Posts Tagged ‘wilderness’

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

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

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

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


Saturday, November 26, 2016

Place Names of the High Peaks Wilderness

erik schlimmerErik Schlimmer is a man who likes to make lists, and check them off. After he climbed all the highest peaks in the Northeast he decided to climb all the less-than-high peaks of the Adirondacks, hundreds of them. Then he designed and hiked the Trans Adirondack Trail, a route that bisects the Park north-south from Blue Line to Blue Line.

With his beaver-like energy and red-squirrel enthusiasm Schlimmer has also written four books about the Adirondacks. The best of them, My Adirondacks, Ten Stories from Twenty Years, contains personal essays that are funny, thoughtful, and well-written. It recently won the Adirondack Center for Writing’s first prize for memoir. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, November 22, 2016

BeWildNY Presents 22k Petition Signatures, Letters, New Video

advocating-for-adirondack-wildernessA coalition of regional and national conservation organizations and supporters presented more than 22,000 petition signatures and thousands of personal letters to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Adirondack Park Agency calling on the agency to protect the Boreas Ponds tract as motor-free wilderness.

Public hearings on the state’s land-classification plans for the area have already begun. They will continue through early December. Public comments will be accepted by the Adirondack Park Agency (APA) through Dec. 30. » Continue Reading.


Monday, November 21, 2016

Dave Gibson On The Boreas Ponds Northville Hearing

Boreas Ponds by Carl Heilman IIAt the Northville Central School public hearing this past week, about 60 citizens lined up to speak their minds regarding the Adirondack Park Agency’s 2016 – 2017 Amendments to the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan. These amendments involve the Classification and Reclassification of 54,418 acres of State Lands (Forest Preserve) in the Adirondack Park which include the Boreas Ponds Tract, 32 Additional Classification Proposals, 13 Reclassification Proposals, and 56 Classifications involving map corrections.

As I waited my turn at the microphone, I was very impressed with the respectful sincerity and preparedness of the speakers who came before me. These included folks much younger than me who spoke about wilderness values, the potential of wild restoration, and how such restoration comports with their own personal values. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, November 12, 2016

Mike Prescott On Boreas Ponds Access

boreas pondsRecently there was an article by Phil Brown on the Boreas Ponds in the Adirondack Alamanck outlining the Adirondack Chapter of The Nature Conservancy’s (TNC) support for a wilderness classification. After reading the article, I thought it best to visit the Boreas Ponds Tract, and research the letter written to Governor Andrew Cuomo by Mike Carr, who was then TNC’s Executive Director.

The visit to the Boreas Ponds was my first since TNC sold the property to the State of New York in April. In fact it was my first visit since Finch, Pruyn owned the property. I believe Finch was an excellent steward of the Boreas Ponds Tract, which they owned for over 100 years. It was a working forest and their show place for those doing business with Finch, Pruyn. To that end, the company built a lodge that also served as a kind of conference center with a beautiful stone fireplace and spacious accommodations. This was torn down according to the agreement between the owner (TNC) and the buyer (New York State). » Continue Reading.


Saturday, November 5, 2016

Lorraine Duvall On Access To Boreas Ponds

stop sign on gulf brook roadMy favorite activity is paddling quiet waters. I cherish the experiences I’ve had on the lakes, rivers, and ponds in Adirondacks, including canoeing on the Boreas Ponds. I think the spectacular view of the high-rising peaks to the north is unmatched.

I also believe that reasonable access to these waters is in the best interest of the public, while minimizing harm to the environment. However, the definition of reasonable access and minimizing harm varies among the stakeholders, primarily centered on the use of the existing Gulf Brook Road – a 6.8 mile gravel road from Boreas or Blue Ridge Road (County Route 84) to the ponds.

A couple of weeks ago I drove up Gulf Brook Road for 3.2 miles as allowed by the state’s interim access plan, which is 2.5 miles from the ponds. I wanted to orient myself to the access issues raised in the many articles in the media, including the Adirondack Almanack. I parked my car at the parking lot, skirted the stop sign, and walked about a half-mile toward the ponds. Looking at the trail register I saw the names of two friends who had been to the ponds recently, and decided to email them, asking how they experienced the 2.5-mile carry on the road and the ponds. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Adirondack Wild Leaves BeWildNY Coalition Over Boreas Ponds Plan

boreas pondsAdirondack Wild has left the BeWildNY coalition, saying it disagrees with the coalition’s proposal to allow the public to drive to within a mile or so of Boreas Ponds.

Adirondack Wild announced its decision as the Adirondack Park Agency prepares for public hearings on the classification of the 20,758-acre Boreas Ponds Tract, which the state bought from the Adirondack chapter of the Nature Conservancy in April.

The classification decision could influence how much motorized access is allowed on the tract.

