Friday, October 7, 2016

APA Sets Forth Three Options For Boreas Ponds

map-4The staff of the Adirondack Park Agency has set forth three alternatives for classifying the 20,758-acre Boreas Ponds Tract, none of which mirrors proposals backed by the Nature Conservancy, which sold the land to the state, and other environmental groups.

The APA board is expected to discuss the alternatives at its meeting next week and hold public hearings around the state in November and December.

All the proposals of the APA and the various stakeholder groups would divide the tract into Wilderness, where no motorized use is allowed, and Wild Forest, where some motorized use can be permitted.

Under the APA’s proposals, the amount of Wilderness would range from 10,178 acres to 14,669 acres.

Under all three, the seven-mile dirt road (Gulf Brook Road) leading from County Route 84 to Boreas Ponds would be classified as Wild Forest, allowing state and local officials to drive to the ponds to maintain a dam at the outlet. However, the APA document explaining the alternatives also notes that the Nature Conservancy granted local towns an easement “to facilitate access to the Property for public recreational use,” which could include motorized access. Any motorized access would have to be approved by the state Department of Environmental Conservation in an annual permit.

Willie Janeway, executive director of the Adirondack Council, said the easements do not require the state to classify the road Wild Forest. “First the state has to classify the land,” he said. “The towns would not have these rights if the classification does not allow them. That’s how it’s been explained to me.”

“These proposals should be rejected,” Janeway said. “None of them prohibits public motorized access to the shore of Boreas Ponds.”

Alternative 1, with the least amount of Wilderness, is similar to a plan backed by five towns in the region. Under this option, Boreas Ponds and the lands in the immediate vicinity would be Wild Forest, which would allow for a variety of recreational uses. The towns are pushing for electric motorboats on the ponds and mountain biking and snowmobiling on old logging roads that circle the ponds. All of these uses could be permitted under a Wild Forest classification.

alternative-2Alternative 2, with 11,323 acres of Wilderness, is similar to Alternative 1 except that nearly all the land around Boreas Ponds would be Wilderness. Thus, the old logging roads circling the ponds would not be open to mountain bikes and snowmobiles.

Alternative 3 recommends the most Wilderness, but even under this scenario, the road to Boreas Ponds would be classified Wild Forest.

Under any of the alternatives, people could in theory be allowed to drive vehicles all the way to Boreas Ponds. However, the state also could establish parking somewhere else along the road.

Earlier this week, the Adirondack chapter of the Nature Conservancy wrote a letter to Governor Andrew Cuomo outlining its recommendations for the Boreas Ponds Tract. Among other things, TNC suggested that people be allowed to drive up Gulf Brook Road as far as LaBier Flow, an impoundment of the Boreas River (the outlet of Boreas Ponds). From there, hikers would have to walk about a mile to reach the ponds. Canoeists and kayakers would have the option of paddling up LaBier Flow and then portaging.

alternative-3“We believe that motorized access to that point is important to create a balanced opportunity for public recreation that will draw more people into the area, which is important to community prosperity, without adversely impacting the wilderness experience of visiting the ponds,” Mike Carr, the chapter’s executive director, said in the letter to Cuomo.

The Park’s major forest preserve advocacy groups also have endorsed classification plans that would allow people to drive to LaBier Flow. Under all these plans, including TNC’s, the land north of Gulf Brook Road and LaBier Flow would be Wilderness. None of the APA alternatives reflects such a classification scheme. Nevertheless, the state could establish a parking area at LaBier Flow under any of the three alternatives.

Nor do the APA options reflect the proposal of Adirondack Wilderness Advocates, a group that recently formed to push for closing the entirety of Gulf Brook Road. Under its recommendation, nearly all of the tract would be Wilderness and visitors would have to walk nearly seven miles to reach Boreas Ponds.

Other environmentalists were still reviewing the APA alternatives Friday afternoon and had little to say. However, Dave Gibson of Adirondack Wild criticized the APA document for failing to analyze the alternatives or offer additional alternatives. Janeway echoed that criticism.

North Hudson Supervisor Ron Moore could not be reached for comment. Boreas Ponds is in North Hudson.

