Sunday, January 8, 2017

Boreas Ponds Dam Drives Debate

boreas ponds damThe Adirondack Park Agency held public hearings on Boreas Ponds at eight different locations around the state in November and December. Hundreds of people spoke, offering a potpourri of opinions. But one constant was a sea of green T-shirts bearing the slogan “I Want Wilderness.”

BeWildNY, a coalition of eight environmental groups, created the T-shirts to push the idea that Boreas Ponds should be classified as motor-free Wilderness.

Green groups have floated several Wilderness proposals for the 20,758-acre Boreas Ponds Tract, and though they differ widely, they agree that the land encircling Boreas Ponds should be Wilderness, the most restrictive and protective of the APA’s seven classifications for state land.

When the APA released its options for the tract in October, however, all three called for classifying a former logging road leading to Boreas Ponds as Wild Forest, a designation that could (but not necessarily) allow the public to drive all the way to the shore. After an outcry from environmentalists, the agency added a fourth option that classified as Primitive the last mile of the road. Under this proposal, the public would not be allowed to drive to the ponds, but state officials could.

The assumption in all four APA alternatives is that the state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) will use the road to maintain a dam at the foot of Boreas Ponds. And that means maintaining the road as well. This raises two questions: Should the dam be maintained? And, if so, could it be maintained without motor vehicles?

None of the environmental groups is calling for the dam’s removal, though Adirondack Wilderness Advocates argues that it should not be maintained. The Adirondack Council and Adirondack Mountain Club (ADK), both members of BeWildNY, do want the dam maintained. Adirondack Wild says it could support only “minimal maintenance” of the structure. Protect the Adirondacks says there’s not enough information for a decision.

“We would like to see a scientific assessment on the retention and removal of the dam,” said Peter Bauer, executive director of Protect. “Neither DEC nor the APA has wanted an open and honest discussion of what the management implications are, what the ecological implications are, and what the recreational implications are.”

1999 mapThe major ecological questions concern wetlands and fish. There are extensive wetlands in and along Boreas Ponds. If the dam were breached and the water level fell, the wetlands and the wildlife frequenting them might be affected. Boreas Ponds also harbors brook trout, a species that dwells in cold water. If the dam were breached, the amount of cold-water habitat would likely shrink. The waterway also is home to a native strain of white sucker, a species that prefers shallow water.

“Based on the information available to date, we assume that maintaining the current water levels and the dam helps protect sensitive environmental resources,” said Willie Janeway, executive director of the Adirondack Council. He agrees, however, that more study is warranted.

The ponds also have been touted as a destination for canoeists and kayakers, offering magnificent views of the High Peaks from the water. Without the dam, though, it’s uncertain how much water would be left to paddle.

John Brodt, a spokesman for Access the Adirondacks, a group formed by the local towns, said the dam is essential for tourism. “It is the dam that created the ponds and gives the property the tremendous aesthetic and recreational values that led the state to buy it in the first place,” he said. “Without the dam, there are no Boreas Ponds.”

Finch, Pruyn & Company built a wooden dam on Boreas Ponds in 1915 to facilitate log drives on the Boreas River, according to Richard Nason, a retired woodlands manager for Finch and the company’s unofficial historian. The dam was rebuilt several times. The current concrete spillway was constructed in the 1990s, decades after the last log drive, with the aim of enlarging the water body for recreational use. Finch, Pruyn also built a corporate lodge (since razed) on the south shore.

Boreas Ponds used to be three ponds connected by a wetland stream. When the water level was raised, they became one water body, but the major lobes are still called First Pond, Second Pond, and Third Pond.

Nason said a timber cruiser who visited the ponds in 1911, before the construction of the first dam, reported that only First Pond had much water. The other two were mostly swampland. Nason said First Pond is forty-two feet deep; in contrast, Second Pond is seven to eight feet deep and Third Pond only three to four feet deep. “You take the dam out, and you’re left with just First Pond,” he said.

An 1895 topographical map does show three ponds surrounded by wetlands. First and Second are joined by a relatively short channel. Second and Third are joined by a much longer channel. E.R. Wallace wrote about the ponds—or, rather “Boreas Pond”—in his Descriptive Guide to the Adirondacks, published in the late 1800s:

1895 map“The Boreas, a source of the Hudson, by the Boreas River, is in reality two distinct bodies of water connected by short narrows. It is an uninteresting sheet with marshy shores but yields large numbers of speckled trout and commands to the N. a grand and most fascinating mountain prospect.”

Assuming Wallace’s description is accurate, it suggests that if the dam were removed, trout would still live in the ponds (not taking climate change into account) and there would still be a view of the High Peaks.

Neil Woodworth, executive director of the Adirondack Mountain Club, believes the dam enhances the paddling experience, but all might not be lost if it were gone. “You’d probably have three smaller ponds; you’d probably have a different wetland. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing; I’m just saying conditions would be different,” he said. “If there were channels between the three ponds it might be as appealing [to paddle] and maybe even more appealing.”

Pete Nelson of Adirondack Wilderness Advocates argues that the emphasis on paddling is misplaced. “AWA sees the Boreas Tract as primarily a hiking destination, not a paddling destination,” he said. “Even with the dam the ponds do not offer extensive paddling opportunities.”

Adirondack Wilderness Advocates formed last year to push for designating nearly all of the Boreas Ponds Tract as Wilderness. Under its plan, people would have to hike 6.8 miles along former logging roads to reach the ponds. Adirondack Wild also wants to close the logging roads to motor vehicles.

labier flowBeWildNY and Protect the Adirondacks favor allowing the public to drive as far as LaBier Flow, an impounded stretch of the Boreas River created by a second dam downstream from Boreas Ponds. From there, hikers would have to walk the final mile to the ponds. Canoeists and kayakers would have the option of paddling across the flow to reduce their carry by a half-mile. (Nason doubts the flow would be navigable if the LaBier dam is not retained).

Under BeWildNY’s proposal, neither the public nor state officials would be allowed to drive the last mile to the ponds. However, Janeway said DEC could maintain the Boreas dam by flying in materials by helicopter or bringing them in by other means, such as horse-and-wagon.
“Other agencies, such as the U.S. Forest Service, maintain dams in wilderness under even more restrictive federal rules,” he said. “It is not easy, but it can be and is done.”

Though the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan does allow DEC to maintain dams in Wilderness Areas, Bob Stegemann, the department’s regional director, sees Janeway’s idea as unrealistic. “Maintaining dams is not an easy task,” he told the Explorer last fall. “Everything’s feasible, but what is the cost? Is it practical?”