Much of the debate over Boreas Ponds has focused on the future of Gulf Brook Road, a dirt road built for logging trucks when Finch, Pruyn & Company owned the land. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Adirondack Hiking Trails Show Their Age

the-state-pays-the-adirondack-mountain-club-and-other-groups-to-maintain-trails When many of the High Peaks’ trails were cut more than a century ago, the work was done by guides and hired hands. Keene Valley’s Orson “Old Mountain” Phelps created the first trail up Mount Marcy in 1861; Verplanck Colvin’s survey workers cut routes up Algonquin and Dix in the late 1800s; and Henry Van Hoevenberg developed a trail system for the Adirondack Lodge (as it was then spelled).

The early trails opened up the High Peaks to more people and laid the groundwork for today’s trail system, but some of the original trails continue to cause maintenance problems. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Constraints on Public Participation in Adirondack Park Management

gate-open-on-chain-lakes-rd-south-allowing-motor-vehicles-in-wild-river-corridorThere are many ways to constrain the boundaries around public participation in decision-making. One way is to sidestep the law without amending it, thereby limiting public awareness and legislative debate of the issues. An example of this is occurring on the former Finch, Pruyn lands where the State wants to issue itself a permit or a variance to allow snowmobile connectors in river corridors when the law says that that motorized recreational activity is not permitted.

Under the Essex Chain of Lakes Primitive Area Unit Management Plan, the State recently argued in Albany County Supreme Court that DEC regulations allow the agency to issue itself a permit or variance to do things that others could not do, like build a motorized bridge over a scenic Cedar River, or operate motor vehicles over a scenic river like the Hudson River. Other parts of these River regulations expressly disallow the State from issuing itself a permit or variance to undertake a project which the statute disallows. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Comments Sought On Adirondack State Land Management

Adirondack_Park_Agency_in_Ray_Brook_NYThe Adirondack Park Agency (APA) will hold a series of public hearings to solicit public comments for State Land classification and reclassification proposals.

The action involves proposals for State Lands in all 12 counties in the Park, including the recently acquired Boreas Ponds Tract.

The 2016-2017 classification package includes 33 State Land classification proposals totaling approximately 50,827 acres, 13 State Land reclassifications totaling an estimated 1,642 acres, and a number of classifications involving map corrections (1,949 acres). » Continue Reading.


Thursday, October 13, 2016

APA Fails To End Criticism Over Boreas Ponds Options

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

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

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

» Continue Reading.


Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Green Groups Call On APA To Reject Boreas Proposals

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAdirondack Forest Preserve advocacy groups are calling on the Adirondack Park Agency’s board to reject at this week’s meeting all three staff proposals for classifying the 20,758-acre Boreas Ponds Tract.

The major objection is that under all three proposals, a 6.8-mile logging road that leads to Boreas Ponds would be designated Wild Forest, which could allow people to drive all the way to the ponds.

Neil Woodworth, executive director of the Adirondack Mountain Club (ADK), said it’s even possible that motorboats could be allowed on the water. Under the APA’s first alternative, the ponds would be classified Wild Forest, which could allow motorboats. The other two alternatives are silent on the ponds’ classification.

Woodworth said the APA board should direct the staff to come up with new proposals, a step that would delay public hearings on the Boreas classification. “It’s more important to get this classification right than do it fast,” he said.

» Continue Reading.


Friday, October 7, 2016

APA Sets Forth Three Options For Boreas Ponds

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

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

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

» Continue Reading.


Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Nature Conservancy Favors Wilderness For Boreas Ponds

tnc-mapThe Adirondack chapter of the Nature Conservancy has taken the unusual step of entering into the debate over the classification of the 20,758-acre Boreas Ponds Tract, which it sold to the state this year.

In a letter to Governor Andrew Cuomo, the conservancy recommends that 11,500 acres be classified Wilderness, the most restrictive designation, and 9,030 acres be classified Wild Forest, which allows some motorized use. The adjacent 1,587-acre Casey Brook Tract also would be classified Wilderness.

Among other things, the tract’s classification will determine how close visitors will be allowed to drive to Boreas Ponds and whether they will be allowed to ride mountain bikes on old logging roads around the ponds.

» Continue Reading.


Tuesday, October 4, 2016

High Peaks Crowds and Adirondack Park Management Decisions

Noonmark and the Range from Round MtnIn the recent news and comments about ongoing crowding in the High Peaks there are few references to the document which ostensibly is guiding the state’s management actions there: the 1999 Highs Wilderness Complex Unit Management Plan, or UMP. That management plan is downloadable from the DEC website.

It has a lot of important things to say about applying wilderness management and carrying capacity concepts to the very practical problems of managing the widely varying human use pressures over the great distances and very different environments of the High Peaks. » Continue Reading.


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