Monday, February 27, 2017

Boreas Ponds: A Rare Addition To Forest Preserve

Boreas Ponds photo by Carl Heilman IISome might wonder: What’s the big deal about Boreas Ponds? Yes, it boasts a fantastic view of the High Peaks, but you can paddle the waterway in less than an hour. And then what?

Unlike Lake Lila, Boreas Ponds has no sandy beaches where you can loll in the sun or go for a swim. Nor is there a nearby peak to climb for a lookout (though you could bushwhack to the top of Boreas Mountain).

Nevertheless, Boreas Ponds is a big deal. It’s one of our last chances to add a sizable water body to the Forest Preserve and declare it motor-free.

The Adirondack Park Agency has not decided how to classify Boreas Ponds. If it classifies the ponds as Wilderness, motorboats will be prohibited. If the agency classifies the ponds as Wild Forest, motorboats could be allowed, but whether they would be allowed would depend on a management plan to be written by the state Department of Environmental Conservation.

Environmental groups support a Wilderness classification, whereas local towns favor a Wild Forest designation. Not even the towns, however, are pushing for unrestricted motorboat use. Their proposal calls for only electric motors, which are quiet and pollution-free.

The odds are, then, that Boreas Ponds will be motor-free or nearly so.

Some years ago, after the Adirondack Explorer newsmagazine launched its Campaign for Quiet Waters, opponents pointed out that the Forest Preserve already has hundreds of lakes and ponds that are motor-free. Why, they asked, do we need more?

According to the APA website, there are 1,699 lakes and ponds in the Adirondack Park that are entirely surrounded by Forest Preserve. Of these, more than half (887) are classified Wilderness, Canoe, or Primitive, designations that prohibit motorized uses. No doubt many of the 786 ponds classified Wild Forest also are, practically speaking, motor-free.

So the critics of the Campaign for Quiet Waters had half a point. What they ignored, though, is that most of the motor-free ponds are tiny and remote.

Boreas Ponds is not tiny. Protect the Adirondacks recently compiled a list of the 200 largest lakes in the Park. At 339 acres, Boreas Ponds ranks 95th. That may not sound impressive, but it seems more so as you dig deeper.

Let’s look at just the top 100 lakes in the Park. Only 15 of them, including Boreas Ponds, are entirely surrounded by Forest Preserve. Of these, eight are motor-free. The largest is Lake Lila, at 1,428 acres. Thus, Boreas Ponds could become one of the largest motor-less lakes in the Forest Preserve — in the top ten.

What’s more, there won’t be many more chances in the foreseeable future to add a large lake to the Preserve. Most of the big lakes in the Park, such as Lake George, Raquette Lake, and Schroon Lake, were subdivided and developed long ago. Others, such as Brandreth Lake, Nehasane Lake, and Honnedaga Lake, are owned by families or clubs that seem unlikely to sell to the state.

At the moment, the only likely candidate for acquisition in the top 100 is Follensby Pond. The Adirondack chapter of the Nature Conservancy bought the 970-acre pond in 2008 and planned to sell it to the state. That transaction was put on hold while the state completed a larger deal with the conservancy, the acquisition of 65,000 acres of former Finch, Pruyn lands. Boreas Ponds, which the state bought last year, was the last piece of the Finch deal. That means Follensby can now move forward.

A remoter possibility for state acquisition is 1,517-acre Forked Lake, most of which is owned by the Whitney family. The only other owner is the state. Environmental groups would love it if the state bought all of the Whitneys’ 36,000 acres in the central Adirondacks. The family, however, has given no public indication that it intends to sell.

In any event, Boreas Ponds presents a rare opportunity to add a large lake to the Forest Preserve. Third Lake in the Essex Chain, the last large lake added to the Preserve, was also part of the Finch deal. Third Lake encompasses 340 acres, meaning it’s virtually the same in size as Boreas Ponds.

Boreas Ponds, it should be noted, used to be three ponds connected by wetland streams. A dam built by Finch, Pruyn raised the water level and joined the ponds. If the dam were removed or allowed to fail, the ponds would shrink.