The APA has not fully explained why it failed to include an option with all Wilderness around Boreas Ponds, but it says it consulted with DEC in drafting the proposals. After reviewing the comments from the hearings, the APA will vote on the classification later this year. It could choose one of the four options or come up with a new one. Following that decision, DEC will draft a management plan in which the department will decide what to do about the dam and the road. DEC could prohibit the public from driving all the way to the ponds even if the road is classified as Wild Forest.

Dave Gibson of Adirondack Wild complains that the Boreas Ponds dam should not be an issue at all in the classification debate. Rather, he said, that’s a question that should be discussed when DEC drafts it management plan.

“I don’t think it’s in danger of collapse,” he said of the dam. “There’s nothing immediately that needs to be done, and it’s taking up a lot of the discussion over classification, which it does not deserve.”

Photos from above: Boreas Ponds dam by Phil Brown; Map from 1999; Map from 1895; and LaBier Flow by Gerry Lemmo.

A version of this story originally appeared in the Adirondack Explorer, a nonprofit newsmagazine devoted to the protection and enjoyment of the Adirondack Park. Get a full print or digital subscription here.


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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103 Responses

  1. Bob Meyer says:

    Interesting that if you look at the 1895 map [i have the real thing from the USGS] there already is a dam at the foot of First Pond.
    Wonder what the actual original ponds looked like???

    • Phil Brown Phil Brown says:

      Bob, I think you’re right. It appears from the map that there was a dam prior to the one built in 1915. I wonder if it was around in Wallace’s day. He refers to the pond as “Boreas Pond” but says it was really two ponds.

  2. According to data collected by DEC is August 1983 the bottom waters of First Pond are anoxic during the summer months. This is most likely the result of the large organic inputs from the association wetlands. This makes the deep, cold-water of the pond unsuitable for cold water fish. There is a zone of cold oxygenated water around the thermocline. Dropping the water level by five feet would reduce the volume of this habitat, but it would still exist. Boreas Ponds does not and will never serve as a deep cold-water refugia for cold water fish species. Nevertheless, the ponds currently do support cold water species. Near-shore habitats are likely the most important for these species. In fact, surveys of the ponds show plenty of cold-water species in these areas. We need more data to understand the hydrology of the ponds and associated wetlands, as well as how wildlife are using these areas. There are numerous benefits to fish from removal of the dams, including opening fish passage, reducing water temperatures, and greater organic inputs to the Boreas River downstream of the dams.

  3. Justin Farrell says:

    Phil,
    Just curious why you choose not to report the fact that the DEC has already started maintenance on both dams last summer, by removing all of the small trees & brush that had been growing along both dams? Seems like relevant public information that a natural reclamation process isn’t even being considered by our government! No?

    – Justin

    • Phil Brown Phil Brown says:

      I didn’t speak to DEC about that.

      • Justin Farrell says:

        Wouldn’t want to question a lawsuit ally?
        I spoke with David Winchell of the DEC via email, he said “the trees were removed by DEC as per normal dam maintenance”. This leads one to believe that the decision to maintain the dams has already been made, and a natural reclamation process isn’t even being considered.

        • Phil Brown Phil Brown says:

          Justin, I resent the implication of your question. As far as the state’s evident intent to maintain the dams, that’s the point of the story.

          • Justin Farrell says:

            Right, so rather than question the powers that be about it, let’s just stir up the debate again.

            • Phil Brown Phil Brown says:

              Not sure what your point is. I’m also not sure why you are so fixated on some bushes or saplings that DEC removed near the dams. If DEC intends to maintain the dam–or even if it just wants to have that option–it makes sense for it to remove the plants before they grow bigger.

              • Justin Farrell says:

                Phil, my point is simply that it seems clear that our government officials are not interested in a natural reclamation process under a Wilderness classification (which your report vaguely indicates), AND that you failed to report the fact that the DEC has already started performing maintenance on the dams. I believe it to be our duty as citizens of New York State to question such sneaky actions performed our government like this without public input, and before the area is even officially classified. If I’m way off base on this then I apologize! – Justin

                • Paul says:

                  Obviously if some of the proposals under consideration include keeping the dams maintained, maintaining the dams isn’t sneaky. That would be better characterized as taking care of assets that we just bought. You make it sound like it is the governor that is out there cutting back some saplings, when it is actually some person who has no idea what is going on with the classification! We often take good care of stuff that we decide to get rid of later. Don’t sweat this.

                  • Justin Farrell says:

                    Thanks Paul, I kind of look at it like… “Hey the owners of this property won’t care if we go ahead & perform this work right now instead doing the same amount of work in a few months, even though we didn’t quite exactly get the OK just yet to perform this work, or get a final decision on what the final plan for the project is.”

                    • Justin Farrell says:

                      …And if you’re going to write a story about debatable maintenance on the dams, I find it a little odd that you wouldn’t want to include the fact that maintenance has already begun. Tha’s all. -Justin

    • Paul says:

      Why wouldn’t they do some maintenance work on the dam when a decision has not yet been made?

      • Justin Farrell says:

        Why shouldn’t they wait to do any maintenance on the dams until a final decision has been made?

        • I don’t understand the angst over the removal of a few saplings from the base of the dam. Do you really believe that such minimal maintenance will prolong the time it takes for the dam to deteriorate and disappear if it is decided not to maintain it?

          Take the hike into Scott Pond on the Indian Pass trail and check out the remains of an old stone logging dam that has persisted for over 120 years. This is a stream that experiences significant spring runoff that moves fairly large boulders. Down by the lean-to, the crossing changes every year because the spring runoff rearranges the rocks, including some quite large ones. And that is only a feeder stream to Indian Pass Brook, not the main stream. I expect that the dam by Scott Pond will still be evident in another 120 years barring a deliberate effort to remove it. Does the Boreas River at that point have significantly stronger spring flooding? I doubt it.

          If OTOH they decide the dam(s) must go and that they will be removed, it will entail heavy equipment that will be far more disruptive in the near term than the removal of a few saplings. My advice re: the removal of saplings from the dam, don’t get your knickers in a knot over it. It is no big deal one way or the other.

          • Justin Farrell says:

            Thanks James.
            I get it. The sapligs hardly posed any threat to the dams in immediate future, and I just found it a little odd that the DEC was in such a rush to remove them, and I just thought that the fact that maintenance has already begun was worth noting.
            – Justin

            • Boreas says:

              Justin,

              Another thing to keep in mind that this maintenance was probably done by a crew that was performing other brush/tree-cutting duties elsewhere in the parcel. I doubt they were sent in just to do the dam.