The state bought the Boreas Ponds Tract from the Nature Conservancy in April, completing a multi-year deal to add 65,000 acres of former Finch, Pruyn lands to the Forest Preserve.

The Boreas tract borders the High Peaks Wilderness. The APA staff also is proposing classifications for two other Finch, Pruyn tracts near the High Peaks: MacIntyre West and MacIntyre East.

The 7,368-acre MacIntyre West would be classified Wilderness except for a three-acre section where there is a right of way. That would be classified Primitive.

The bulk of the 6,060-acre MacIntyre East would be Wilderness. About 1,605 acres would Wild Forest and eight acres would be Primitive.

The recommendations for the MacIntyre tracts are similar to proposals of environmental groups. The towns wanted the tracts classified Wild Forest to allow snowmobiling.

Click here to see the APA documents.

Maps provided by APA. From top to bottom: Alternative 1, Alternative 2, Alternative 3.


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.


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77 Responses

  1. Boreasfisher says:

    Rather bizarre, I must say. What exactly are they holding out for by allowing in 2 scenarios auto access to the southern connection to the ponds, but no motorized access north of the 3.2 mile gate in the third? As Phil is highlighting here, they have completely disallowed the BeWild / Nature Conservancy suggestion of motorized access as far as Labier flow. I do not follow the logic of only these three alternatives.

    Do all these alternatives assume snowmobile access on Gulf Brook Road? Or just Alternative 1. Snowmobile access from the west must come to the road just north of Labier so alt 2amd 3 would seem to support a snowmobile corridor along route 2.

    If this is supposed to clarify the options…oh well.

  2. Phil Brown Phil Brown says:

    I revised the piece. Under all three APA alternatives, the road to Boreas Ponds would be classified Wild Forest. Apparently, the justification is in part to maintain the dam, in part in recognition of an easement granted the town to facilitate access for public recreation, which could include motorized access. I need to do more reporting to sort sort out the details.

  3. Boreasfisher says:

    Well, I guess Alternate 2 –wilderness from the southern connection to the ponds–would also allow for a western connection for snowmobiles in wild forest to Gulf Brook Road. Personally, I don’t believe class 2 corridors belong in wild forest, much less wilderness.

  4. Boreasfisher says:

    Thanks…that does make the logic clearer…

  5. Todd Eastman says:

    Another useless set of alternatives from the pro-development APA…

    … be interesting to track the communications between the Governor’s staff and Raybrook…

  6. Phil Brown Phil Brown says:

    Just added quote from Adirondack Council’s Willie Janeway. He says the proposals should be rejected.

  7. Greg M. says:

    Looks like the easements sold days prior to the sale to the state will dictate the classification, something all groups seemed to have ignored in developing proposals. The state does not have a free title to the property.

    Is primitive is the best the road can legally be without the state purchasing the out-standing easements? The good news is that wild-forrest or primitive classification of a road does not mean that it needs to be actually used.

  8. SLMPdefender says:

    Sorely disappointing. The Governor’s APA has failed the people of this state by not presenting them with the opportunity to secure a true wilderness classification for the Boreas ponds!

  9. Alan Vieters says:

    Seems odd to me that the focus of the proposals seems more about preserving the dams than actually being forever wild. Aquatic systems should be wild and not blocked. Humans suck

  10. Justin Farrell says:

    This just in….Bob Marshall’s foot stone just cracked in half!

  11. M.P. Heller says:

    Well now we have a solid answer. TNC sold easements that contain language which grants special rights to (at least) the Town of North Hudson. Because of that, the easement holders could ignore a wilderness classification of the entire property. Their rights to the land under the easement supersedes any subsequent classification by the APA.

    Often times this is the same reason that folks in certain places can access their inholdings via ATV. They have a deeded right to access their property, sometimes that means driving it where it would not otherwise be legal if they didn’t possess the easement.

    I’d like to know if TNC violated their agreement with the state by encumbering the property prior to the sale, or if the state is just plain stupid and didn’t put any restrictions in the agreement that prevented TNC from selling off property rights to third parties before state acquisition. Either way, this seems a first blush to be a rather large gaffe.

    • Dan says:

      Perhaps the town negotiated the easement with TNC prior to their approval of a fee purchase sale to the state since town approval is required if EPF funds are used for the purchase? Just a guess.

    • Boreas says:

      Buyer beware.

      Why are we just finding out about this now?? It would appear NYS taxpayers just bought an expensive Trojan Horse. TNC just dropped another notch in my view.

      • Joe says:

        This is how one of the Essex Chain ponds got deeded float plane landing rights for exclusive use of an outfitter – it was written into the deed before the transfer to the State. So here we see this again. No surprise really. I’d guess it was part of a deal between TNC and the towns to get them to sign onto the deal.

        It seems to fit with the TNC announcement the other day. I am pleased that it removes this whole topic from any debate. Hopefully the various advocates treat the deed with respect.

      • M.P. Heller says:

        I commented in some story on this topic a few months back that North Hudson had been made promises. I was aware that certain conditions had to be met in order to get the blessings of the Town Board. I was not aware that those promises had been granted through a deeded easement, though I admit I didn’t go look up the deed to see if it had been encumbered.

    • Tanner says:

      So this will become another instance similar to the Young’s Road in the Five Ponds Wilderness? A place where the owners of an inholding have created braided ATV trails for miles within the wilderness and no one does a thing about it? What a travesty.

    • Paul says:

      “didn’t put any restrictions in the agreement that prevented TNC from selling off property rights to third parties before state acquisition”

      MP the state has no ability to prevent the owners of the property from selling (or giving away) an easement. NYS obviously knew about this. If they didn’t like it they should not have bought the land earlier this year (or whenever it was). The state has bought lots of land that has encumbrances. You mentioned some examples. One place that the state did screw up was when the bought the Madwaska flow lands w/o making sure they had the necessary easement to access the property. Since then they have cleared that issue up. Probably had to buy one after the fact from the guy that owns the land the road went across. The timber company has an easement so it was just the state that dropped the ball there. No doubt they rush thorough these things. I think they feel pressure from the environmental lobby.

  12. Bruce says:

    And the fight goes on. It seems some sort of compromise is definitely in the works, something not entirely pleasing to anyone. Isn’t that the nature of compromise?

    I hear the usual, “well they didn’t consider THIS alternative, or they didn’t consider THAT alternative”. How do we know they (APA) didn’t consider all alternatives, just because they’re not part of the plan? It would seem reasonable the APA board is aware of everything which has been put forward by any group or legitimate spokesperson.

  13. Tim-Brunswick says:

    Gee whiz, everyone’s unhappy…what a surprise. Boo Hoo….never enough wilderness. Guess we’ll just have to “share” the Adirondacks with folks who don’t subscribe to the wilderness, wilderness and more wilderness……never enough.

    I’m happy as a clam……NYS DEC and the APA are finally recognizing that the Adirondacks are big enough and diverse enough to accommodate folks who can’t hike/portage 5 miles due to age, physical limitations, etc. I met an older couple “Biking” this week from Limekiln Lake as I was coming out from Squaw Lake in the MRPRA. We chatted and it was obvious they were have the time of their lives.

    God Bless em and hopefully we continue to open up more areas to use like this.

    Thank you

    • Boreas says:

      T-B,

      Before you praise the plans too much:

      “Any (public?) motorized access would have to be approved by the state Department of Environmental Conservation in an annual permit.”

      Who knows what that means? If this is true, it sounds like this could be an annual battle.

    • John Warren John Warren says:

      75% of the Adirondack Park is NOT designated wilderness.

      • M.P. Heller says:

        What percentage CAN’T be classified wilderness because it is privately owned? You are presenting an intentionally skewed statistic as an absolute. Man, you just hay the field or something? I don’t know how otherwise you would have all the materials for these straw men you keep manufacturing.

        • Paul says:

          50%. And a lot of that private land has a lot more wilderness character than lots of state land classified as Wilderness. These tags are just ways for lobbyists to raise money.

    • Alan Vieters says:

      You are by far the most insightful commenter on these forums. Do you think it’s possible to open up the classification designation of some of these other wilderness areas so we can have better access and more roads?

    • Geogymn says:

      One can be anthropocentric or biocentric. I can understand where you are coming from. It is great to be as happy as a clam! Do you have any grandkids?