Following are the 15 largest lakes lying entirely in the Forest Preserve, according to Protect. Those with an asterisk are motor-free:

  1. Lake Lila,1,429 acres.*
  2. Meacham Lake, 1,170 acres.
  3. Taylor Pond, 859 acres.
  4. Round Lake, 745 acres.*
  5. Cedar River Flow, 584 acres.
  6. South Lake, 485 acres.
  7. Limekiln Lake, 471 acres.
  8. Newcomb Lake, 448 acres.*
  9. Cedar Lakes, 436 acres.*
  10. Pharaoh Lake, 418 acres.*
  11. Horseshoe Lake, 399 acres.
  12. St. Regis Pond, 388 acres.*
  13. Long Pond, 357 acres.*
  14. Third Lake, 340 acres.*
  15. Boreas Ponds, 339 acres.

The above list does not include Lows Lake (3,122 acres) and Little Tupper Lake (2,290 acres). Both are popular paddling destinations that lie almost entirely in the Forest Preserve. Although both are virtually motor-free, owners of in-holdings are allowed to use motorboats.

Protect considers three of the motor-free lakes on the list — Newcomb Lake, Cedar Lakes, and Pharaoh Lake — to be inaccessible to paddlers. All three lie several miles from the nearest road. That leaves just five lakes that are both motor-free and accessible to paddlers.

Much of the debate over Boreas Ponds is about access. A well-maintained logging road leads to the ponds, but some environmental activists want it closed to motor vehicles, which would require paddlers to carry or wheel their boats seven miles to reach the ponds. Protect and several other environmental groups support allowing the public to drive to within a mile of the ponds.

Assuming Boreas Ponds is designated motor-free, then, the next question is: should  it be a paddling destination, like the Essex Chain, or a backpacking destination, like Pharaoh Lake?

Photo: Boreas Ponds, courtesy Carl Heilman II.


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.




56 Responses

  1. Funny, I’ve paddled several of the lakes that Protect the Adirondacks considers “inaccessible to paddlers,” thanks in large part to one of Protect’s board members, Peter Hornbeck. Cedar Lakes is a joy to paddle, because you see so much more from the water than you do from the NPT. The same goes for West Lake, South Lake, Spruce Lake, Sampson Lake, Brooktrout Lake, and Whitney Lake; only shallow Mud Lake leaves something to be desired.

    At Newcomb Lake, there are canoes available in the boathouse for the public to use.

    The only reason I haven’t paddled Pharaoh Lake yet is because I simply haven’t gotten around to it.

    The point being, thanks to Hornbeck’s canoes, backpacking and paddling hardly have to be separate activities… and remoteness hardly needs to be sacrificed for the sake of paddling access.

    • Peter Bauer says:

      Bill,

      The PROTECT reports states “11 of 29 [out of 100 largest lakes in the Adirondack Park] of the motorfree lakes are inaccessible and involve a lengthy hike carrying one’s boat.” We include charts that refer in short-hand to “accessible” and “inaccessible” lakes.

      One longer passage in the report states:

      “Across the Adirondack Park there are few genuine opportunities for motor-free boating on a big lake or pond. In the top 100 biggest lakes in the Adirondack Park, just five lakes stand out as lakes without motor- boats, jetskis, and floatplanes; Lows Lake, Little Tupper Lake, Round Lake, Lake Lila, and St. Regis Pond. These lakes are all managed as motor-free waterbodies as parts of the Forest Preserve. Three other lakes, Cedar Lake in the West Canada Lakes Wilderness Area, Newcomb Lake in the High Peaks Wilderness, and Pharaoh Lake in the Pharaoh Lake Wilderness are also motor-free, but they are largely inaccessible for boating by the general public. They are great lakes to hike to, and extraordinarily beautiful places, but they are difficult to reach with a boat.”

      We don’t say these lakes cannot be reached. Certainly they can, but they’re not easy, and I’ve carried a Hornbeck into all but Newcomb Lake.