              Other road maintenance/grading has been done at the gate and other parking areas, and the road situation hasn’t been finalized either. I think DEC was basically tidying-up the property as Guv may have been rumored to show up for a visit to his new playground.

  4. Bob Meyer brings up an interesting point that there was already a dam in 1895. So, in effect, we have no idea whether the pond(s) would exist at all if the dams were removed or allowed to deteriorate.

    To me, the debate over whether the DEC should be allowed to maintain the dam(s) with motor vehicles or required to use helicopters and/or horse drawn wagons is a purely ideological distinction. A helicopter is a motor vehicle if the lack of motor sounds is your concern and a horse-drawn wagon is a mechanical, wheeled vehicle albeit with “rustic charm”. If the DEC is to maintain the dams, and I think they should as they are part of the character of the place, it will be a relatively infrequent intrusion and I don’t see the point of complicating the process unnecessarily.

    • Boreas says:

      James,

      It isn’t difficult to determine what would happen if one or both dams were to be removed. I understand TNC had water depth studies performed, so it should be relatively easy to determine the final water levels depending on the final height of the dams or their total removal. Since most of the ponds are quite shallow, only the deepest channels will remain if the dams are gone.

      The 1895 dam was likely a logging dam that they could use to raise the water level to collect logs in the impoundment, then drop the height in order to flood the river and float the logs downstream in spring. So the amount of water shown by the old map could be misleading, depending on the dam’s level when it was mapped.

      • You can find an old bathymetric map of the ponds in Adirondack Wilderness Advocate’s official public comments >> http://adirondackwilderness.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/AWA-Official-Comments.pdf

        • Boreas says:

          Thanks. I like the simulated aerial view of approximate size comparison.

        • Given that there appears to have been a succession of dams starting even before the 1895 map, and that there has undoubtedly been sedimentation behind said dams over the intervening 120+ years, I have doubts about how instructive the oldest maps are in terms of what the shorelines would be if the dams were removed, and that is assuming that the maps were accurate to begin with.

          One only has to look at the area above Marcy Dam or Scott Pond relative to the stream just below the dam site to see that neither resembles its original/natural state. And the Scott Pond Dam has been breached for well over 100 years. There are still logs that were cut in the 1890s semi-buried in the accumulated gravel bars in the pond area. It is only in the last decade that the logging camp area below the old Scott Pond Dam is starting to fill in with trees. When I adopted Scott Clearing Lean-to 14 years ago the logging camp area was mostly open with only a few birches growing there.

          • Boreas says:

            That is a good point. Depending on when the depth studies were taken it would certainly have a bearing on the final result with no dam. Other factors to consider is where would the sediment end up? It would vary on how fast the water was lowered and on future flood episodes.

  5. Boreas says:

    I don’t really understand Dave Gibson’s stance that the dam is not and should not be a part of the classification discussion. Obviously the dam is critical to the future of the ponds themselves, and the ponds will be critical to what recreational uses will be available in the future. If it is a foregone conclusion that the dam will remain and be maintained, then yes, it is irrelevant to the discussion. This conclusion however excludes the possibility of a Wilderness classification for the part of the parcel that includes the dam and main water bodies. But I have yet to hear anything from APA/DEC stating that the dam definitely will remain and will be maintained into the future. I would agree that this certainly seems to be their stand based on the 4 recommendations out forth, but can anyone point me to a document that states this certainty? Was it stated during the hearings?

    It seems to me that the APA is acting like it was totally blindsided by environmental groups wanting stronger protection than it offered in its 4 proposals. But surely these people anticipated the outcry and seem to be doing their best to ignore it. As I have said before, this whole process of hearings, proposals, and ‘consideration’ is a sham. I don’t even know why they are taking time to review the comments. I don’t believe the hearings will have any role in their classification plans. They will split the parcel up according to one of the first 3 proposals, and that will be that. I will indeed be surprised if this isn’t how it shakes out. My fingers are still crossed that they will keep the current interim plan in place indefinitely, but I also realize I am in the minority.

    • Justin Farrell says:

      Boreas,
      I’m very much in agreement with you!
      This state land transaction reeks of predetermined government conspiracy, and here we are just going through the motions to make things look all official like. In a sense, it’s like Essex Chain Part 2. My hat’s off to the many calling BS!

    • Bruce says:

      Boreas,

      In general, I agree. As was pointed out, this has a scent reminiscent of Essex Chain, and the Hudson River access bridge. Protect said the bridge had to go, knowing full well that without it, certain other things could not happen.

      Boreas Ponds dam debate is not quite as clear as the bridge issue, but I think we all agree on one thing…without the dams Boreas will be lesser than it is now, and lending itself better to a Wilderness classification. How much less is open to speculation.

      • Boreas says:

        Bruce,

        To many of us, BP wouldn’t be “lesser” of an attraction with no dam and smaller ponds. It would be less of a draw to paddlers and possibly photographers, but still would attract many people. With a marshy wetland interspersed with beaver ponds it has an enormous attraction to wildlife and those who enjoy observing it. It would still have magnificent views, they just wouldn’t be reflected in a man-made pond.

        I guess a lot of this discussion is purely philosophical. Which is better – more visitors with more impact on nature or fewer visitors with less impact? There will never be consensus on these opposing views.

  6. Craig says:

    The Adirondack Wilderness Advocates’ response included both a map from around 1870 and a depth map from a few years ago. Clearly, there would ponds even if the dam were to be removed.

    This response was posted by Adirondack Explorer here:

    http://www.adirondackexplorer.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/AWA-Official-Comments.pdf

  7. terry says:

    If the dam was not there would anyone even care about this place?

  8. Bob Meyer says:

    Again, the maps prior to the 1st USGS 1895 maps are notoriously inaccurate as to shape of water bodies.
    If you study the maps from that era vs the later 1:62,500
    maps mostly from the 1950s it’s obvious.

  9. J. Hart says:

    The entire Boreas tract should be classified as wilderness and Gulf Brook Road closed at Blue Ridge Road. The dams should not be maintained. As concrete structures, they will likely last for a long time anyway. The roads on the property should not be maintained. They will slowly revert to a condition of wildness — not in any of our lifetimes, but eventually.

    A precedent for this is in the Western High Peaks Wilderness. The trail from Ampersand Lake to Duck Hole was once a gravel road. It still has the straightness of a road, but the forest is closing in and it has to be maintained to keep vegetation from obscuring the trail. Duck Hole was once a beautiful pond. During Irene, the dam washed out and the former pond is now a very interesting area going through the stages of succession. Mother Nature is reclaiming it and it is still beautiful. The same will happen to Boreas if it is left alone. We need to prioritize protection over recreation.

