Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Dave Gibson: Boreas Ponds Alternative 1 Shouldn’t Be There

Boreas Ponds APA Alternative 1Alternatives analysis is at the very heart of the State Environmental Quality Review Act. A state or local government agency cannot claim to have rationally chosen a preferred alternative course of action if other alternative approaches to achieve the same project with fewer environmental impacts have not been evaluated with the same degree of rigor and detail. That’s the law.

The eight public hearings about classifying more than 50,000 acres of Adirondack Forest Preserve are winding down this week (final public hearings at Bear Mountain and Albany), and the Adirondack Park Agency, sponsor of these hearings, is not following the law in several crucial respects. These include the fact that APA has neither evaluated nor compared the four alternative ways to classify the Boreas Ponds tract, nor has it chosen at least one additional, reasonable alternative which has fewer environmental impacts than all the others: that being a classification alternative as Wilderness for all or most of the tract, necessitating the closure of all or most of the Gulf Brook Road to public motorized uses.

Yet, the APA has chosen to present the public with an alternative (Alternative 1) which seems to present the greatest number of actual or potential environmental impacts to the Boreas Ponds and the land around the Ponds. Alternative 1 conflicts with the State Land Master Plan directive that the protection of natural resources be the paramount objective; while recreational uses are important they cannot be allowed to degrade those resources. Alternative 1 would likely allow or encourage such degradation. So, Alternative 1 should never have been included in the public hearing package at all.

Alternative 1 divides the Boreas Ponds tract into half Wild Forest (10,000 acres approximately) and Wilderness (10,000-acres approximately). That seems reasonable until one looks at the map.

APA’s document describing Alternative 1 reads: “Lands north of the intersection of Boreas Pond Road and Gulf Brook Road, aka the Four Corners, including the road to the Boreas Pond Dam, a woods road that circles the Boreas Ponds, the land between the woods roads and the ponds and the ponds themselves would be classified as Wild Forest. Lands north of the Four Corners outside of the area classified as Wild Forest would be classified as Wilderness.”

The map depicting this alternative graphically reveals the negative impacts. It classifies the Gulf Brook Road as Wild Forest, open for public motorized uses right up to the Boreas Ponds Dam. It classifies the Ponds as Wild Forest. The Boreas Ponds themselves, the crown jewel of this tract, are proposed as the center of a mechanized zone and intensive recreational area. As proposed this alternative could conceivably permit car/truck parking at the Ponds, motor boating on the Ponds and competitive events at or on the Ponds.

lodge siteAlternative 1 would allow the intensive use of the former Boreas Lodge site (now a grassy area, see photo at right taken in August) as a destination and gathering point for mechanized activity. The allowed uses are likely to pose unacceptable compromises to the ecological integrity and remote wilderness character of the Boreas Ponds. The waters and wetland resources, wildlife habitat and sensitive habitat, the awesome stillness of the Ponds would be threatened by all manner of disturbance by machines.

The proposed uses also make a Wilderness classification beyond the Ponds highly impractical from a management standpoint. Wilderness managers are trained to protect and manage users and resources comprehensively, not according to multiple recreational zones.

In short, Alternative 1 encourages the public to motor up to and around the Boreas Ponds, which will immediately introduce invasive species; fragments the Forest Preserve into small recreational zones; makes Wilderness management beyond the Ponds impractical, and erodes the contrast value between a motorized Boreas Ponds and the High Peaks and Dix Wilderness to the north. This isn’t a reasonable alternative which seeks to avoid or minimize environmental impacts.

Alternative 1 also violates accepted Wilderness Management Principles. The NYS DEC has long endorsed basic principles of wild lands management which mimic those of the international textbook Wilderness Management (2009). Most of these principles are regularly recited in DEC Unit Management Plans.  Alternative 1 violates all dozen principles, but for brevity I will limit a review to how it violates just the first three.

Principle 1: Manage Wilderness as the Most Pristine on the Environmental Modification Spectrum. In short, this principle states that a fundamental objective of wilderness is to maintain its distinctive qualities that contrast wilderness from other types of land uses, and not to impose on a wilderness setting recreational demands which would erode those distinctive qualities. By proposing motorized and mechanized uses up to and circumnavigating the Ponds at the very center of the tract, Alternative 1 erases all of the distinctive wilderness qualities east of the Gulf Brook Road, including lands up to the existing High Peaks Wilderness boundary.