      We need places that are hard to get to and places that are easy to get to. Most of the big lake in the Adirondacks are widely available to all kinds of motorized watercraft.

      Phil linked to our report above if you care to read it.

      • I think you aging Baby Boomers just need to embrace the fact that plenty of people are performing the “feats” your generation has deemed to be impossible. Although, frankly, if more people are convinced that places like the West Canadas are “inaccessible,” all the better for the people like me who know better. Those of us who are busy doing these impossible things are getting sick of being told by our elders what we are supposed to be incapable of doing. And in many cases, if you know an area well, you can find boats already stashed on the shorelines anyway, especially where the fishing is good.

        • Craig says:

          We can probably all agree that “access is in the eyes of the beholder” after some of the recent APA discussions. Terms like accessibility, wilderness, and remoteness are all very subjective terms whose meaning depends largely on the context of the reader.

          I think the discussion of accessibility is less important than “what types of use and how much can the ponds sustain.” Where is the limit? 100 paddlers/day? 50? We also have some benchmark information from the use over the last 10 months or so that would be very helpful in assessing how much use there will be.

        • Peter Bauer says:

          Bill — C’mon. Nobody is telling you where you can and can’t go and what you can and can’t do. The “feats” you speak of have been performed for generations. On one level, that’s what the Forest Preserve is all about — providing timeless wild experiences in much the same way generation after generation.

          I know you disagree with PROTECT’s position on the classification of the Boreas Ponds and now that makes us the enemy who you have to attack, disparage and troll. I get it. But, man, in your zeal to whoop us you’re picking nits.

          Our report from a few years back on Motorless Waters was simply pointing out that it’s a lot of work to get to most of the large lakes in the Forest Preserve that are now motorless. To you, accessing these water bodies is literally a walk in the park. Bravo. When I carried a Hornbeck in to Cedar Lake more than two decades ago, long before the days of an even lighter black jack, it was a lot of work for me then, but well worth it. At what age I will no longer be able to do that is not the issue.

          We’re advocating for Lake Lila-style access to the Boreas Ponds for a number of reasons. One of them, as the report bears out, is that there are few opportunities for relatively easy Lake Lila style access to large motorless lakes today in the Forest Preserve. In the case of Boreas Ponds, we think the Lake Lila model is worth replicating, all things considered. We know that you disagree.

          • Boreas says:

            Peter,

            I disagree as well. Regardless of final classification, I would like to see routine automobile access no closer than the current gate. The ponds seem to be getting plenty of paddling where the gate is now. If the ponds do well, possibly consider moving it closer in a few years. Why not play it safe until we see the level of interest and capacity of the ponds before opening the road to LaBier flow?

          • Justin Farrell says:

            Peter,
            What’s wrong with the interim parking area?

            • Justin Farrell says:

              No reply, it says a lot, and is a good reason for lack of support.

              • Peter Bauer says:

                Seriously, Justin? What is says is that we’ve been in trial this week, fighting to protect the Forest Preserve and uphold the forever wild provision in the State Constitution, and working day and night. Plus, we’ve answered your exact same comment in other articles on this site.

                • Justin Farrell says:

                  Didn’t Protect post a photo on facebook looking downstream from the LeBeir Flow bridge with a caption that says “Let it be”?

  2. Craig says:

    Interesting article, but like Bill, I agree that remoteness doesn’t make a pond inaccessible. I once saw a guy hiking up Feldspar Brook with a canoe on his way to paddle Lake Tear of the Cloud.

    You also could have mentioned that hundreds of people have already paddled the ponds with the current 3.5-mile carry. I saw 30 of them in one day.