  14. Hope says:

    Everyone seems to forget that the Towns have a significant say in the purchase of State lands to begin with. TNC is the middleman in these acquisitions, a holding company until NYS can purchase it. The do a. Try good job of trying to negotiate something that is acceptable enough to the town to get their blessing on a State purchase, which will forever, remove these lands as private, forest industry and recreation property from their tax rolls.

    • Dan says:

      Yes, towns have a say (as I stated above) if EPF funds are used for a fee purchase in the Park, such as this. As for TNC, if they had never purchased this tract, or along with N. Hudson agreed to put it into Conservation Easement, we wouldn’t be having this debate.

      TB – I’m not unhappy. I’ve been to Boreas and I want to see others of all abilities have the same opportunity.

    • Boreas says:

      Hope,

      Perhaps I am wrong and/or naive, but I was under the impression that when a parcel is purchased by the state, the local governments are compensated (somehow?) by the the state because it is removed from their tax roles. I don’t know if it is an equitable exchange or even if it is a fact, but it was my understanding – otherwise land sales to the state would never go through. Can you or anyone shed any details on this and clear it up for me?

      • Dan says:

        I am not aware of that Hope, only of the town approval requirement for EPF funding inside the Blue Line. I believe Black Brook and Fort Ann are two towns that thwarted potential state purchases in the past due to the fact that their town council voted not to approve the deal.

      • Hope says:

        The state does pay the municipality for loss of tax payments on the property but does the assesment on whole pieces of unimproved forest land better or worth more than improved, subdivide waterfront parcels? Most likely not. Tupper Lake voted down the Follensby acquisition once already. I’m not advocating one way or the other, just stating that TNC wants to sell these parcels to NYS and the Towns have to sign off on it so they do have some leverage here. Would it be better to not have NYS own this? It actually might have been more protected as private property.

        • Boreas says:

          Hope,

          Depends on the owner. F-P wouldn’t have held onto these parcels forever. Would a developer be better? A mining operation? A bazillionaire? Disney?

          I am still happy taxpayers bought the parcels – regardless of final disposition. I just don’t like all of the politics and back-room deals while duping the taxpayers into thinking they have a say in the matter. Are the public hearings just to decide how many parking spots there will be?

  15. ScottyB says:

    This news makes me chuckle. The whole ‘Be Wild’ campaign, that started even before the land was purchased, was an ill-advised effort. Maybe it worked for fund raising. But as a plan, it was an incentive to add this easement to the deeds before the transfer. The Council and ADK may have thought they’d get a jump on this debate, but they end up frozen out of it by their attempt to be clever. Good to see them loose. They have way too much power around here.

    I would guess that, due to the behavior of the Council, ADK, and so on, this will be the last land deal of any size for a long time in the Adirondacks.

    • Boreasfisher says:

      Your comment really makes me chuckle. You have outwitted yourself. Environmental advocates advocate. That’t what they do….push for the values they believe in, whether or not there are easements being negotiated in a back room. To think their activity precipitated an adverse results is pure sophistry.

    • Boreas says:

      “They have way too much power around here.” What power is that??

      • Boreasfisher says:

        That is about as ignorant a comment as should be allowed on a forum that devotes itself to a modicum of civility and honesty. Bashing those who do not agree with you is not a sign of intelligence. You really should keep such uninformed opinions to yourself.

        • Alan Vieters says:

          Sorry I know you are quite fond of him. It’s time for someone new. I never claimed to have intelligence. What is a modicum?

      • Boreas says:

        Alan,

        Who is Neil Woodworth dictating? What power does he have outside of the organization? They aren’t exactly the NRA.

        • M.P. Heller says:

          No they aren’t the NRA. They are the largest most powerful and well financed “green group” in the state though, so it’s not exactly like they are lightweights.

          I don’t think anyone who is regularly a reader or poster here would call Bill Ingersoll anything else besides a staunch wilderness advocate/supporter. Ask him what he thinks of ADK and it’s current leadership compared to the ADK of 20 or 25 years ago. He’s been vocal on the topic before, so I don’t think it’s out of line (too much) for me to throw him under the bus here.

          I’ll throw in my own two cents here regarding Woodworth and his tenure at ADK as well. The man ruined the organization. He sold it out in the name of the almighty dollar. In my opinion the primary function of the modern ADK is to exploit the resource for money.