Principle 2: Manage Wilderness Comprehensively, not as Separate Parts. This principle states that wilderness is a resource in and of itself by virtue of its cultural values and ecosystem services. Therefore, wilderness management must focus on wilderness as a whole or in its entirety, not on its separate component parts (vegetation, water, wildlife, geology, topography, recreational resources, etc.). In severe violation of this principle, Alternative 1 will impose vastly different management for purposes of separate recreational zones. The motorized proposal is flawed in part because the Four Corners to the Boreas Ponds corridor must have one type of management, the Ponds another, the Inner Loop yet another, and the Outer Loop still another. This is a textbook example of what should not happen on a wild lands tract – wilderness management emphasizing separate  component parts which make overall comprehensive management virtually impossible.

Again for emphasis, Alternative 1 takes no account whatsoever of any wilderness parts or values other than recreational ones.

Principle 3: Manage Wilderness under a concept of nondegradation. In brief, this principle calls for maintaining existing wilderness and environmental conditions if they equal or exceed minimum standards, and for restoring conditions that are below minimum standards. If a wilderness area exceeds minimum standards, it should be managed to maintain those higher standards and not be allowed to degrade below them. In this case, it has been well documented that the Boreas Ponds tract greatly exceeds minimum wilderness standards in terms of degrees of naturalness and opportunities for solitude. However, Alternative 1 allows much more intensive, year-round public motorized and mechanized uses on and around the Ponds that were ever experienced during the occasional, light, periodic uses under Finch’s ownership. If classified and managed as proposed, the tract’s physical, social, psychological and biological resources will be degraded well beneath current conditions. Of equal importance, the opportunity for restoration to enhance the wilderness character of the heart of the property would be lost.

State Land Master Plan Classification Guidelines: As stated in a memo by the APA’s (former) State Land Chairman Richard Booth (June 29, 2016), the State Land Master Plan creates a very strong presumption in favor of a Wilderness, Primitive or Canoe classification “for any new, large acreage Forest Preserve acquisition that contains special resource values.” The Master Plan purposefully narrows the choices available to the agency in these cases. The Boreas Ponds tract is a classic case in point.

Part of this presumption springs from the “paramount” purposes of the State Land Master Plan, already quoted. But a great deal of the presumption also results from the SLMP Classification determinants and the underlying capacity of the state land and water involved to withstand human uses. To quote the Master Plan, the essential fragility of “the boreal (spruce-fir), subalpine and alpine zones, as well as low lying areas such as swamps, marshes and other wetlands, rivers, streams, lakes and ponds” points in the direction of a wilderness classification. The Boreas Ponds exhibits all of these characteristics in abundance, as it does wildlife values, and “certain intangible considerations” such as “social or psychological” considerations, “such as a sense of remoteness and degree of wildness… which may result from the size of an area, the type and density of its forest cover, the ruggedness of the terrain or merely the views over other areas of the Park obtainable from some vantage point.”

Those who have had the privilege to visit the Boreas Ponds over the last few years, including Governor Andrew Cuomo, have experienced these views and this set of intangible values very directly and personally. Thanks to the state’s actions and use of the Environmental Protection Fund, now the public at large is doing so. Most who visit or even see images of the Boreas Ponds agree that the State Land Master Plan’s language and classification determinants clearly argue for a Wilderness classification for much of this awesome lake-mountain landscape nestled against the High Peaks Wilderness.

APA’s Alternative 1 badly violates this Wilderness presumption and explicit guidance of the Master Plan. It fails to take any recognition of the special resource values mentioned in the Master Plan and present at Boreas Ponds in abundance which all point towards Wilderness type management, including “fragile soils over considerable areas,” “significant areas over 2500 feet elevation,” “an extensive network of streams including a significant river segment,” “extensive areas covered by ponds,” “extensive wetland habitat,” and “an abundance of plant and animal species including a number of boreal species, and a number of rare, threatened or endangered species.”