  10. Hope says:

    Some seem to forget that NYS would not own Boreas if not for the negotiated approval of the surrounding communities. These communities could have nixed the entire transaction. Rest assured that other Adirondack Communities are paying attention to this and may thwart future acquisitions in their townships.

    • Buck says:

      No doubt, Hope. You are absolutely correct.

      Fort Ann turned away a proposal from the sate to add some of the former Finch lands of this purchase to the Forest Preserve. If approved it would’ve established a possible hiking loop on Buck Mt., offered a small but challenging rock climbing destination, provided access to a few small ponds and the Putnam Mt. Range for numerous recreational pursuits, simplified the snowmobile trail system and created a possible route to a historic structure (the Hogtown Iron Furnace).

      At the time the town was still at odds with with DEC over the Hadlock Dam failure of 2005 and a few members of the town council would’ve been impacted by the sale as the new state lands would’ve been close to their camps. It was, and still is, a shame.

    • Boreas says:

      Hope,

      They could have, but what would have been their options after? They likely wouldn’t be able to purchase the land for themselves. They would need to find a buyer. Another logging firm? Not likely given that it had been logged quite extensively for a century. A private developer would have been the most likely. Would APA approved significant development on the parcel? Not likely. TNC wouldn’t likely have bought much of the parcel without tacit assurance that it would transfer to NYS.

      Good or bad, this is why NYS ends up with many of these parcels. Local governments still receive land taxes and NYS citizens end up with more land. So I don’t really feel the ‘benevolence’ of the local townships should weigh heavily in the discussion. But I do feel they are entitled to developing a plan for the usage and classification of the parcel – I just don’t feel these plans should necessarily trump the wishes of NYS taxpayers as there are other options to consider. Just my opinion – obviously Albany feels otherwise.

  11. Tim Brunswick says:

    The above article by Phil Brown is so obviously slanted towards the “wilderness only” movement it’s ridiculous.

    There hasn’t been a “sea of green T-shirts” at the hearings, but there have been a lot and they were bought, paid for and distributed to their groupies by the wilderness “groups/advocates”. In many cases the Green T-shirts were transported to the various hearings whereas other folks got there on their own hook so to speak and stood up to be counted without being urged into action by their head cheerleader…………

    The very last hearing was quite telling and there were as many “Alternative #1” advocates as wilderness advocates. We are now all waiting for the APA/Governor’s final decision and then of course the law suits will follow….

    At the least both sides of the issue should feel comfortable they did their best to present their case.

    • Boreas says:

      “The above article by Phil Brown is so obviously slanted towards the “wilderness only” movement it’s ridiculous.”

      Well perhaps, but it sets the stage for discussion of the blatant “non-discussion” by APA and local towns of other potential future uses of the parcel that do not involve motor vehicle incursion and man-made structures and impoundments. How else does one bring to light government inconsistencies and back-room politics without writing with a slant? There is a big article in Explorer with Mr. Moore and his imaginative visions for development and usage of the parcel. Phil is just filling in some of the blank spaces and offering some counterpoints.

  12. Pete Klein says:

    Hope above states “an inconvenient truth” about the classification process and how it all starts with the Region 5 Open Space Committee.
    If the “locals” on the committee are to endorse state land purchases, is it a smart thing to do if classification ends up being Wilderness?

  13. William Quinlivan says:

    Look, it is just my opinion, but this is the same old dance that occurs every time the State makes a purchase and much of it is ridiculous. There are roads back there. There are dams back there. There has been human activity there for well over 100 years, including logging and foresting. In my mind, this land is only State land in that the people of the State of New York supplied the money to purchase it. Bottom line is that it belongs to the people of the State. A sensible mix of wild forest and wilderness is what is called for and rather than spending all this time and money BS’ing about classification, we should be refocusing this cost and effort toward educating downState about the wonderful resource that exists here, promoting education about how to respect it and enjoy it with the future in mind. The only population growth that we are experiencing (if any) are people of retirement age, so how does it makes sense to restrict enjoyment of the land that belongs to the people of the State to only those capable of hiking more than 10 miles round trip and in most cases carrying a canoe. Sorry, but it is elitist and smacks of stupidity. It is time that we focus on education vs. restriction or we will have noting left in the park but wilderness that is accessible to only a very few. How long do you think downstaters will continue to pay the taxes to support the existence of a park that they do not understand, visit, appreciate or have learned to value?

    • J. Hart says:

      It is elitist to expect to have the right to go anywhere on public land sitting on one’s rear in a motor vehicle. Wilderness is accessible to everyone. But it is necessary to put forth the effort to access it using one’s own power.

      • I don’t recall anyone suggesting that one should “have the right to go anywhere on public land sitting on one’s rear in a motor vehicle.” We are not discussing running rampant with Jeeps and LandRovers. A road exists, quite a good road evidently in as much as it was designed to support semi logging trucks. Some of us can’t understand the attitude that says we shouldn’t be able to use the road that exists, not even part of it. You contend that “Wilderness is accessible to everyone.” Well, yes, sort of. Hypothetically anyone can take a walk in a wilderness, how far they can get is another matter. Apparently, the difficulties of those who can’t do a 13+ mile RT afoot, whether or not carrying a canoe, are of no concern to you. FWIW here is the definition of “elitist: adjective: relating to or supporting the view that a society or system should be led by an elite.” That sounds (to me) more like those who want to restrict access to the few and the fit who properly appreciate wildness than those lazy people who want “the right to go anywhere on public land sitting on one’s rear”. Your tone is demeaning, to say the least.

        • J. Hart says:

          Perhaps not Jeeps and LandRovers, but snowmobiles would be allowed under APA classification alternative 1. My primary concern with the Boreas land is that it be protected from human abuse. The best way to do that is to classify it as wilderness. That doesn’t prevent people from accessing the land, but it does put up an effort barrier. You are correct that it is of no concern to me if anyone has difficulty with that effort barrier. Again, my primary concern is for the land itself. As for the usage of “elitist”, neither I nor the message I was responding to used it correctly with respect to the dictionary definition. Both of us used it loosely to express disdain for other’s point of view.

          • Scott says:

            I don’t like snowshoeing or skiing down a trail shared with snowmobiles. I just don’t like it. Actually I hate it, and can’t wait to get to the side trail I’m heading in on. But the snowmobilers all slow down and most wave to us so they really aren’t so bad. Most of the snowmobiles are too quiet nowadays and in a odd way I wish they were louder so I can hear them coming. We usually walk in the middle of the trail and are always fearful of a collision. The interesting thing is this snowmobile trail, like most snowmobile trails in summer, is in great shape with no erosion problems and no litter problems and is great for summer bike riding. When we departed the snowmobile trail up the hiking only trail to a remote lake this weekend I was reminded of this debate about motorized use. The hiking only trail was heavily eroded and rutted with muddy sections off and on. Typical hiking trail. When we got to the lean to there was lots of garbage and discarded gear. It is sad so many great remote places have hiker litter and rutted eroded muddy trails. When we got back out to hiking on the snowmobile trail i was reminded of this debate and didn’t like being on the snowmobile trail but I liked how good they keep their trails. It is hypocritical we blame snowmoibilers for being so horrible. You can’t even tell that snowmobiles use most snowmobile trails except for their trail signs.

            • Boreas says:

              Scott,

              Just curious – why don’t you like snowshoeing/skiing on snowmobile trails? I often find them difficult to ski on WRT control, but with some fresh snow on top, they aren’t bad. Although they tend to be boring if they are fairly straight and level.

              I agree there is a huge difference in trail erosion and damage. Contrast a snowmobile trail vs. an ATV trail – again no comparison. But one should also contrast skiing/snowshoeing vs. 3-season hiking. Typically, any winter trail usage incurs less damage than 3-season use.

              Albany needs to share much of the responsibility for trail damage. They require snowmobiles to be registered and encourage safe operation – both of which transfer a sense of responsibility to snowmobilers. Contrast this to hiking requirements – zip, nada. Other than a few posted “reminders” at trailheads, no backcountry education requirements, no trail etiquette requirements, scarcity of patrolling Rangers to educate and/or ticket offenders, etc., etc.. Until inadequate bare-bones DEC staffing and trail maintenance is addressed and backcountry education requirements are required, trail damage and litter will continue to be a problem in many areas. Just as the majority of sledders are responsible, so are hikers. It is the typically the uneducated in both camps that create high-profile problems.

              • Scott says:

                I know the snowmobiles will slow down but I still fear causing a collision. One place I lived a bunch of years I was able to ski alongside the snowmobile trail to access a side trail and that was okay.

                • Boreas says:

                  Scott,

                  You are right to be wary – they don’t all slow down. Most of the trails I have shared were pretty straight and wide, so I could usually see them coming and just stepped off of the trail. Better safe than sorry…

            • terry says:

              Scott
              You say
              “The interesting thing is this snowmobile trail, like most snowmobile trails in summer, is in great shape with no erosion problems and no litter problems and is great for summer bike riding. When we departed the snowmobile trail up the hiking only trail to a remote lake this weekend I was reminded of this debate about motorized use. The hiking only trail was heavily eroded and rutted with muddy sections off and on. Typical hiking trail.”

              The snowmobile trails tend not to be on steep terrain while the hiking trails are so they get more erosion. There is very little erosion on flat ground.

    • Boreas says:

      William,

      I understand your frustration. We are all frustrated. But this public comment period is required with these acquisitions, so the “dance” is part of the show. It makes the public/taxpayers think they have a say in the classification process, which is dubious at best.

      But with regards to your thoughts on classification based on the needs of an aging population is short-sighted. How long will we Boomers really be visiting the lands? 20 years? In the meantime younger, more vigorous, possibly more environmentally-minded people are alienated by the motor vehicle usage and easy access in the backcountry. As myself and many other respondents have mentioned, there are already a multitude of drive-up forest lands around the state. They are far in excess of strict Wilderness-classified lands found within the Park. Why not embrace the unique qualities of Wilderness classification?

      I feel the current interim plan with the road closed at the halfway point (with possible permitted use by people with mobility issues) makes for the best compromise between the two differing philosophies at this point in time. Why not allow it as-is for one or two more years and come up with the best plan for the area and finalize the classification then?

      There seems to be a hell of a rush to get this done and off the table. Even the towns wanting the access are unsure how they will or can proceed. The infrastructure isn’t in place for any kind of a tourist rush. I believe Mr. Moore said that Frontier Town has neither water or sewer. Basically it is a parking lot. Will this leave a bad taste in the mouths of tourists who can’t find a place to stay within many miles? The Ponds aren’t going anywhere in the foreseeable future. Why rush? Think it through and let the towns begin the process of permitting and zoning to allow development of Frontier Town and amenities for the tourists they hope will come. Otherwise they will end up spending their food and lodging dollars miles away where they do now and the area may never end up being the tourist attraction the towns hope it will be.

  14. Henrietta Jordan says:

    Phil, do you know if and how one can access the written comments provided to the APA on the Boreas Ponds classification?

    • Phil Brown Phil Brown says:

      They are a public record. You can request them from the Adirondack Park Agency under the Freedom of Information Law.

  15. George L. says:

    How many individuals or town representatives who believe that Boreas Ponds must – for recreational or economic reasons – be a paddler’s destination, have paddled Henderson Lake or Preston Ponds? The log books say very few have. If the logs are accurate, is the emphasis on paddling Boreas Pond (I am a paddler) rationale, emotional, or political?

  16. Jim S. says:

    I don’t see how any of the proposed classifications for the Boreas Ponds would increase tourism for the Adirondacks as a whole. Allowing motor vehicle access to the LaBier flow will certainly draw more people to the ponds,but I think they will be drawn from other areas of the park. If the entire road were closed and all of the recent land acquisitions surrounding the High Peaks Wilderness were added to that wilderness the draw could be global . Drive up camping is available everywhere. It is common. Make the north country more unique and keep out the cars, bikes and snowmobiles!

  17. Charlie S says:

    “Wonder what the actual original ponds looked like???”

    In the Brooklyn Eagle August 7,1875 a party was ascending marcy and gave this description: “Just below is visible a portion of the upper Ausable quietly reposing in its basin, glossy and black as jet…..To the north shines Lake Placid, toward Whiteface whose feldspar slide shows like a marble column. Beyond and to the northwest shimmer faintly the Saranacs like a cluster of nebulae. Almost due south is the Boreas Pond….”

    According to this description Boreas was one unit.

  18. James Marco says:

    Close the bloody road. Let the dams go. There is no reason to interfere with the natural reclamation of land. It was not much used before the sale. Without the protection of distance it will be trampled.

  19. Jon White says:

    Elitists,
    Your hatred astounds me.
    how can you show such contempt. for the elderly , the disabled, and for families with small children.
    I have seriously cutback my trips to the Adirondacks.because of the recent blockades of newly acquired properties.
    you will alienate yourselves from many people, if you continue on the path you are going.