          • Boreas says:

            I agree – nothing is like it was 25 years ago. As I mentioned elsewhere, I feel at this time the 50-year pendulum of environmental interest in the US is swinging away from protection for its own sake. In another 25 years interest and opinion may begin to swing in the opposite direction. It’s all good – Nature is patient.

            Ultimately the people with the real power in NYS are elected officials and their appointed agencies, not advocacy groups. One advocacy group may make more noise, have more money, or be more respected than another, but ultimately they don’t make decisions or pass legislation. In general, I believe the noise from opposing advocacy groups tends to cancel each other out, leaving the politicians to do as they wish – for better or worse.

        • Alan Vieters says:

          Adk has significant access to governors office. They placate and tout governors position for kick backs like the grant they received a couple years ago. They can pull strings within DEC and get a free police force from them to help with a parking problem and over use problem that they created in the first place. There used to be environmental awareness within the organization now it’s all about access and dollars. They should lose their tax exempt status and the reduced property tax benefits they receive. The ADK needs new leadership and new perspective.

  16. troutstalker says:

    So you all want easy access heh? I just did a paddle trip in a Wilderness classified area. I discovered that idiots are cutting down live trees for firewood! I also witnessed a father of two washing in the body of water with soap! Nice way to teach your children improper methods! Also there are white binch trees dieing from the bark peeled down to the inner layer! This on top of the above ground toilet paper and garbage on other previous trips! So let’s just allow easy access for more of this degradation!

  17. Tim-Brunswick says:

    Regrettable, but might have been biodegradable soap that many campers use?

    In any event the same conditions/situations occur at lean-tos & primitive camp-sites many miles into wilderness areas, so it seems a bit presumptuous to blame those situations on ease of access……

    • Boreas says:

      T-B,

      The way I read troutstalker’s comment, your comment seems to inadvertently reinforce it. Trout is saying ANY access invites this behavior, and increased (easy) access would only increase the problem. I didn’t read it that he was blaming the bad behavior on easy access. In other words, more use = more damage.

  18. Tony Goodwin Tony Goodwin says:

    While not directly related to the Boreas classification, I think I can clarify the tax situation regarding the forest preserve. The state does pay property tax on forest preserve. State parcels are assessed at approximately the same rate as similar parcels of private woodlands. And the state has the right to challenge the town’s assessment, just like any other landowner. When the Town of Keene assessors a few years back tried to add $1 million to the parcel that included the Cascade Lakes, the state did not accept that this was valuable “waterfront” and the assessors backed off.

    Granted, when it becomes forest preserve the towns lose the potential for any future development and consequently higher tax revenues. On the other hand, they do receive revenue from land that requires virtually no town services. No school bus will ever have to make its way to Boreas Ponds to pick up students living on the developed shoreline.

    As for classification, Option 3 looks a lot like the interim plan, but with the possibility of maintaining the dam and therefore the ponds. This does of course depend on how the DEC ultimately chooses to manage their rights beyond the current gate. However, given the amount of work already done to create parking there, it certainly seems that the current situation is the DEC’s preferred management strategy.

    • Paul says:

      “Granted, when it becomes forest preserve the towns lose the potential for any future development and consequently higher tax revenues. On the other hand, they do receive revenue from land that requires virtually no town services.”

      A good plan for towns that are interested in economic stagnation.

      • Boreas says:

        Paul,

        True, but what are their other options? The land is still part of APA jurisdiction, so anything that would happen there – whether development, forestry or mining – would ultimately require APA approval. If it has already been heavily logged, it won’t be worth much to a timber company to pay the taxes until it is productive again, and they wouldn’t likely grant much access. A wealthy private owner likely wouldn’t end up paying much more in taxes than the state, nor would they allow much access. Probably the best the town could hope for short-term would be mining or something of that ilk which in many areas would be a non-starter and still wouldn’t allow access.

        Allowing the land to become Forest Preserve at least guarantees a relatively stable tax flow without worries of unpaid taxes (ie. ACR in TL), and provides at least some year-round access for sportsmen, hikers, campers, skiing, paddling, etc.. The easements negotiated through TNC was well-played (and under-reported). Tourism seems to be one of the few steady resources the ADK park can provide for local economies.