Further, the Wilderness proposed in Alternative 1 would be significantly fragmented, diminished and compromised by the mechanized zones inside and alongside them. Future management by Rangers of exterior Wilderness so tightly constrained and bounded by mechanized zones at their very center would be impractical at best, and virtually impossible to enforce. The ecological and integrity of the High Peaks Wilderness would be compromised by these mechanized zones centered at Boreas Ponds, not enhanced.

Adirondack Wild is calling on the APA to follow the law, include a full Wilderness alternative which means closure of all or most of the Gulf Brook Road to public motorized uses, and to carefully evaluate all the alternatives with respect to how they impact the environment of Boreas Ponds tract. We appreciate the continued civility at the hearings, and the respect accorded all speakers and points of view.

Photo: The former lodge site in a photo taken August 4, 2016 and provided by the Adirondack Council.


David Gibson

Dave Gibson, who writes about issues of wilderness, wild lands, public policy, and more, has been involved in Adirondack conservation for nearly 25 years, much of that time as Executive Director of the Association for the Protection of the Adirondacks and then as first Executive Director of Protect the Adirondacks.

During Dave's tenure at the Association, the organization completed the Center for the Forest Preserve including the Adirondack Research Library at Paul Schaefer’s home. The library has the finest Adirondack collection outside the Blue Line, specializing in Adirondack conservation and recreation history.

Currently, Dave is a partner in the nonprofit organization launched in 2010, Adirondack Wild: Friends of the Forest Preserve.




48 Responses

  1. Boreas says:

    What has been the general public response at the hearings WRT Alt. 1 vs. other proposals?

  2. lauren pereau says:

    Did the governor walk the 7 miles to the dam? I thought there is a private ROW in there that does not allow closure of the Gulf Brook rd.?

    • Boreas says:

      Lauren,

      I doubt he walked.

      I believe there is a ROW for some leased camps, but it expires in a year or so. I think at that time the state takes possession of those improvements/structures. In the meantime the leaseholders can open any gates with a key.

  3. Tim-Brunswick says:

    I was there and presented, as well. There were over 80 +/- speakers including Dave Gibson and a host of others. I was surprised that Mr. Gibson rambled on even though there was an obvious 3-minute limitation and many others waiting to take their turn…. The green T-shirt/Wilderness crowd acted and appeared more like a High School cheerleading crowd than serious outdoors loving folks ( my opinion).

    You may well guess that I am an Alternative #1 advocate, which provides something for all of us. An informal count of the presenters was 38 pro wilderness and 37 wild forest.

    WE NEED to start sharing the forest resources instead of limiting access. ENOUGH of the Adirondacks has already been locked into the “:Wilderness” classification.

    Overall the entire event was run very well by APA Public Relations Director Keith P. McKeever. I was impressed with his efforts to keep everyone on track.

    Thank you

  4. Tim-Brunswick says:

    Clarification to my above comments…..they refer only to yesterday’s final hearing in Albany.

  5. Marco says:

    I agree. Alternative 1 is illegal and should not even be there. It is NOT a rational choice. Classify it as wilderness. Close the road and let nature take care of the rest as it has with so many other logging roads in the ADK’s.

    Bikes can be allowed on the old road, till it is mostly reclaimed by nature, say a period of 50 years.

    What we do not need is mechanical noise makers in the woods. Yes, I complain a lot about the blow downs. But, I am not afraid of a bit of work to clear them either. Nor rerouting around them, if that is required. We don’t need peddle powered boats on a small pond. And we really don’t need the crowds of people that WILL show up there.

    The overall climate change is not even mentioned. Yet this has a long term effect on the classification, too. We cannot afford to loose more woods to a wild forest classification. Yes, not of great impact…yet. What is a degree or two of temp change at -30F, for example? Well, maybe as it eats it’s way through the entirety of the ADK’s, a piece at a time, it will change much of the forest. Kind’a like smoking cigarettes…why did you quit? One or two doesn’t matter. Even a hundred doesn’t matter. But 20 years of smoking WILL damage your lungs or heart or circulation or…well, you get the idea. Climate change is every bit as insidious and pervasive.

  6. Balian the Cat says:

    Perhaps I am just a simpleton, but the existence of 3 alternatives sets up the possibility of another “please nobody” compromise. My $, therefore, is on Alternative #2 regardless of the merits.