  3. Tyler says:

    Here’s a list of all the motorized, public lakes sporting wonderful waterway vistas. (Lakes are listed in order of size – stopping at the 200th largest Adirondack lake.) These shorelines and waterways are already readily accessible via roadways:

    Lake Champlain
    Lake George
    Great Sacandaga Lake
    Cranberry Lake
    Upper Saranac Lake
    Tupper Lake
    Stillwater Reservoir
    Raquette Lake
    Indian Lake/Lewey Lake
    Schroon Lake
    Long Lake
    Carry Falls Reservoir
    Fourth Lake
    Piseco Lake
    Hinckley Reservoir
    Upper Chateaugay Lake
    Lower Saranac Lake
    Lake Placid
    Chazy Lake
    Blue Mountain Lake
    Union Falls Pond
    Middle Saranac Lake
    Sacandaga Lake
    Forked Lake
    Lake Pleasant
    Upper Saint Regis Lake
    Oseetah Lake
    Big Moose Lake
    Meacham Lake
    Lake Clear
    Woodhull Lake
    Sixth and Seventh Lakes
    Paradox Lake
    Taylor Pond
    Canada Lake
    Silver Lake
    Lincoln Pond
    Hoel Pond
    Lake Eaton
    Caroga Lake
    Lake Abanakee
    Osgood Pond
    Rainbow Lake
    South Lake
    Limekiln Lake
    Franklin Falls Pond
    North Lake
    Eagle Lake
    Horseshoe Lake
    Lake Kushaqua
    Spy Lake
    Long Pond
    Little Clear Pond
    Lake Durant
    Garnet Lake
    Thirteenth Lake
    Sand Lake
    Moshier Reservoir
    Oxbow Lake
    Eighth Lake
    Harris Lake
    Lake Colby
    Fawn Lake
    Black Creek Lake
    Putnam Pond
    Deer River Flow
    Grampus Lake
    Lake Algonquin
    Lake Rondaxe
    Big Otter Lake
    Lake Adirondack
    Grass River Flow
    Stony Creek Ponds
    Bridge Brook Pond
    Pine Lake
    Spectacle Lake
    Lower Pond
    Little Long Lake
    First Lake
    Wilcox Lake
    Jabe Pond
    Otter Lake
    Upper Sargents Pond
    Big Marsh
    Twitchell Lake
    Jones Pond
    Five Falls Reservoir
    Francis Lake
    Irving Pond

    But wait! There’s more! Here’s a list of public, motor-free Adirondack lakes that are accessible via a short walk or paddle from where you parked your motor vehicle. (Lakes are listed in order of size – stopping at the 200th largest Adirondack lake.) These options also provide wonderful recreational opportunities with tremendous viewsheds, requiring just a bit more effort to get there:

    Lows Lake
    Little Tupper Lake
    Lake Lila
    Round Lake
    St. Regis Ponds
    Rock Pond
    Henderson Lake
    Hitchins Pond
    McKenzie Pond
    Nicks Lake
    Madawaska Pond
    Spruce Lake
    Sagamore Lake
    Hewitt Pond
    Crane Pond

    It’s also appropriate to list the established picnic sites at these 42 accessible (by motor vehicle or motor boat) Adirondack Park Campgrounds:
    Alger Island Campground
    Ausable Point Campground
    Brown Tract Pond Campground
    Buck Pond Campground
    Caroga Lake Campground
    Cranberry Lake Campground
    Crown Point Campground
    Eagle Point Campground
    Eighth Lake Campground
    Fish Creek Pond Campground
    Forked Lake Campground
    Golden Beach Campground
    Hearthstone Point Campground
    Indian Lake Islands Campground
    Lake Durant Campground
    Lake Eaton Campground
    Lake George Battleground Campground
    Lake George Islands Campgrounds
    Lake Harris Campground
    Lewey Lake Campground
    Limekiln Lake Campground
    Lincoln Pond Campground
    Little Sand Point Campground
    Luzerne Campground
    Meacham Lake Campground
    Meadowbrook Campground
    Moffitt Beach Campground
    Nicks Lake Campground
    Northampton Beach Campground
    Paradox Lake Campground
    Point Comfort Campground
    Poplar Point Campground
    Putnam Pond Campground
    Rollins Pond Campground
    Sacandaga Campground
    Saranac Lake Islands Campground
    Scaroon Manor Campground
    Sharp Bridge Campground
    Taylor Pond Campground
    Tioga Point Campground
    Wilmington Notch Campground

    Many of these campgrounds are also designed to be accommodating to all types of differently-abled people. The Department of Conservation highlights a list of accessible recreation destinations by county here: http://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/34038.html

    With 6,970 miles of public roadways (including scenic byways) within the Adirondack Park, the number of convenient roadside pull-offs with views overlooking the Forest Preserve’s woodlands, mountains, lakes, and rivers is seemingly inexhaustible. There is no threat to accessible mechanized enjoyment in the Adirondack Park. What truly is threatened, however, is the availability of silent, psychologically restorative retreats within the interior.

