in Section 817 – Master plan for management of state lands, indicates economic considerations.

  19. Paul says:

    The Boreas I would assume is a Wild river under the rivers act. Does this affect where a road could be relative to the river no matter what the classification was? Maybe as long as it was there prior to the law this isn’t an issue.

  20. Mike from Indian Lake says:

    A nice trail to ride would bring relief to me and many others who suffer economically living in these small Adk towns. Build the trail and remove the rail!!! You intellectuals can debate this for the next 5 yrs and these towns will still suffer from the lack of economic help. That’s all you guys do is debate and debate. Enough already. You guys must be the life of the party.

    • Boreas says:

      It’s the APA/DEC that decides, not us “intellectuals”. That’s what you get in an opinion/comment forum – opinions & comments.

    • John Warren John Warren says:

      Don’t worry Mike, you won’t be confused with being an intellectual. You’ve managed to comment on the internet to complain about smart people commenting on the internet. Outstanding work buddy.

  21. Mike from Indian Lake says:

    Thanks John glad you liked it. Now go back and continue the debate on saving some trees or building a trail that might help us economically. I appreciate that you already consider me your buddy!

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