  7. Justin Farrell says:

    I was standing in the back at the Albany hearing last night and I couldn’t help being distracted by a couple pro-Wild Forest guys standing next to me reeking of cigarette smoke that kept murmuring to eachother and making snide comments just about every time someone spoke in favor of wilderness…saying things like “gimme a break” & “are you kidding me” & “that’s BS”, and giggling & poking fun. Not to mention their extremely loud & obnoxious clapping everytime someone spoke in favor of Wild Forest.

    Was that you & you’re buddy, Tim?
    Class act!

    • Greg S says:

      That was my experience in Northville. I left early because I was sick of listening to it.

      • Justin Farrell says:

        Doug too no doubt, I get it….
        Much better to leave & cool off & submit wriiten comments than to stick around & let the blood keep boiling & beat up a fat guy.

    • Dan says:

      I was in Albany yesterday and heard mumbling conversations coming from both sides while others were speaking; very impolite on all parties involved. This includes those in the green shirts up front who giggled incessantly while the old guy in the wheel chair was speaking.

      • Justin Farrell says:

        Agreed, the audio was very inadequate for such a small room, even after they added a couple speakers & a new microphone halfway through the APA presentation.

  8. Real Cerise says:

    What happens to the dam if wilderness classification accepted ……
    immediately removed (by hand)
    or allowed to decay?

  9. adkcamp says:

    you don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone – thank you for your good work Dave Gibson.

  10. Todd Eastman says:

    Dave, good points.

    Alternative-1 is not a “do nothing alternative” frequently seen when alternatives are rolled out for public and agency review. Such “do nothing alternatives” are used when proposing a change of management or proposed projects of lands already managed under an approved agency management plan.

    This process is the initial classification of recently acquired state land, not a change of classification.

    The current classification process is flawed by offering a pseudo do nothing alternative… lipstick on a pig…

  11. Diane says:

    Thank you Dave for sharing your knowledge.

    “WE NEED to start sharing the forest resources instead of limiting access. ENOUGH of the Adirondacks has already been locked into the “:Wilderness” classification.”

    Motorized access DOES limit recreation, by ruining the most popular recreational activities that are the reason people visit and move to the Adirondacks. A multitude of quiet recreation activities appreciated in a non-mechanized environment (birding, x-c skiing, hiking, snowshoeing, walking, fishing, and canoeing) will be crowded out by noise, fumes etc.

    Wilderness advocates were respectful and thoughtful while being mocked by local government officials and motorized advocates. Let’s continue to “go high when they go low.”

    Yes – I want wilderness – but contrary to one speakers criticism of the many wilderness advocates sporting “I want Wilderness” t-shirts – I/we want wilderness for clean water and air, wildlife, forests, communities, people and future generations. Hardly a selfish goal.

  12. Charlie S says:

    Marco says: “we really don’t need the crowds of people that WILL show up there.”

    >> And they will show up if those Tory short-term thinking town supervisors like Ron Moore get their way Marco. In this mornings Daily Gazette it says “A handful of Adirondack Town supervisors, including those from North Hudson and Newcomb, the towns closest to Boreas Ponds, expressed support for the least restrictive alternative available.”

    This from the deregulation crowd.They like Alternative 1 because….well, because spirituality eludes them,their thinkers cannot get past the economic system it is their way of life. Money first all things else on the back-burner. Screw all things tied to the natural order or that characterize purity or wholeness or things benevolent to the soul.

  13. Charlie S says:

    “The overall climate change is not even mentioned. Yet this has a long term effect on the classification, too.”

    It is not mentioned because some people just cannot see beyond their noses Marco.

  14. Charlie S says:

    Diane says: “…we want wilderness for clean water and air, wildlife, forests, communities, people and future generations. Hardly a selfish goal.”

    The DEC and our erected officials are not as futuristic as you Diane. If they were this issue wouldn’t even be on the table!

    • Justin Farrell says:

      I recently sent an email to David Winchell asking about the small trees & brush that had been removed from the dams at LeBier Flow & Boreas Ponds this summer. Here’s his response…

      “Justin,

      The trees were removed by DEC as normal dam maintenance. Tree roots can destabilize the structure if they are allowed to grow too big. Thank you for your interest and concern with the Boreas Ponds Tract.