    So here’s the kicker…

    Only 3 of the top 100 largest lakes in the Adirondack Park are non-motorized and in the backcountry. This means that paddlers, fisherman, hunters, hikers, and all other user groups who hope to find a sense of peace and solitude near a remote and large Adirondack lake currently have three places to go. Boreas Ponds has the chance, depending on the APA’s classification decision, to become only the 4th quiet, remote large lake in the entire 6.1-million acre region.

    Which lakes are they? Phil mentions them:
    Cedar Lakes (in Hamilton County)
    Pharaoh Lake (in Essex County)
    Newcomb Lake (in Essex County)
    (Boreas Ponds – if the Gulf Brook Road remains closed to the public)

    That’s it. Three. That’s not a fair balance.

    In fact, these lists prove that there is a grave imbalance of non-motorized, large waterways in the Adirondack Park, yet plenty of accessible ones. Is that the legacy we want to leave future generations?

  4. Bruce says:

    I wouldn’t exactly call 30 canoes in one day solitude.

    Long Pond isn’t much bigger, but proves that relatively easy access (1/4 mile) doesn’t preclude solitude. I spent a week on Long Pond canoeing, camping, and fishing during mid-July and found plenty of solitude, even on the weekend. Except for one family camping not too far away, I was pretty much alone during the week. I didn’t use the Follensby road access, I went in from Hoel Pond and had 3 carries to Long Pond.

  5. Lorraine Duvall says:

    At the APA meeting last month Ed Sniznack presented statistics on the lack of lakes over 300 acres that provide wilderness protection, acknowledging why so many paddlers and anglers are lobbying for a Boreas Ponds wilderness level.

    In the appendix of my book “In Praise of Quiet Waters” I write about the Quiet Waters Campaign and Bauer’s Myth report, adding a reference to the DEC website that lists the lakes and ponds identified in UMPs that have no motor access or limited motorized access – search on NYCRR Part 196. It takes some work to decipher those bodies of waters that are in the Park as the list includes all of New York State.

  6. Tim says:

    Bill writes there are canoes at Newcomb Lake for the public. There are also canoes, kayaks, life jackets, and paddles at Camp Santanoni. Why not do the same for Boreas Ponds?

    • Tony Goodwin Tony Goodwin says:

      Camp Santanoni is a designated Historic Area. Only because of that have the buildings been allowed to remain and canoes to be stored there. Having canoes available at Boreas was one early idea, but with the destruction of the lodge that possibility has, I’m pretty sure, ended.

  7. Tim-Brunswick says:

    Of course it’s a big deal….all of these acquisitions have been a “Big Deal” and every other one in the future will be as well! And this, as well as past and future similar situations will come replete with Law Suits, Court action, blah, blah, blah….

    Alternate #1 is a great compromise giving everyone something, but the wilderness folks and their green-shirt cheerleaders will never be satisfied with anything but a full wilderness classification for Boreas Ponds.

    At 70 years of age I doubt I’ll live to see it, but I sincerely hope that Mr. Ingersoll, along with a few more middle-aged Almanac contributors live to see just how “inaccessible” a once easily accessed body of water becomes the older you get………

    Thank you

    • Charlie S says:

      “the wilderness folks and their green-shirt cheerleaders will never be satisfied with anything but a full wilderness classification for Boreas Ponds.”

      And those generations yet to be will have these folks and their cheerleaders to thank long after they’re gone Tim.