    • George L. says:

      According to the website of the NYS Department of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, there are 180 state parks, including “beaches, boat launches, hiking trails, campsites, and golf courses”.

      None of these 180 destinations includes the “Adirondack Park”, because it is not, and never has been, a park. The publicly owned portion is forever wild under the NYS Constitution, and it is part of the NYS Forest Preserve..

      Many people fought very hard to create and then protect what we have today – a resource unique in America, if not the world.

      Imagining that it is a park, when it is not a park, leads us nowhere except endless fighting among ourselves..

      Support the towns, yes, support the elderly, disabled, and children, yes, but honor what we have, and keep it that way.

  20. Charlie S says:

    Jon White shouts: “how can you show such contempt. for the elderly , the disabled…”

    I am sorta curious,since this theme keeps being brought up by a select few on this site, what are the stats so far as handicapped people being inconvenienced when it comes to access in the Adirondacks? Are there real numbers, is there a real concern, or is this segment of our society being thrown in the debate just to add fuel to the fire? And if there are handicapped people being denied access because of restrictions are there enough of them to change the laws?

    I see elderly in the woods all of the time when I’m on trails going up or down a mountain. And if they are that old where they need assistance or are unable to enjoy the woods because of their handicap why would they even want to go in? I’m getting all of my treks in while I am able because I know the day is going to come where I wont be able. And when I am unable I will be fine with that…that’s what good memories are for!

    • Boreas says:

      Charlie,

      Some people just hate gates. They also tend to hate laws and restrictions of any kind. And of course, anyone who suggests any restrictions is an elitist, hate monger with contempt for everyone.

      With that said, I would postulate that there are more elderly, arthritic individuals such as myself pushing hard for road closure than any other demographic. I don’t know how that fits into Jon White’s rant, but since facts are no longer considered universal, it is pointless to argue.

    • Jon White says:

      You are right Charlie,
      You out number the handicapped so they sould not matter.
      I guess we should just institutionalize all of them

      • Boreas says:

        Jon,

        If you were to read another note a few paragraphs up you will see I wrote:

        “I feel the current interim plan with the road closed at the halfway point (with possible permitted use by people with mobility issues) makes for the best compromise between the two differing philosophies at this point in time. Why not allow it as-is for one or two more years and come up with the best plan for the area and finalize the classification then? ”

        Many of us believe there should be access for people with mobility issues, and have stated in time after time. We just don’t feel it necessitates opening the road up to ALL autos to accommodate them. I believe this is the stance the state is taking as well – limited motor vehicle access.

        • Jon White says:

          I was a resident of the Adirondacks as a child, also have been going back 6to 8 times a year. .
          after the Essex Chain acquisition,and now the Boreas ponds lands. The mind set seems to be so restrictive , that only a handful of people should be able to access it. I no longer have any desire to return. I will no longer support any land acquisitions.
          I am not a criminal , just a supporter of the disabled
          I believe the road your heading on will drive away more people than just me.
          the local town’s need the tourist business to survive, after losing the tax base.
          Good luck in the future you will need it.

          • Boreas says:

            Jon,

            We are not policy-makers here. Just people with various visions for the Park having a discussion. It is a shame you no longer wish to return, since no decisions have even been made (at least officially) by the APA. It isn’t likely the APA will close the road to all, and anyone will likely be able to drive most of the way into the Ponds, so I don’t really see the basis of your bitterness. But thank you for the warning and good luck to you as well.

          • Jim S. says:

            Have many people with actual disabilities expressed interest in going into the property? I mostly hear older individuals wanting access. My wife is actually disabled and would prefer it be protected as wilderness.

            • Jon White says:

              The elderly are being discriminated against .
              In this instance as I earlier stated.
              Thank You for Your support

              • Jim S. says:

                It’s a shame we can’t do what we used to, but I don’t see any discrimination occurring here at all. Us old folk don’t need to go there if we can’t.

      • Charlie s says:

        Jon…. There is no disrespect or bias in me towards the handicapped. Indeed there is a sense of empathy in me for them and all who are less fortunate. I should have worded these thoughts differently: “And if there are handicapped people being denied access because of restrictions are there enough of them to change the laws?”

        Boreas said it right below: “We just don’t feel it necessitates opening the road up to ALL autos to accommodate them.”
        This is where I stand on this matter and I certainly did not impose that they don’t matter.

        • The idea that some vehicles (the handicapped for example) should be allowed while others should have to walk the whole 6.8 miles is problematic. It would require having a ranger or someone else at the gate to monitor who gets to drive vs who has to walk. I know of no other public trailhead that has such an arrangement. Alternatively, do we give out keys for the gate to the handicapped? Do they have to register to get a key before each trip to the area, turn the key back in after and request a key again before their next visit? If access is annual do they have to recertify each year? How do we keep the keys from being duplicated? I think the “some vehicles” idea would be a bureaucratic nightmare.

          • Motor-vehicle access exclusive to the disabled already occurs in certain areas through the CP-3 permit process. Keys aren’t given out, combinations are.

          • Jon White says:

            I believe they have as much a right to it as you or I

            • Boreas says:

              Jon,

              “They” do have as much of a right as anyone. I have never seen a sign restricting access to any individual on any state land. At this point in time, motorized access to any destination in the Park is not a right for anyone. It is simply allowed in some areas and not others.

              Even given a less-restrictive classification at BP, DEC can still restrict motor vehicle usage how they see fit. What you seem to be suggesting is that the infirm and and disabled are specifically being targeted for discrimination, which is clearly BS.

  21. James Marco says:

    Jon, I believe you are wrong.

    Elitists, – Nope, as evidenced by allowing you 100% freedom of the public lands.

    Your hatred astounds me. – I do not hate you, rather I feel sorry for you..

    how can you show such contempt. for the elderly , the disabled, and for families with small children. – I am all three. I may be old and physically disabled, but I keep on hikin’. I took my kids out into the ADK’s before they could properly walk. My eldest daughter played with a bear cub when it came over to play with her as the mother casually browsed on berries 10 feet away. I stood by and simply watched, ready to snatch her if needed. They rolled around a few times and the mother called the cub to leave. My wife carried our youngest and nursed her in the woods several times. Now, I go out with my grand kids and have a hard time keeping up. They spend hours turning over rocks near the streams and catching crabs, hellgramites, polywogs, minnows and leaches. They love frogs and toads and learned not to touch mushrooms even though squirrels ate them. They make about twice the mileage I do, just playing hide and seek in the woods. They got a big kick out of stone flies crawling out of the water onto rocks. One of my kids was so tired during a hike, she tried to climb over a blow-down and fell asleep half way over, just her diaper covered backside in the air. My grandson found out about butt sliding down a muddy/slippery mountain trail last year…now he looks for them and laughs when he finds a muddy section as he slides down it on his butt. Hell, it is just ADK dirt. He’ll get clean in the next stream we cross. Yes, I am all three of those you wish to help. And more. Personally, I would say I do not need your help.

