Some 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 Board of Directors, Congregational Delegates, and Members of Camp Unirondack, by vote of our 2016 Annual Meeting, hereby ask you to reject all of the four alternatives that you have set forth for the Boreas Ponds land classification. None of these alternatives truly protect the area around the Boreas Ponds as Wilderness.
Only an action that prohibits motorized vehicles and/or equipment on or within one mile of these ponds, and protects these lands as Wilderness to the south, is acceptable to the long-standing visionary legacy of the writers of Article XIV of the New York State Constitution. » Continue Reading.
In response to the Adirondack Park Agency 2016 – 2017 Amendments to the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan involving the Classification and Reclassification of 54,418 acres of State Lands in the Adirondack Park which include the Boreas Ponds Tract, 32 Additional Classification Proposals, 13 Reclassification Proposals, and 56 Classifications involving map corrections, The Nature Conservancy respectfully submits our comments related exclusively to Boreas Ponds. Our perspective is informed by nearly ten years of ownership and stewardship of this parcel, as well as focused stakeholder engagement. For over 50 years The Nature Conservancy has managed lands globally for both conservation and public use purposes, including our 160 preserves in New York State, and we are accordingly very mindful of the challenges and opportunities presented by this classification proceeding. We are grateful for the opportunity to provide input with respect to the classification of the Boreas Ponds parcel we conveyed to New York State in April 2016. » Continue Reading.
Three media outlets will host a forum on the future of the Boreas Ponds Tract at 6 p.m. Thursday in the Schroon Lake Central School auditorium.
The Adirondack Explorer newsmagazine, Sun Community News, and Adirondack Daily Enterprise invited a number of stakeholders to take part in the forum, including environmental activists and local-government representatives.
The Adirondack Park Agency has yet to decide how to classify the 20,758-acre parcel under the Park’s State Land Management Plan. The state Department of Environmental will later write a management plan for the property, but the types of recreation allowed and the degree of motorized access will be partially predetermined by the classification. » Continue Reading.
The Adirondack Park Agency has pending before it the classification of lands and waters comprising the Boreas pond tract. This action represents the final step in an historic process beginning with the acquisition of these lands by the Nature Conservancy followed by the acquisition from the Nature Conservancy by the state of New York and now the pending classification decision.
The decision by the Adirondack Park Agency regarding this parcel is anything but routine. It is a decision that must be made in the context of New York’s historic role in establishing the Forest Preserve and the Adirondack Park. The decision must be made from the perspective of history and the decision must be made as a part of that history; that is, as a decision that will be judged not now, but 100 years from now. » Continue Reading.
In November, I made the trip from my home in Ithaca to speak at the public hearing that the APA organized in Rochester concerning classification of newly purchased state lands. My purpose was to advocate for maximum wilderness protection of those tracts, particularly the Boreas Ponds tract.
In the 1800s, reports of a place of fire and brimstone in what is now northwestern Wyoming were thought to be exaggerations. A formal expedition was organized in 1870 to explore the area. The explorers discovered the area that is now known as Yellowstone with its hot springs and geysers. Recognizing the natural beauty of the place, leaders of that expedition were quickly successful in convincing Congress to pass a law declaring Yellowstone as the nation’s first national park with laws protecting the land from exploitation. » Continue Reading.
Several years ago the Adirondack Park Agency mapped all the “Remote Areas” in the Park—those lying at least three miles from a road and at least two miles from any lake where motorboats are allowed. Less than 3 percent of the Park meets those criteria.
A caption states that the map “indicates the truly remote areas of the Adirondack Park are relatively small and therefore a precious resource.” They are the dark areas shown on the accompanying map.
Given the region’s network of roads, there aren’t many opportunities left to create new Remote Areas in the Park.
Boreas Ponds is one of them.
Recently, I dug up a copy of the map and traced a circle with the Boreas Ponds dam at its center and a radius of three miles based on the map’s scale. The results, though not surprising, are worth noting, given the controversy over the pending land-use classification of the 20,758-acre Boreas Ponds Tract:
The APA recently reported that it received more than 11,000 comments on the classification of the Boreas Ponds Tract.
Adirondack Wilderness Advocates has reviewed the comments (more than 16,000 pages worth) and found that more than 37 percent support classifying the entire tract as motor-free Wilderness.
Altogether, 84 percent of the comments support either AWA’s or BeWildNY’s plan, according to AWA, whereas only 15 percent support a Wild Forest classification that could allow motorized access all the way to Boreas Ponds.
BeWildNY, a coalition of eight environmental organizations, and Protect the Adirondacks all support opening Gulf Brook Road to within a mile of Boreas Ponds. Adirondack Wilderness Advocates and Adirondack Wild propose classifying nearly all of the Boreas Pond Tract as Wilderness. » Continue Reading.
Thank you for this opportunity to comment on the classification of the Boreas Tract. I’m writing to urge the APA to reject the classification alternatives it has proposed in lieu of a designation for the Boreas Tract that ensures uncompromised Wilderness and a buffer of at least one mile for the Boreas Ponds.
I attended the Schroon Lake hearing in November and appreciated the polite and eloquent positions of various stakeholders expressed there. Many comments, both for and against specific alternatives, reflected the complexity of managing wilderness areas in a way that protects fragile natural characteristics while accommodating appropriate recreational uses and benefitting local communities. » Continue Reading.
What is Wilderness, Wild Forest, Primitive, and so on as we apply these terms to our Adirondack Park? They are labels we give to parcels of land within a line drawn on a map. These terms only regulate what we can and can’t do within the corresponding boundaries on the lands that all New Yorkers own. Unless we force all the people who have inholdings to give up their property, remove the road systems, remove the man-made structures, and eliminate some towns, the Adirondacks will never be like the wilderness areas out West.
The concept of what wilderness is as we have applied this term to our Adirondacks is misleading. Is the High Peaks area really wilderness with the extensive overuse it is experiencing? Is sitting at Blue Ledge Pool in the Hudson River Gorge a wilderness experience when 50 whitewater rafts pass through it on any given Saturday? When this question is put to wilderness advocates they simply do not respond; they do not have an answer, or do not want to admit that it is not a “Wilderness Experience.” » Continue Reading.
The 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. » Continue Reading.
As I review notes from several public hearings on the State Land Classifications, including Boreas Ponds, the apparent gulf between voices to “keep it or make it wild” and “this isn’t wilderness anyway and we need motorized access” seem unbridgeable.
Well, perhaps not. More than one or two speaking out for “more access” to the Boreas Ponds (usually meaning motorized) also addressed how experiencing quiet, serenity and wildlife undisturbed moved them personally as much as any wilderness advocate. For their part, several wilderness advocates stressed that economic benefits of access (usually non-motorized) should interest local businesses and governments. The personal values expressed by all the speakers clearly demonstrated the common ground for all of us – a deep appreciation, even love for being in the out of doors Adirondacks. » Continue Reading.
Alternatives 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.
Erik 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.
A 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.
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