  8. Peter Rowley says:

    Informative, thoughtful addition to the on-going debate over the Boreas Ponds. Saving large bodies of water as motor-free is so important for the ponds themselves, the woods surrounding them, and the peace we all cherish. My hopes are high our governor will make the right decision.

  9. James Marco says:

    I agree, wilderness is needed at Boreas Ponds. As far as the accessibility, I don’t believe this is an issue. Yes, by closing the road to the public we limit accessibility by many people. This is not a group issue, not by age, not by disability, not by physical insufficiency, but by desire. If you would reap the benefits of the wilderness, you need to want it and work for it. It has ALWAYS been this way and dictated not by anyone, rather dictated by nature. You can always go to Raquette Lake if you want easy access. Close the road.

    • lauren pereau says:

      Where are you from? The Adirondacks, or somewhere else?

      • Boreas says:

        Lauren,

        Are you implying only opinions from residents within the Park matter or should carry more weight? I feel all NYS residents should have their opinions heard – even people who have never and will never set foot in the Park. All NYS residents are stakeholders. NYS taxpayers bought the land and will pay for management and tax reimbursement to the localities into the future. NYS lands are NYS assets.

        • Jim S. says:

          I’ve stated numerous times that I believe residents inside the blue line want easy access. People from outside the blue line seem to heavily favor stricter protections. If the residents feel people inside the blue line will have a greater economic impact than drawing visitors from far and wide then easy access might be better.

        • Paul says:

          I think that since the great “Adirondack experiment” here is about these people who live in the Adirondacks and are trying to make a go of it for themselves and their children then yes I think their opinions should carry a bit more weight. I trust them.

  10. Charlie S says:

    Craig says: “hundreds of people have already paddled the ponds with the current 3.5-mile carry. I saw 30 of them in one day.”

    Which makes me wonder why this push to have the gate just one mere mile away….too close!

  11. Jan Hansen says:

    The Boreas Ponds are small. They shouldn’t be over run by easy access. depending on one’s motivation, one can walk the 7 miles in with canoe and equipment to go camping. I am an old fart who originally thought the 7 mile hike was too much. I was wrong. The Boreas should not be a Griswold vacation stop.

    • Bruce says:

      The compromise with the 1 mile buffer is a good one, and will deter most Griswold-style users because they don’t want to carry all their junk in for a mile. I wouldn’t.

      Wilderness is no guarantee of solitude, neither is Wild Forest a guarantee the Griswolds will show up. A lake with views of distant mountains is not especially unusual in the Adirondacks, and the area has no amenities like the Loj to draw large numbers of users.

      As was noted, the DEC can decide whether the Ponds have motors on them in the UMP after classification, as they did with the Long Pond Canoe Area. Long Pond has only a 1/4 mile buffer. To classify the entire tract as Wilderness because we’re afraid of motors being used on the lake or cars being within a mile is ingenuous at best.

      A similar argument was made for the Essex Chain…if it had been classified as Wilderness, the road and bridge over the Hudson would have to have been closed or removed, eliminating the possibility of a snowmobile trail, which was the real argument.

      • Boreas says:

        “To classify the entire tract as Wilderness because we’re afraid of motors being used on the lake or cars being within a mile is ingenuous at best.”

        Isn’t that is a major point of a Wilderness classification anywhere?

        After classification is finalized, the APA is basically done with BP. But the DEC is ultimately tasked with enforcement and preservation of the resource. Even with a WF designation, DEC can ultimately decide to put a gate anywhere – even at the Blue Ridge road. I would hope DEC proceeds cautiously – especially since they don’t have the staffing to patrol the area effectively at this time. With proper staffing and perhaps stewards, closer access may be a possibility depending on usage intensity.

        • lauren pereau says:

          Disabled access? Here is a great opportunity to provide access for disabled people. Would they have access to drive to the ponds?

          • Boreas says:

            “Would they have access to drive to the ponds?”

            I don’t see why not. DEC has made arrangements for this type of access at other locations.

          • James Marco says:

            Lauren, I suspect that they could have a key for easy access.