      David Winchell
      Public Outreach, Region 5”

      Clearly, the DEC is not at all even considering a possible Wilderness classification, or allowing a natural reclamation of this area, same with the APA.
      I also contacted Phil Brown about it, as well as John Warren, but neither of them didn’t even bothered to respond. Thanks a lot guys!

      • Boreas says:

        Justin,

        Perhaps John and Phil are investigating the situation. They won’t reply any sooner by flogging them. Frankly, I’m surprised you received a reply so quickly from DEC.

        Certain non-conforming structures in Wilderness areas have been left to stand. It seems to be determined on a case-by-case basis. Until the official status is determined for the parcel, I would think it would need to be maintained. If on the off-chance the dam and ponds wind up in Wilderness, there will likely be another kerfuffle about specifically what to do with the roads and dam. Perhaps leaving the dam may be a compromise to allow a Wilderness classification for the ponds. Who knows??

        • Justin Farrell says:

          Thanks Borris (haha)
          I agree, people are busy & it’s best to be polite & patient, common courtesy is nice too sometimes.

        • These were small trees and brush that DEC eliminated. They hardly posed an immediate threat to the integrity of the dams.

          • Paul says:

            Like he said they did not pose and immediate threat (“grow too big”). Better to cut them when they are small before they do. I don’t think we can fault them for doing something early when it is cheap and easy to maintain.

  15. Bruce says:

    It seems to me the ponds themselves are a big part of what this is all about. How attractive to visitors will Boreas be if the dam goes out and it becomes a swamp with a small creek running through it? Wilderness or not, maintaining the dam will ensure Boreas is what it is.

    • Russ B says:

      The ponds will still be there. Just not one giant pond. There is a reason the name is plural. Look at the old usgs maps (from 1902) to see the 3 distinct ponds.

      • Boreas says:

        It also depends on what the beaver do… Who knows? They may replace it with an even bigger dam!

        • Paul says:

          Once things grow up and mature (in the Wilderness scheme) the beavers will move on to more open places with smaller trees and better food. The neighboring timber lands for example.

          • Boreas says:

            Perhaps. Beavers carved their niche in nature by flooding lands, thus keeping them open and relatively free of trees. Sedimentation, flooding, and lack of food can force them to seek out a new area close by in the same drainage – but as long as there is flowing water, offspring may disperse, but activity will usually continue in the mother stream. It is a dynamic process, not static like human dams.

      • Bruce says:

        Russ,

        And if you look carefully at the foot of the lower pond, you’ll see a dam. It’s there on an 1895 quad. Probably for staging logs in the winter.

        • Russ B says:

          I saw that. However, and I could be wrong, but the ponds as shown are the low water level. For logging, any raised water levels would be temporary for staging, and flushing.

    • Justin Farrell says:

      I would venture to guess that these dams aren’t going anywhere unless heavy equipment is used to dismantle them. They’re not built like the way the dams at Duck Hole, Marcy Dam, or Cedar Lakes were built, which were mostly wood and used to float logs downriver. Not the case for the dams at LeBier Flow & Boreas Ponds, where trucks were used to haul out the timber. Other than the concrete abutments for the bridges possibly eroding away someday, I couldn’t imagine the large gravel & stone embankments on both sides ever washing away, and I’m sure such a 15-20 foot breach would be no challenge for beavers.

  16. Tony Goodwin Tony Goodwin says:

    I was at the Schroon Lake hearing and spoke for Alternative 4. That is the most restrictive of the alternatives proposed by the APA. It is not, however, total wilderness and leaves the road to the dams and the dams themselves as Primitive with administrative use of the existing road. I said that I favored that approach so as not to immediately close off the possibility of maintaining those structures. Over time, removing the dams may well be reasonable, but I don’t think we should claim to have a perfect vision of the future of this tract just yet.

    I also repeated what I have said before regarding the Essex Chain, That is more of a paddling destination than Boreas, and it offers far more good lakeside camp sites. Those campsites are not being used, but should be and likely would be with easier access to the water and a lifting of the ban on fires. Reclassifying the land west of Chain Lakes Road as Wild Forest would end the controversy about the uses of the roads and allow for easier access to the water. Even with Wild Forest designation, there would not need to be any motorized boat use on the lakes if that was how the UMP was written/rewritten.