        • Paul says:

          Short term this may be what is best economically for the town. The new assessment based on the sale should help with tax revenue now. A bill that we are all footing (and making it so that tax revenue isn’t available for other things we have discussed here like more forest rangers etc.) But longer term you just don’t know. This means that it is used for tourism now and nothing different in the future. But it’s already done.

  19. Paul says:

    Why would the state have an “easement” from the TNC on land that they now own? I don’t get that at all?

    Isn’t Adirondack Wilderness Advocates like 3 people?

    • M.P. Heller says:

      It’s the Town of North Hudson that purchased a recreational easement from TNC prior to NYS becoming the deedholder.

      • Paul says:

        Thanks. So the town still has this easement. That is a very important consideration for any classification. Are the more restrictive ones that have been suggested even possible? The towns may be able to allow certain uses that would be impossible under a wilderness classification (assuming that the town wants to exercise their rights under the easement). Does the easement allow motorized access or use?

        • M.P. Heller says:

          I haven’t seen the particular language of the easement yet. Probably later in the week I will have a chance. Today being a holiday doesn’t help much with that.

          I’d say based on the APA recommendations, they definitely took the easement into consideration when they did their work.

          Speaking of deed issues. The state can’t come up with a clear title to the rail trail from Placid to Tupper. Arguments in the court case have been postponed because of this. Coverage of this issue has been conspicuously absent from this website. Seems the state is not too good at researching deeds before they spend time and resources on planning.

  20. Paul says:

    Clearly all three alternatives side with the camp that wants more land classified as Wilderness. Under 3 they would even re-classify over 1300 acres of what is now Wild Forest as Wilderness. The other two acquisitions that Phil has noted are both basically being classified as mostly Wilderness lands. It seems like some people are only satisfied when they get everything that they want every time.

    • Boreas says:

      Paul,

      With many of us it isn’t a numbers game with the winner being the one who ends up with the most acres. Sure we want to bring as many acres into the Wilderness classification as possible, however the point many are trying to make is what part(s) of the state acquisition need the most stringent protection. Water resources are particularly sensitive areas, and the habitat at BP may be best served by dismantling the dam and allow the land to revert back to its pre-empoundment state. But depending on the language of these easements and agreements, even that may no longer be an option.

      And for the acre-counters – don’t forget about other F-P lands being opened up for recreation through other easements elsewhere. 6000+ acres here:
      http://www.adirondackalmanack.com/2016/10/comments-sought-upper-hudson-woodlands-sacandaga-block-easement-lands.html#more-64956

    • Boreasfisher says:

      Paul:

      Not at all. Alternative 1 allows motorized access around the ponds and alternative 2 allows motorized access to the ponds themselves. Alternative three retains the gate south of Labier Flow but evidently allows motorized access to the ponds for maintenance and perhaps disabled person access. None of them satisfy what the BeWild coalition was asking for to manage the Ponds as wilderness but also allow reasonable access for recreation. The biggest difference is not stopping motorized access at Labier flow, a mile south of the ponds.

      • Paul says:

        Sounds like as much of the land as possible is being classified as Wilderness under the constraints that may exist (the towns recreational easement). These groups may want something that they cannot have.

  21. Justin Farrell says:

    I was there again with some friends this past weekend. Lots of other visitors on Friday & Sunday, including a gentleman with a motorized wheelchair. I can only imagine what the place would be like if public motorized access is allowed any closer than the current gate, especially if electric motors are allowed on the water!

    • Paul says:

      Sounds like it would be like the towns want. Pretty busy.

    • Paul says:

      All the special interest groups can pick none of the above. But the agency is going to pick one of the 3. My guess would be number 2.

    • Paul says:

      I think that they would have to go with 1 if they want to allow electric motors. For the folks that want this are they talking about the trolling kind that don’t make a sound? They make less noise than a paddler.

      • Justin Farrell says:

        Just curious…
        How well will the prop hold up when hitting stumps, rocks, & logs that are very numerous through out the Boreas Ponds lurking just under the surface? How well do they work through weeds & lilypads?
        Much of the ponds is pretty shallow & weedy, with countless dead trees.