            I have two back injuries. One required surgery last October, ’16 so I could continue walking. The other was a broken cerebral vertebra in my neck/shoulder. Back in the ’80’s they were going to disable me. Today, I hike(slowly, with a staff,) carry a light pack and carry a UL canoe down portages(with wheels) along the many miles of trails in the ADK’s. There is NO point to being out if I did not enjoy it, and trust me, I pay for every mile I make. Every step is intentional, every movement is will. Every view is special.

            Wheelchairs have no business in the ADK’s, but if a person REALLY WANTS to get out there, it is no barrier, only a series of problems to be solved.

            I hike with a DAV that served our country and received a disabling wound from a mortar round. He is about the same way. Sure, we complain about crap around a campfire as we power down pain pills and booze. We are stiff and we hurt in the morning. It takes a couple hours before we can FACE a trail again. We do it. THAT is the point. WE DO IT. We don’t go back to the government whining about how bad things are. We don’t go back to the world an say this is totally UNFAIR. We just suck it up and go. This is the last time you will hear this story other than to say, yes, I am technically disabled. I hike with disabled people. Like the Englishman Douglas Bader, I will not apologize for what I cannot fix. Nor will I complain about what cannot be changed. Nor give up because I made a mistake. I will do it, one way or another.

            Yes, it would be nice to drive to the ponds, too nice. No. Close the bleeding road.

            • Boreas says:

              Great point of view! People have the option of letting obstacles block their desires or simply look at an obstacle as a challenge to overcome. Many of the people here clamoring for full automobile access have no disability. They just feel that because there are existing roads, they must be used by motor vehicles. Many of us do not feel that way.

              • Paul says:

                ” They just feel that because there are existing roads, they must be used by motor vehicles.”

                If that were really the case they would want a lot more than just these few miles of roads open. Even the people who want a few miles of road open are fine with closing many many many other miles of roads on those parcels. You falsely claim that folks who want a few miles of road open for easier access want any existing roads open. Nonsense.

                • Boreas says:

                  Nonsense? Have you been reading all of the comments during this argument?? The APA may be OK with closing those smaller roads, but others are not. I never said all want them open, I said “many”. There is a distinction there.

                  “Even the people who want a few miles of road open are fine with closing many many many other miles of roads on those parcels.”

                  Again, – many, but not all. Some people do want all of the roads open.

  12. Thanks for giving us so much useful information about the lakes of the Adirondacks. We all need to know the facts, as part of the process of forming our opinions. You might be interested to read the following list of “things to do” prepared by John Apperson, c. 1932:1) Hold tight to Art. VII, Section 7 of our State Constitution, 2) Stop all tree-cutting operations on the upper watersheds of our principal rivers and the smaller rivers where practicable; 3) Reforest upper river watersheds wherever needed, immediately; 4) Enforce stream pollution laws; encourage state acquisition of full or part ownership in major scenic spots in the Adirondacks and Catskill Parks where such places are in eminent danger of being despoiled; 6) State acquisition of lands or rights of way along natural thoroughfares necessary to insure free access by the public to state lands inside the Adirondack and Catskill Parks. Appy led the effort, by the way, to prevent development at Lake George and managed to save the entire central section, including Tongue Mountain, the Narrows, Black Mountain Point, and Paradise Bay….no mean accomplishment!

  13. Charlie S says:

    “The compromise with the 1 mile buffer is a good one, and will deter most Griswold-style users because they don’t want to carry all their junk in for a mile.”

    A mile is only a twenty minute walk Bruce. Most people can do that. Three miles! Most people should be able to do that even if if they are lazy. The difference! A three mile walk will most likely keep party-goers seeking a quick wilderness fix away.

  14. Roger Dziengeleski says:

    We buy the land with public money accompanied with a message the purchase is to provide access to all (after 100 years of gated private ownership). After purchase is assured we argue that opening the property to the public will result in it being “overrun” and propose barriers to public access primarily through gates and bans on motorized access. The Boreas property should be accessible to all people: old, young, disabled, and even those who are just not comfortable hiking a mile.

    The ponds are not suitable to motorized boating regardless of the location of a parking lot or classification type. While 339 acres, only the first pond which is less than 100 acres even deep enough to allow use of a motor. Weeds and shallow water make motor use on the second and third Boreas Ponds untenable. The concern of motorized use appears to be a red herring.

    • Justin Farrell says:

      Roger,
      Respectfully, you have never answered previous questions if you’ve ever been to places like Cedar River Flow, Crane Pond, Cheney Pond, Lily Pond, or Jabe Pond. In a sense, you are suggesting that it’s no big deal to turn Boreas Ponds into a similar situation, which there in lies a legitimate overuse & abuse concern.

      • Roger Dziengeleski says:

        I have hiked the Adirondacks extensively including Crane Pond, Jabe Pond and many others you haven’t mentioned. I have also hiked in many other states and around the world. The Adirondack Park is very poorly maintained compared to most other places. We are good at buying land but terrible at investing in its care once we own it. Our solution is to reduce use and keep people out which is contrary to the stated purpose our intensions when buying lands for the preserve in the first place. I am merely pointing out a contradiction.

        • Justin Farrell says:

          Thanks for the reply.
          – Justin

        • Boreas says:

          “We are good at buying land but terrible at investing in its care once we own it.”

          Sad, but often true. It is often in the land’s best interest to stay in private hands. It would be an interesting study to look at all purchases since 1950 and evaluate ecologically which lands are better off now in NYS hands or previously private hands. Was it a good decision to classify this parcel this way, or should it have been done differently? Did it net environmental gains or losses? Perhaps it would help us make better decisions in the future.

        • Charlie s says:

          “The Adirondack Park is very poorly maintained compared to most other places. ”
          “We are good at buying land but terrible at investing in its care once we own it. ”

          Barbara McMartin has said the same in a piece she wrote for some publication whose title eludes me these moments.

    • 1) We buy the land the land with public money (through the EPF, most of which is funded by downstate real estate transactions).

      2) The former landowner, Finch Pruyn, forfeits its management role in the future of this property. It’s important to remind everyone that Finch Pruyn is so against the concept of “forever wild” that just a decade ago the company sued New York State to get back two parcels it had previously gifted to the Forest Preserve, on the basis that New York wasn’t using these lands to the company’s satisfaction. These parcels were the North River Mountains and Hoffman Notch, to the immediate north and south of the Boreas Ponds Tract. Finch Pruyn’s lawsuit was unsuccessful.

      3) A few “stakeholders” were consulted by the interim owner, TNC, to determine future uses. These “stakeholders” include Finch Pruyn, the local towns, and of course DEC, all of whom seem to think the public wants road access and bicycle trails.

      4) The classification process is then opened up to the true stakeholders: that portion of the public with a direct interest in the future of these lands. It turns out that 84% of those people want wilderness, and 37% want the entire place closed to motor vehicles.

  15. Paul says:

    The ponds will be motor-less no matter what happens with road access.

  16. Bruce says:

    Regardless of classification, I think campsites and camping close to the water will prove to be the main problem in the long run. Parking a mile away will deter most car campers.

  17. James Marco says:

    Lauren, I am from Ithaca, NY. I worked at Cornell University before I retired. I was born in Utica and lived in Remsen, for a number of years (one of my brothers still lives there.) I have been out west and down south and back again. Generally, I have been hiking and paddling across the Adirondacks for around 50 years. It is, to me, the best area in the USA.

  18. kathy says:

    If it’s a mile walk into the ponds then camping maybe should not be allowed. I have seen parties at Moss lake (canoe access sites) and people carrying in quantities of alcohol into the Cascade lake trail to camp and party for a weekend . These are not pull off sites for car campers but good cover with no patrol for noise and perhaps underage.
    Making an area that is prized the most for remoteness,beauty and some effort to attain too easy will quickly lose those most special qualities.
    Not that I favor a mile gate except for permits for the most physically challenged. At a mile I will walk in with my canoe. At 3.5 miles I will try the walk first ,at 7.5 it would be perhaps too much for me but so are many peaks. …send pics please!

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