    I have seriously cutback my trips to the Adirondacks.because of the recent blockades of newly acquired properties. – Too bad, if you are in good physical shape, you should take advantage of the freedom of the woods, including any new properties. But, I agree that there are too many people and too much evidence of people in the woods. Every trail I walk on, I find junk and trash. We do indeed need tighter restrictions and longer entrance ways into the woods as your description/experience shows…we should add at least 2 miles to any destination before allowing camping. If this deters some people, they will stay at the motels/inns before heading into the woods. No mechanical devices in the woods.

    you will alienate yourselves from many people, if you continue on the path you are going. – Yes, that’s OK. I don’t really care what other people think about me. I am more worried about the water I drink, the wood products my childrens children will need, the overall acceptance as friends of all who feel the same, regardless of other disagreements.

  22. Charlie s says:

    Jon White says: “the local town’s need the tourist business to survive, after losing the tax base.”

    What does this have to do with the handicapped? I’m curious to know the numbers so far as handicapped individuals being denied access due to restrictions? Nobody seems to have a number. As has been put forth repeatedly it should be about preserving what remains for our progeny rather than the short term thinking of economics and appeasing tourist for the sake of dollar amounts which local politicians spout more to appease their constituency (?) than to do what is right! Unless it’s about them just lacking vision which many of them do!

  23. Festus says:

    “Make Boreas Ponds Great Again!” sorry, I couldn’t resist…

  24. Charlie S says:

    James Marco says: “We do indeed need tighter restrictions and longer entrance ways into the woods as your description/experience shows…we should add at least 2 miles to any destination before allowing camping.”

    Especially so since the vegetative state has got a grip on a good chunk of this society which I believe is due to a lack of fidelity to the natural world. We’re too fixed on unresponsive heartless things! Truly I believe spiritual and intellectual qualities are absent in this society due to this void (and other things) in us. They should have a course in all schools that teach us respect for all things relative to the natural order….trees, bees, grasshoppers, butterflies, frogs, frog ponds,lily pads, a body of running water, soil, worms, etc. Imagine how much less damage there would be! Instead of finding heroes in every other person who instinctively is just doing his or her job or being in the right place at the right time,or finding Gods in millionaire entertainers we should be recognizing the real heroes,the real supreme beings…the average Joe’s and Mary’s who stand up for the holy ‘water’ not Drano.

    Now more than ever we need,not as much restrictions as,we need preservation though I don’t know how we can have one without the other. Also we need to encourage the enterprising nature that is in all of us, not encourage inertia by making every darn thing a convenience.

  25. Paul says:

    Again, even the least restrictive option here on the table leaves only a few miles of road open (what is it like 6?) and the other many many miles all shut down forever. You still get ten thousand plus new acres of Wilderness. No matter what is decided the APA’s decision will be one that greatly leans way way way over toward Wilderness. That is simply an indisputable fact. Green tee shirts or no green tee shirts.

  26. Boreas says:

    Paul,

    Again, we aren’t looking just at acreage & mileage numbers. We are looking at what part(s) of the parcel may need and/or deserve the most protection. Wetlands in general are very sensitive and more prone to overuse/abuse, which easy access encourages.

    • Paul says:

      Yes and that is why under all proposals almost all of the roads are being closed and the ponds are only restricted to some paddlers (or rowers if you want to lug in a guide boat).

      • Boreas says:

        “Almost all” of the roads being closed does not include Gulf Brook Road – the main artery directly to the heart of the wetlands.

        • With all this concern over hordes of hikers and canoers trampling and destroying a (potential) wilderness, I wonder. As I understand it the road is currently open about half way. Is anyone tracking traffic to the ponds? Is there a mad rush of people trying to get there? Are the people who are going there trashing the place or do they tend to be respectful outdoors types? I’m just curious. I know of numerous places and ponds that are much easier to get to than Boreas Ponds, even with the Gulf Road open and I visit several of them frequently. But I don’t encounter mobs of people, nor is do I see evidence of a lot of people trashing the place. Yes, I know what is happening in the High Peaks but that area is actively, even aggressively marketed. Are there plans to similarly market Boreas Ponds as a destination? Is there evidence that it will be such a desired destination that mobs will come unless it is fenced off to all but those who are willing to walk nearly 14 miles to paddle? Or are some just peddling fear? Has anyone actually studied this?

          • Boreas says:

            James,

            A month or so ago I drove back to the gate and there were more entries in the book at the gate than I anticipated. This was during hunting season. I commented here at the time what they numbers were, but I don’t recall them. If I recall, it averaged several people per day that were hiking in to the pond. Some were paddlers, some were not. This was with the 3 mile hike.

            According to Mr. Moore’s Adirondack Explorer interview they want to encourage any all legal uses in the parcel, which I would assume would mean some type of active promotion to help drive a revenue stream to the towns. But he is also cognizant of the fact that the road could be an issue with overuse. He understands the sensitivity of the area.

            It doesn’t take a mob to trash an area. An area doesn’t even have to be trashed to be ecologically altered. What we do feel confident about is that there will be more use of the Pond area with unrestricted motorized access via Gulf Brook Road than with a totally closed road, or a road closed halfway as in the interim plan.

            The question is, if it does become a destination and the towns invest heavily in amenity infrastructure, will the Genie ever be able to be put back in the bottle? Closing the road at that stage would likely go over like a fart in church.

            But I agree, I don’t see the rush to classification schemes before some more homework is done on the pros & cons of varying plans. Perhaps none of the 4 alternatives are the best plan. It has been off-limits to most for a century, what is the big rush by Albany? Do the studies then proceed with a little caution. Many of us ARE genuinely fearful of the consequences, because our fears have yet to be resolved with any clarity.

            • Boreas says:

              Perhaps this will shed some light on what is going on and why many of us are concerned.

              http://www.suncommunitynews.com/articles/the-sun/frontier-town-plans-revealed/

              • Yeah, I’d seen that. As an aside, I went to Frontier town when I was young. It must have been the first two or three years after it opened. That trip was my first exposure to the Adirondacks.

                Big plans there but again I wonder how much “market research” is behind the idea. I’m a skeptic when it comes to “build it and they will come”. 90% of retail businesses fail in the first 5 years, over half during the 1st year, in large part because the demand wasn’t there to support it. I still think it would take an intense marketing effort.

                • Boreas says:

                  James,

                  Politicians seem to always find money for marketing and promotion. Just as they can usually find $$ to build stuff. All this stuff helps them get re-elected. What irritates me is that once it is built, they can never seem to find money for maintenance. That part isn’t sexy. Hence the sorry state of DEC Ranger staffing and often deteriorating infrastructure (roads, trails, buildings, campgrounds, etc.).

                  The NYS budget crisis a few years back put a freeze on staffing, closed campgrounds, etc.. But now this seems to be the new normal at the DEC even with the emergency long gone. Now we are buying land and promoting tourism without proper DEC funding and staffing within the Park. Politics…

              • Boreas says:

                “Hiking, biking, horseback riding, snowmobiling and boating will all be allowed regardless of the exact designation of the 20,758-acre tract, which is expected to be handed down later this year.”

                I thought this statement from the Sun article was particularly illustrative of the current political energy behind the project. As I have said before, the public comment hearings were just a show.

            • Paul says:

              “What we do feel confident about is that there will be more use of the Pond area with unrestricted motorized access via Gulf Brook Road than with a totally closed road, or a road closed halfway as in the interim plan.”

              Boreas, who is “we”?

              Who is suggesting unrestricted motorized access? Nobody.

              • Boreas says:

                We = people with common sense

                Anyone wishing an open gate.

                • Paul says:

                  I see anyone who supports a less restrictive classification lacks common sense?

                  A closed gate one mile from the ponds is an open gate? That doesn’t seem to make any sense.

                  Look at the wetlands complexes around the St. Regis Chain of ponds. Let’s use Bog Pond as an example. You can drive right to upper St. Regis landing put in your boat, paddle over and carry about 200 yards into Bog Pond. Those wetlands (and many of the others in the St. Regis Chain) are pristine.

                  I seriously doubt that even with a short carry to these ponds that you are going to have the use that the St. Regis Chain ponds have. So please explain to us how they are going to get destroyed as you claim if people have easier access here?

                  • Boreas says:

                    Paul,

                    Please re-read my replies to YOUR questions – carefully. If you have an argument, state it. If you are simply going to nit-pik verbiage, I no longer feel a reason to reply. But I’ll try again:

                    “We” are simply saying there will be more usage of the area with the road open and unrestricted than with it closed. How did you get anything else out of that??

                    A gate at LaBier Flow is a gate AT the watershed, not a mile from it. A gate at the present point or at Blue Ridge Road would restrict access more, correct? Therefore more usage with a closer gate? This assumes there WILL be a gate at LaBier Flow, which I consider uncertain.

          • Boreas says:

            Another issue that should be addressed early on is Gulf Brook Road itself. Let’s assume it will be opened to LaBier Flow or vicinity and usage is only mild-moderate. I obviously didn’t drive the full length – just to the mid-gate. It was far from a smooth road enabling entry by all vehicles. People with low clearance vehicles and expensive wheels aren’t going to be too keen on driving on it. It is also fairly narrow which creates some issues when cars converge. Beyond the gate, the road appears to narrow even more.

            My question is, how long until people are wanting road improvements to increase access even more? I have a hunch that it will be widened and leveled within 5-10 years to make access easier and safer. Are there allowances for that and is it a given? Just curious – I haven’t heard it discussed.

            • James Marco says:

              I believe this will fall under road maintenance…a lot like the St. Regis area road or the Indian Pass walk down the old road from the ‘works. I would be willing to adopt the measure of closing the road from the existing half-way point. I agree about the road being narrow, but there are a couple places where cars can pass each other. Rough dirt roads and car eating pot holes are nothing new in the ADK’s. There was more traffic listed there than at Browns Tract pull off on rt 28, despite the amount of traffic. Anyway, it isn’t a concern right now. Closing the entire road would be the cheapest and best option for protecting the lands and wildlife. If not, there will certainly be heavy machinery working on the road. Everyone assumes that logging roads are good enough to travel on. Do not forget that the SOP is to spray them with a fairly thick layer of ice and sand to reinforce them for use during logging season. Often, the substrate road is simply a softer gravel/dirt. We never see that ice in warmer months. So, the roads will certainly need some sort of building up. Hence, the need for the gravel pits. Anyway, it goes on with the maintenance aspect: widening, drainage, rolling/packing, grading/leveling, etc. I believe Phil Brown mentioned it a few months ago. Dam maintenance could be performed by 4WD (or Helicopter drops in the case of major work.) Neither dam/spillway needs too much at this point, except maybe some scrubbing, as was done.

              I can still do a 7mi hike with my canoe and drive to any location in the ADK’s. Even retired and after my back surgery I don’t believe this is a problem (unless we are talking high peaks type mountaineering.) I cannot do a 50lb pack anymore, but a 20 pound pack and my canoe on wheels (another 25 pounds counting wheels, skirts, paddles and pfd) is still possible over that distance, no problem.

              One of the biggest problems is lack of manpower. The DEC needs people…bodies to do the work without detracting from other duties. I do some trail clearing and volunteer work, but it just ain’t the same as 40 hr/wk employees. Whenever stuff is added to the park, they MUST include the manpower to protect, maintain, and monitor it. This has been skipped for the past 8 years. Indeed, they don’t hire for empty slots. I used to see rangers in the woods. Now I don’t. A lot of people take advantage of this. I am out enough to see them if they were there or I am hitting a 1:1,000,000 statistic…

              • Boreas says:

                I see widening the road and adding pull-outs more of an improvement than simple maintenance. But that’s just me.

              • Bruce says:

                James,

                I seem to remember something from the very first discussions of this project. Something about the state considering the roads as “all weather” (the same as in Essex Chain), which I believe is one reason the talk about bicycle use came up. All weather does not mean something generally which can be used only under dry conditions or with special treatment in winter (ice and sand).

                When I say “bicycle use” I’m talking about recreational cyclists who use roads, whether they are paved or some form of gravel, not “mountain bikers” who enjoy the mud, blood and beer of dirt trails and nasty roads. I ride a lot on gravel in the National Forest, but not everyone has miles of National Forest to explore.

          • Paul says:

            The same claims were made wit the Essex Chain. There they have a shorter carry than you would have here (0.25 miles). As I understand it there are not the hordes that were supposed to arrive given such “easy” access. Also I have not heard about the place being trashed.

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