    • Bruce says:

      Tony,

      I wonder how much diversity is actually being seen at the various public hearing locations? What I mean is are the same groups making the rounds in order to be heard over and over, or do we have an entirely new set of folks at each location?

      • Justin Farrell says:

        Judging from the Northville & Albany meetings…lots of familiar faces with similar but different thoughts to share.

  17. Tim-Brunswick says:

    I very seldom look back or comment/debate responses to my comments, which I automatically assume aren’t received well by the majority of Almanac followers. However this will be a belated exception and a direct none-too-friendly response to “Justin Farrell’s” ignorant assumption & “class act” comment:

    NOBODY from either side of the issue clapped in an “obnoxious” manner, but as noted by “Dan”….everybody appropriately & often heartily applauded their favored speakers! As to Class Act, Mr. Farrell….my “Buddy” was the elderly gentleman in the wheelchair that I was pleased to assist throughout a very long tiring day for him in particular. He is indeed a “Class Act” and I was proud to be with him!

    As you may have noticed he was a bit off target on some of his comments, but he was doing his best to represent his side of the issues. Frankly I applaud EVERYONE who had the courage to actually take the podium and speak their views Wednesday in front of a very large crowd!

    Thank you

    • Justin Farrell says:

      Ok thanks Tim,
      Obviously you weren’t in the back of the room where I was next to these two inconsiderate individuals. Thanks for the reply.

  18. Chuck Parker Chuck says:

    I have been told by those involved with the Adirondack Almanac that the articles are not Journalism or held to Journalism standards. I have to agree with that one. After reading Dave Gibson’s Article Boreas Ponds Alternative Shouldn’t Be There, it is more of a propaganda article and don’t let the counter points or truth get in the way. May I show some written excerpts.

    “Yet, the APA has chosen to present the public with an alternative (Alternative 1) “ There are actually four alternatives and the APA, has not presented one over the other It has been those giving testimony that has mentioned alternative 1 more than the others.

    There also is an interesting fact that there was originally only three alternative to be presented. The fourth one came up, prior to the first hearing, when those within the green shirts objected before the first meeting. Then they said they could not support the forth alternative they helped craft.

    “The map depicting this alternative graphically reveals the negative impacts” The negative impact should be described as what the author sees as negative impacts. Many feel the depiction of possible land use as both legal, ethical, and the moral thing to do (working within the Guidelines of the ASLMP).

    “Alternative 1 would allow the intensive use of the former Boreas Lodge site”…… “The allowed uses are likely to pose unacceptable compromises to the ecological integrity and remote wilderness character of the Boreas Ponds.” Another misleading statement. The use of the lodge site per regulations has to be limited to where it would not pose any negative impact to the environment per ASLMP guidelines.

    I could go on with further examples. So as not to be confusing lets call the Boreas Ponds tract forested lands. If you read the state master plan (the plan for short) and don’t cherry pick your way through it you will see there are arguments for Wilderness and Wild Forest. It is my opinion that if you read your way through the plan that there are more points for a Wild Forest Classification. The restriction on land use that would affect the quality of the forested lands, ponds, etc, under Wild Forest would be just as protective as land use under Wilderness. The big difference there would be certain land uses permitted again under SLUMP guidelines, as long as it does not negatively impact the existing environmental conditions with a Wild Forest Classification.

    With the Wild Forest Classification there is also the UMP Unit Management Plan Process that can in a more timely matter address land use issues that may arise and also allow and control permissible land use.

    For example if roads or trail deteriorate from allowable uses or over time they can be closed down or further restricted as to what can use the trails

    I would think if some of the proponents of a Wilderness Classification looked at what can be done under a Wild Forest Classification, they would have to say while that it is not their preferred classification method that it is a reasonable and permissible way of determining land classification and use.

    Again this article, per my opinion, is misleading in its presentation, if simply by a matter of omission. This article could have been more representative of the facts and still represented the author’s displeasure with Alternative 1. The author has that talent and ability.

    • Bruce says:

      Chuck,

      Very well put. Mixing fact, opinion and speculation under the guise of fact always leaves me with a feeling of “did I miss something?”

