Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Cool Map: Lakes and Ponds in Forest Preserve

An Almanack reader who likes maps called our attention to one posted last week in the Adirondack Park Agency’s online map room. It shows lakes and ponds encompassed entirely by Forest Preserve. (Click here to see larger map.)

The tally of those lakes and ponds is 1,838, and a series of clickable sidebar charts sorts them by variables. The largest? Lake Lila, at 1,461 acres. (Little Tupper Lake at 2,305 acres would’ve been the largest but there are a couple of small private inholdings. Follensby Pond, at 1,000 acres, would become third largest when New York State acquires it.) But most Forest Preserve waters are little: 1,728 of them are between 1 and 250 acres in surface area. A pie chart shows that there are almost exactly the same number of lakes fully within Wild Forest (862) as Wilderness (860) state land classifications.
Contacted by the Almanack, APA spokesman Keith McKeever said, “We were trying to get a handle on how many lakes and ponds are in the Forest Preserve and how many of those are in Wild Forest and how many are in Wilderness.” The agency’s state lands planning division does a lot of analysis by GIS, McKeever said, and generates the map room content. The interest in this particular subject was heightened in recent years by the ongoing issue of floatplane access to lakes surrounded by state land, he added. Motorized travel is prohibited in Wilderness but not Wild Forest. Debate in recent years has focused on classification of the waters of Lows Lake, which also has small sections of privately owned shoreline. The remote lake is popular with canoeists as well as fly-in campers.

Not a map room, but another fact-y site is the Adirondack Lakes Survey Corporation’s pond data information site. Beyond size of a water body, the link provides water depth, fish species, landscape characteristics and chemistry.

(If anyone knows how many lakes and ponds are inside the Adirondack Park, total, private and public, please let us know. Three thousand used to be the going number but I think that figure is out of date.)


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Mary Thill lives in Saranac Lake and has worked alternately in journalism and Adirondack conservation for three decades.

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