        • Paul says:

          Not too familiar with the things but I see lots of them being used on the Saranac Chain in just the kinds of waters you are describing. As I understand it they have very flexible plastic props designed specifically for this use.

          • Justin Farrell says:

            Gotcha, thanks Paul.
            Now I’m imagining the sight of countless white, red, & green buoys all over Boreas Ponds like the Saranac chain…

            • Paul says:

              I don’t think you have to worry about that I don’t think there is much of a navigable channel to mark on ponds like this. That is why they would use the kind of motors designed for being outside a true navigable channel.

          • Bruce says:

            Paul,

            And weedguards. Electric trolling motors in shallow, weedy conditions is a pretty normal thing for fishermen.

            People will do whatever they feel they can get away with, regardless of classification. I did a canoe and camping trip from Hoel Pond to Long Pond in the canoe area. Long Pond had a no motor rule at the time (can’t say about now). One day I hear a putt, putt, putt on the lake and looked out to see a gasoline motor being used.

        • M.P. Heller says:

          Yeh. What Paul said. This is the type of stuff these types of motors are designed for. Shallow weedy waters that provide cover for fish. He’s also correct about them being quieter and less obtrusive than the sounds that a paddler generates. Some of them you really have to strain your ears to hear anything at all.

          I’m not really a big fan of allowing motors on backcountry water bodies, but if it turns out that this was part of the recreational easement that TNC sold to North Hudson, I can’t think of a less disturbing way to accomodate this right. (If indeed motorized access is one of the rights conveyed by the easement.)

  22. Tim Yeskoo says:

    Just a glance at these maps shows how arbitrary the boundaries are between the wilderness and wild forest classifications. Sure, the road is an existing boundary (though that hasn’t stopped wilderness classifications before, letting the road fade away) but the map that shows wild forest just around the ponds is completely unbecoming to how these classifications are supposed to work. Just because motorized access to the ponds may be desired doesn’t allow an arbitrary boundary to be drawn to allow that.

    Ecology/ecosystem health, vastness, and remoteness (access for solitude) alone should be determinant in the classification of state lands. Access is not to be a consideration, but instead is to be a consequence of the decision guided by the factors listed above. The roads outside of a specified parcel of interest affect the continuity and character of a parcel itself, influencing its classification. However, when roads are within a parcel of interest, the state’s classification can now decide a road’s fate – not the other way around. The APSLMP does not list access as a priority for classification. Instead, the factors listed above are to be used. It is thus the duty of the state to recognize that instead of bifurcating tracts with arbitrary boundaries, classification must be analyzed for the entire tract as a whole. Indeed, the state’s wilderness classification definition accounts for situations like this, stating that if the criteria of vastness, solitude, and ecology are met, that wilderness is to be “managed so as to preserve, enhance and restore, where necessary, its natural conditions.”

    Land classification definitions from the APSLMP:

    Wilderness:
    A wilderness area, in contrast with those areas where man and his own works dominate the landscape, is an area where the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man – where man himself is a visitor who does not remain. A wilderness area is further defined to mean an area of state land or water having a primeval character, without significant improvement or protected and managed so as to preserve, enhance and restore, where necessary, its natural conditions, and which

    1. generally appears to have been affected primarily by the forces of nature, with the imprint of man’s work substantially unnoticeable;

    2. has outstanding opportunities for solitude or a primitive and unconfined type of recreation;

    3. has at least ten thousand acres of contiguous land and water or is of sufficient size and character as to make practicable its preservation and use in an unimpaired condition;

    4.and may also contain ecological, geological or other features of scientific, educational, scenic or historical value.

    Wild Forest: A wild forest area is an area where the resources permit a somewhat higher degree of human use than in wilderness, primitive or canoe areas, while retaining an essentially wild character. A wild forest area is further defined as an area that frequently lacks the sense of remoteness of wilderness, primitive or canoe areas and that permits a wide variety of outdoor recreation.

  23. Timothy Dannenhoffer says:

    Just seems to me that we had more balls pre Reagan – everything seems to be watered down nowadays to please the backwards and the whiners. 50 years ago people would have said this is ideal wilderness, it’s getting folded into the High Peaks…the access is the highway…enjoy.

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