    • Boreas says:

      “There also is an interesting fact that there was originally only three alternative to be presented [true]. The fourth one came up, prior to the first hearing, when those within the green shirts objected before the first meeting [true].Then they said they could not support the forth alternative they helped craft [???].”

      Indeed, many in the environmental community objected to the original 3 alternatives that did not provide the highest level of protection for the areas of the parcel most likely to be affected by unrestricted automobile access. But the 4th proposal was still an APA proposal offered as an appeasement to the environmentalists as they simply ran out the clock. But obviously it still fell well short of offering maximum protection, and the “green shirts” are simply calling them on it.

      The fact is, the APA refused to offer a proposal that is as environmentally strong as Alt.1 is weak. Typically when looking for a compromise, both extremes of an argument are brought to the table, the extremes are eliminated, and middle ground is sought. In this particular process, the extreme, strict Wilderness option was never offered – therefore, any compromise will result in a shift toward less environmental protection. Not exactly bargaining in good faith…

      • Bruce says:

        Boreas,

        What proposal can you think of which will offer reasonable protection yet not be at either extreme?

        • Boreas says:

          As a compromise, I like the current interim arrangement, with the possible addition of regulated auto or guided access for people with limited mobility only. I believe it has allowed a significant amount of access while minimizing impact to the wetlands area of the parcel.

          That being said, I would prefer the road to be closed at the highway, but would concede it wouldn’t be a significant difference. Bottom line is, I have never equated “access” with automobile access.

      • Paul says:

        Even the “least restrictive” option is offering enough Wilderness land for an entire NEW wilderness area under state classification – to say that these are just “extremes” doesn’t seem to fit the facts here? There is obvious compromise in all the alternatives. There are extreme views here but not really extreme alternatives.

  19. James Marco says:

    Well, the fact is: “We, the people…” need to make our desires known to our elected representatives and their appointees in government. We can chose to present or opinions and bring discussion between either of the four presented options or NONE of them. I think we should close the road. Let the dam fall apart and let nature return what it thinks should be, ie. the ongoing natural stasis, to the area.

    This is not the easy choice for government. Yes, it saves dollars initially over building parking lots, and ongoing maintenance of what is. But, this IS the wilderness classification. No involvement in the land other than to maintain the foot trails needed for access. This means a large segment of the population will be against it. The MONEY driven portion of the population will want mechanized access. They want to sell bikes, snowmobiles, motorboats, fishing gear, etc. They want help from a government that traditionally leaves the ADK’s alone.

    The more conservative population want the wilderness. They want the peace and quiet of the woods. They want the trial of working to get somewhere and the satisfaction of knowing that it exists as a destination. Whether it will ever become used and exploited like the rest of the world views “wilderness”, is not something they wish to see happen to the ADK’s. It is rare that these people even bother to come out and say anything. Yet, they passionately shout about our options, letting their feeling be known…taking the long view.

    The Long View. Yes, lets take a moment and simply reflect about our children. The Long View. Lets take another moment and reflect on where they can possibly get the goods and material items to sustain the worlds population in the future. The Long View. Lets wonder what will happen when those resources are gone and we live off the garbage piles of the waste of previous centuries. Well, WE ARE NOT THERE YET. I would prefer we NEVER get there and simply put back in balance what we have destroyed. We live in an unsustainable world. To hope that we can have a voice in a little common sense protection of what we have left of the forest is not too much to ask, is it? In the next century, people will see our actions as tragically inadequate. That is NO reason not to take The Long View.

    • Boreas says:

      Well put James. The popular view is rarely the best long-term solution. Formation of the Forest Preserve was a rare forward-looking government action – on par with National Parks. Luckily, efforts to water it down have been met with heavy opposition. Hopefully future generations will continue to champion protection of this unique resource.

  20. Paul says:

    If the logic here were correct and that any degradation of the resource must be avoided there would really be no alternatives other than no use. The state could classify the whole parcel as intensive use if they wanted to do. There wouldn’t even be these other classifications if the only option is the lowest impact option. We are not talking about building a road you are talking about keeping a small portion of road mileage open on the tract. Clearly a legal alternative.

Leave a Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *