The Adirondack Park Agency (APA) has opened the public comment period and will conduct three public hearings on its proposals to classify and reclassify 12,545 acres of state lands and water of the Five Ponds Wilderness Area, Lows Lake Primitive Area, Hitchens Pond Primitive Area, Round Lake Wilderness Area Lows Lake, Hitchens Pond and the Bog River. These areas are located in the northwest part of the Adirondack Park in Hamilton and St. Lawrence Counties.
The latest APA move comes on the heels of the upcoming ban of floatplanes on Lows Lake. Phil Brown at Adirondack Explorer reported that “The state Department of Environmental Conservation [DEC] proposed the reclassification to appease environmentalists angered by DEC’s decision to allow floatplanes to continue landing on Lows Lake through 2011,” but there is little public evidence that is the case. In 2003 the DEC had already agreed to phase out commercial floatplane use of Lows Lake by 2008 but then refused to act on the ban and offered an amended UMP that allowed floatplanes until 2018. The Adirondack Mountain Club, the Association for the Protection of the Adirondacks, the Sierra Club and the Residents’ Committee to Protect the Adirondacks sued DEC and the APA commissioners forced DEC to revise their proposal to begin the ban by the end of 2012. Al of Adirondack Almanack’s coverage of Lows Lake can be found here.
Public hearings will take place on the following dates at these locations:
Monday, July 13, 2009, 11:00 AM at SUNY ESF Ranger School, 257 Ranger School Road, Wanakena, NY 13695
Monday, July 13, 2009, 5:30 PM at Long Lake Town Hall, 1204 Main Street Long Lake, NY 12847
Monday, July 20, 2009, 12:00PM at NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation Room PA 129B, 625 Broadway Albany, New York 12233
Written comments may be sent directly to the APA and will be accepted through August 28, 2009 by mailing them to: Richard Weber Assistant Planning Director PO Box 99 Ray Brook, NY 12977. A description of the proposed action is available for download from the Adirondack Park Agency’s website. For further information contact Richard Weber at (518)891-4050.
Here is a break down of the APA proposal, from their media release:
An estimated 4,384 acres of State land and water would be classified as Wilderness. This would involve five State land classification proposals that include recently acquired State lands on the south shore of Lows Lake and lands north of Bog Lake along with the lake bed and waters of Lows Lake, Hitchens Pond and the Bog River.
In addition, approximately 8,161 acres of state land would be reclassified from Primitive to Wilderness. The Lows Lake Primitive Area, Hitchens Pond Primitive Area and Tomar Pond Primitive Corridor would change from Primitive to Wilderness.
This proposed action also includes the creation of a new unit with a Primitive classification to accommodate State Land Master Plan non-conforming structures in Wilderness (dams) and continued motorized access to private in-holdings.
One additional alternative under consideration would include the proposed Wilderness classification for the lake bed and waters of Bog Lake, with an estimated area of 221 acres. This action only involves classification and reclassification of State lands pursuant to the provisions of the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan.