Wednesday, August 17, 2016

New Group Seeks More Wilderness Around Boreas Ponds

AWA-Draft-Map-20160803Three wilderness advocates have banded together to garner public support for adding nearly all of the Boreas Pond Tract to the High Peaks Wilderness and keeping out motor vehicles.

Adirondack Wilderness Advocates, as they call themselves, has created a website where people can sign a letter to the Adirondack Park Agency calling for statewide hearings on the classification of the Boreas tract. People can also sign up for the group’s emails.

The founders of the Adirondack Wilderness Advocates are Bill Ingersoll, publisher of the Discover the Adirondacks guidebooks; Brendan Wiltse, a photographer and scientist employed by the Ausable River Association (his work is unrelated to his involvement with AWA); and Pete Nelson, a teacher who frequently writes for Adirondack Almanack.

Ingersoll has been outspoken in advocating for the closure of all of Gulf Brook Road, a seven-mile logging road that leads from County Route 2 (Blue Ridge Road/Boreas Road) in North Hudson to Boreas Ponds. The Park’s major environmental groups have suggested keeping the road open for six miles, enabling the public to drive as far as LaBier Flow on the Boreas River. From there, canoeists could paddle and portage to the ponds, while hikers could continue walking on the road.

Under Adirondack Wilderness Advocates’ proposal, the road and the land on both sides would be classified Wilderness, where motor vehicles and bicycles are not allowed. If the established environmental organizations have their way, the road and the land to the south would be classified Wild Forest, a less-restrictive designation that allows some motorized use.

P1040463To date, the state has kept the entire road closed since purchasing the 20,758-acre Boreas Ponds Tract this year from the Adirondack chapter of the Nature Conservancy, the last stage in a multi-year deal to acquire 65,000 acres of lands formerly owned by Finch, Pruyn & Company.

Adirondack Wilderness Advocates is advocating that former Finch lands purchased in 2014 also be added to the High Peaks Wilderness. These tracts, known as MacIntyre West and MacIntyre East, are located near Tahawus, the southern gateway to the High Peaks.  The group wants all of MacIntyre West and most of MacIntyre East to be classified Wilderness. In this, AWA is in agreement with the other environmental organizations.

Adirondack Wilderness Advocates has set forth several recommendations for recreational opportunities on the former Finch lands:

  • Establish a cross-country-ski network on pre-existing trails on the MacIntyre West tract.
  • Improve canoe access to the Hudson River (and Opalescent River) in the MacIntyre East tract.
  • Build two lean-tos near Boreas Ponds.
  • Cut a short foot trail from Gulf Brook Road to the summit of Ragged Mountain.
  • Designate a camping area in the vicinity of the Branch river east of Ragged Mountain.

P1040547The group’s map (see above) shows several other potential hiking trails.

The most controversial recommendation, though, is the closure of Gulf Brook Road in its entirety. Adirondack Wilderness Advocates says the road should be open to hikers, skiers, and horses and Boreas Ponds should be managed as a backpacking destination.

“Boreas Ponds has a tremendous sense of remoteness,” Ingersoll said in a news release. “There are no highway sounds, no lights from nearby communities—just the loons and bullfrogs and stars.”

Keeping the road closed would require paddlers to carry or wheel their boats for six or seven miles. Wiltse is one who has taken his canoe to the ponds and enjoyed the breathtaking view of the High Peaks from the water.

“The unique and amazing paddling experience on the Boreas Ponds is well worth pulling a canoe seven miles down the Gulf Brook Road,” Wiltse said in the group’s news release.

AWA’s is the fourth formal proposal for classifying and managing the Boreas Ponds Tract. Others have been issued by BeWildNY, a coalition of eight environmental groups, including the Adirondack Mountain Club, Adirondack Council, and Adirondack Wild; Protect the Adirondacks; and the five local towns where most of the former Finch lands are located. Details follow:

BeWildNY: Boreas Ponds and other land north of Gulf Brook Road would be designated Wilderness. The road and land south would be Wild Forest. People would be allowed to drive as far as LaBier Flow. A snowmobile trail connecting North Hudson to Minerva and Newcomb would run through the southern edge of the tract, more or less paralleling County Route 2.

Protect the Adirondacks: Its proposal is similar to BeWildNY’s except Gulf Brook Road would be used as part of the snowmobile trail.

Five towns: The road and land south of it would be Wild Forest. Most of the rest of the tract would be Wilderness, but Boreas Ponds and nearby land would be Wild Forest. This would allow mountain bikers to ride on some of the old logging roads. The general public would be allowed to drive only to LaBier Flow, but the disabled, guides and their clients, and people with special permits could drive all or most of the way to the ponds. Gulf Brook Road would be used as a snowmobile trail.

In addition, some people have suggested opening Gulf Brook Road only partway to LaBier Flow.

The state Department of Environmental Conservation and Adirondack Park Agency are working together to develop a plan for managing the Boreas Pond Tract.

Ingersoll told Adirondack Almanack that Adirondack Wilderness Advocates has no agenda beyond the objectives laid out in its plan for Boreas Ponds and the High Peaks Wilderness–as yet. “If it turns out our message resonates with people, and I think it should, we may then turn to other subjects other than Boreas. But first things first, because Boreas is certainly the hot topic of the day,” he said.

Map provided by Adirondack Wilderness Advocates shows the details of the group’s proposal.

Photos by Phil Brown: Boreas Ponds (top) and LaBier Flow (bottom).

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Phil Brown is the former Editor of 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.

123 Responses

  1. Boreasfisher says:

    I wish someone would explain to me the logic of a new class II snowmobile trail along the periphery of route 2. This is the position of the BeWild Group which approves cars 9 months of the year on the Gulf Brook Road, but would cut new trails for snowmobiles for 3 months of the year to the south of an existing road, within the forest preserve. I am disappointed that environmental groups would support this.

    These new class 2 trails should simply not be allowed…in the wilderness, in the forest preserve, or on the periphery. How does a separate class of high speed motorized traffic, not automobiles, belong anywhere in resource protected areas? I am curious whether this new group has a position on this issue…

    • Phil Brown says:

      They have not taken a position on the snowmobile trail. Presumably it would be excluded from the area they would designate Wilderness.

      • Boreasfisher says:

        Thanks PhilI understand and appreciate this and your highly scrupled reporting. But it would be nice to hear it from them.

        Can you advocate for Wilderness and protections of natural resources, the BeWild agenda and not have a consistent position on this issue? It seems to me we are using these trails as a bargaining chip to secure the largest tract of designated wilderness. When in reality they simply do not belong in the forest preserve. I understand that a previous generation of smaller snowmobile trails were allowed and cannot be undone. But there comes a time to hold back the tide that leads relentlessly to more degradation of resources. I have been reading E O Wilson’s Half Earth and its logic is hard to shake off.

        If we are going to allow these new trails, what will be next?

    • Bill Ingersoll says:

      Adirondack Wilderness doesn’t have a blanket position on snowmobile trails in general. But the topic of the proposed North Hudson to Newcomb corridor did come up in our discussions. The best that I can articulate our position on this specific trail is this:

      Our position is that we have no position about routing the snowmobile corridor. Certainly, snowmobiling is not part of our proposal for the Boreas Ponds Tract. If you scrutinize our map, you will notice that it does show the corridor trail routed alongside the highway. This reflects two things: (a) the base map was inherited from BeWildNY’s map (they helped us design it, for which we’re grateful) and (b) the APA and DEC have already conceptually approved a trail corridor between these two communities.

      But we’re not a snowmobile advocacy group, and we feel it would be counterproductive for us to propose routes for a trail we’ll probably never use ourselves. If there is a valid need for the trail, then presumably there is a constituency of riders that is standing ready to support it. Adirondack Wilderness Advocates would prefer not to make their argument for them, if they exist, or even imply our support by drawing a potential route on our map.

      • Boreasfisher says:

        Well that’s disappointing. It means you folks are only concerned with a small constituency group. Would be nice to stand for a broader set of principles, which is what I thought you were about.

      • Bill Ingersoll says:

        Bear in mind that we’re small and new. At the moment we’re “pro-Wilderness” and not “anti” anything. We have a singular goal: keeping the heart of the Boreas Ponds Tract motor-free. I’d like to see that mission grow and develop, and in the future I’d like to tackle the idea of keeping the “wild” in our wild forest areas, some of which in my opinion have the wildest terrain out there.

        But first we have to establish our legs, and see where this current project takes us.

        When I speak of “constituents” for the snowmobile trail, I’m really betting that there is no real support outside of a few local officials. To my knowledge there are no existing snowmobile trails in North Hudson, and very few in Newcomb. Historically, the snowmobile community has never been shy about establishing trails in the places they want to be, so the fact that there has never been a direct trail between the towns–even in 1972, before there was a Hoffman Notch Wilderness to get in the way–tells me that public demand for this trail is very low. And without such demand, I don’t think the trail should ever be built.

        Therefore we aren’t opposing it outright; it simply has no place in our proposal. If Adirondack Wilderness Advocates is effective in its efforts to extend the wilderness boundary all the way to the highway, then terrain constraints and a lack of public support would be tough obstacles to overcome for anyone who still thinks the trail is a good idea.

        Certainly, any support that people are willing to provide our group is greatly supported. We aren’t asking much of anyone, but the website does offer a couple ways in which people can help us out.

        • Boreasfisher says:

          Bill: I very much appreciate your reply. Let’s hope your conclusions win out. I, for one, think we need to think broadly and for the generations about these decisions. If the solution to properly protect this piece of nature is to close the whole parcel to everything but foot traffic, count me in. But I won’t support anything less to make sure we are setting aside the maximum amount of property to protect the biodiversity still contained there. Biodiversity first, recreation second.

        • drdirt says:

          You make a very valid point that some wild forest areas have the wildest terrain out there ., and least visited by the public.
          Designating an area as ‘wilderness’, especially connecting it to the HPW, could bring droves of foot traffic to an area currently considered remote.
          Perhaps the Boreas as wild forest would become one those truly ‘wild’ places if you stop hyping it w/ this contoversy.
          Just thinking out loud .,., we do appreciate your passion.

  2. Mike Prescott says:

    Are their public hearings scheduled in regards to classification of the Boreas Ponds Tract ? If so when and where ??

  3. Phil Brown says:

    No hearings have been scheduled.

  4. Justin Farrell says:

    Here Here to saving & establishig more Wilderness Areas within the Adirondack Park, free off motors & bicycle costume wearing weanies. I for one support this cause, however I do not support the construction of 2 lean-tos near Boreas Ponds. Lean-tos in my opinion have the tendency to attract inconsiderate users, just the same as those who inconsiderately take advantage of easy motorized access. Let’s keep the Boreas Ponds wild & free of the these public amenities that have the tendency to negatively impact their surroundings. If you want lean-tos, build them near the Essex Chain!

    • Bill Ingersoll says:

      Note that we are stressing that this is a “conceptual” recreation plan, and in terms of the trails, lean-tos, and other facilities that appear on our map there are several specifics that I agree would be worth discussing and debating around a campfire someday. I don’t think anyone is married to any of the details. We basically just wanted to present a plan that puts people in these outstanding places without overburdening the resource; we’re not proposing an electrified fence with armed guards to keep people out, even though some people will draw that conclusion anyway.

      If the lean-tos never happened, I wouldn’t be upset, personally.

      But the discussion about the future of Boreas Ponds has seen a few too many comparisons to Lake Lila, which has been part of the problem. Lila is serviced by a road that crosses private property and ends near the state land boundary, which happens to be conveniently close (but not too close) to a beach where canoes can be launched. Lila is large, and its shoreline is studded by inviting beaches and a couple dozen well-used campsites.

      However, Boreas reminds me much more of Cedar Lakes: a singular body of water with a plural name, enlarged by a dam, surrounded by mountains, currently remote but formerly serviced by a road. Cedar Lakes is also at the intersection of several trails, with three lean-tos on its shores. It is worth paddling if you can get a canoe there, but it’s not big enough to require it. You can just as easily get the full effect by camping out on its shores in quiet contemplation.

      So if there is a true model on which we could base the management of Boreas Ponds, it should be Cedar Lakes. Hopefully people will see the map and see options for public access to the property that don’t involve motors. The biggest threat to a wild Boreas is the widespread assumption that just about any pond now or henceforth acquired by the state MUST by default be regarded as a canoe destination, or else there is no reasonable access. The types of experiences that you and I enjoy on a regular basis are being discounted.

      The classification of the land is the key right now. I’m happy to hash out the details about campsites and trails later. And indeed I’m sure that’s a discussion Adirondack Wilderness would enjoy having someday with interested individuals.

    • Bob Rainville says:

      Bicycle costume wearing weanies? A little hatred for cyclists? Do they get in the way on your road travels?
      And I see no outcry to the term and it’s implications, so I guess it’s well received on this forum of like-minded “advocates”.
      What costume do you wear…yuppie pseudo outdoorsy type?
      I see you in a clown outfit…

      • Justin Farrell says:

        Strike a nerve did I, Bob?
        That must have been you I saw wearing those neon green spandex tights & purple helmet which reminded me a the Joker. 😉

        • Bob Rainville says:

          Strike that, I see you in a punk outfit.
          Loud-mouthed punk with nothing to say.
          You’re a credit to your cause!
          Now go out into your treasured wilderness without your costume and be one with nature…forever.

          • Justin Farrell says:

            Yes sir, nice chatting with you.
            Have a good day, and try not to trip with those goofy clips on the bottom of your shoes. 😉

            • Boreas says:


            • Bob Rainville says:

              Likewise punk. Try not to trip with your goofy head lodged as it is in your descending colon. I see you prefer walking with a stick as opposed to those goofy mechanical arm extenders, so don’t trip on that woodsy prop either. You woodsy guy you! Did you try to grow a faux lumberjack beard too? Woodsy guy!

              • Justin Farrell says:

                That’s a good one!
                Very colorful, thanks for the laugh! 🙂

            • Bruce says:


              Not all bicycle riders wear spandex and shoe clips. Many thousands like myself just like to get on their bike and ride more for the fun and exercise of it than to see how far we can ride in a day.

              It’s a shame you see riders in only one light. I see many “hikers” who believe if they’re not dressed like Mountaineer store fashion plates, they can’t go out for a hike. How sad.

              Reminds me of the cartoon where these two guys dressed in their custom jogging suits, shoes and sweat bands were passed by a little guy in a t-shirt, cutoffs and old sneakers. One of the guys said to him, “if you can’t afford to jog, you shouldn’t be doing it.”

              • Bob Rainville says:

                Bruce, what Justin the punk and Boreas the apologist are doing is dehumanizing a group. Helps make them “the other”. It’s what you do when you can not speak rationally about a topic. The intent is obvious, but the words of apology by Boreas and others like him are disingenuous. I don’t see why JF the punk needed to insert that sentiment. It speaks volumes of his character. The response by Boreas speaks volumes of his intent and sentiment toward groups he “opposes” in spite of his replies.
                Now, it is obvious that they do not ride or follow issues associated with riding either on-road or off-road. There have been recent cases where that exact sentiment (spandex-weenies/weanies) has been leveled in public by motorists that have hit and killed/injured cyclists; their public statements have been considered in determination of intent.
                By statement, this new group is not “anti-anything”, but the proposed policy contradicts these words. Case in point is allowing carts and horses, but prohibiting bicycle travel. In the case where equestrian/cart use is allowed and bicycle use banned, science is conveniently ignored and the conversations turns to the nebulous “wilderness ethic” and “mechanization”. But in other cases, bikes are prohibited due to the “extra abuse” they inflict on the trail and environment.
                For whatever reason, the bicycle is a generally suspect item, disliked by the motoring and hiking public. Ironically, the hiking/wilderness public should see the need for more, not less bicycle travel in general and fail to see how the roadblocks their general policy of wilderness/woods banishment has on the overall tone.
                We love our cars here in the US…the wilderness-only crowd is a product of the car-centric mindset.

                • Boreas says:


                  As I have said many times in the past, if you want to change the laws, talk to your representatives. They currently do not allow bikes in wilderness areas. Period.

                  You are the only one reading and speaking “volumes” about my intent. I was trying to diffuse the word “HATRED” that you used rather cavalierly regarding JFs comment. You obviously want to make a bigger issue out of everything you read because you are paranoid and centered on your own agenda, whatever that is.

                  Either learn to obey the laws, or try to change them through legislation. Browbeat the people who make the laws, not us.

                  Have a nice weekend.

                  PS, I would wager a guess that I have logged more bike miles over my lifetime than most people – possibly even you – so don’t say I know nothing about biking. Don’t bend the facts to satisfy your agenda. You know little about me, and don’t seem interested in learning.

                  • Bob Rainville says:

                    How do you know that I don’t engage my representatives on bicycle access issues? Perhaps I’ve been doing it for decades? Thanks for the advice! Why the need to guide others like the kindly old sage you make yourself out to be? Self appointed “voice of reason”? You must think very highly of your intellect to engage everyone in such a way!
                    So my use of the word “hatred” trumps his “poking light fun” at bicycling “weenies”? I personally don’t wear lycra, nor do many of those I ride with. My wife does. She’s just overcome breast cancer and loves to ride to and from work. As someone with 10’s of thousands of miles (on and off road), I can attest to many harrowing instances on the road. And slurs are sometimes involved. Answer the question: do you stand behind his statement? Was it necessary and appropriate? Are you saying he had nothing but good intent with that?
                    What I’ve seen you do is begin the process of dismissing anything I say here by introducing the idea that I’m coming at this from “victim” purview. Now I’m paranoid. It’s a well crafted way of building blanket dismissal of what I’m saying.
                    Here’s the deal: I will continue to engage my representatives on matters such as these as well as folks, such as yourself, that make contradictory or hypocritical statements in the public forums. That’s all I’ve done here. And I’ve had little return engagement.
                    Those in this forum are carbon copies of the folks I dealt with in the 90’s and 00’s. Nothing new.
                    So now that you have my attention, tell me of your bicycle adventures. Tell me of you general outdoor pursuits. Tell me what shaped your outdoor/wilderness philosophy. Tell me specifically why the mere presence of a bicycle placed within the confines of “wilderness boundary” destroys that mental construct.

                    • Boreas says:


                      Do you ever sit back and read your own comments with an open mind? If so, it should be obvious why virtually no one here will engage with a discussion with you. And now you have lost yet another.

                      Best wishes,

                      Disingenuous, hypocritical, apologist, sage, and cyclist-hater, Boreas

                    • Bob Rainville says:

                      I will go away as you wish. That has been your preference from the beginning. Encourage people who dissent to “not bother you”. Like minded-folk reinforcing the truth as they see it to each other.

                      Bob Rainville (real name), paranoid victim.

                    • Todd Eastman says:

                      With Bob lobbying for bikes, we will not have to worry about bikes being permitted in Wilderness in the foreseeable future…

                    • Bob Rainville says:

                      Pig pile…everyone jump on Bob.
                      You have absolutely no idea what my communications contain Todd. No Idea.
                      Engage me on ideas Todd. Concepts.
                      What was that quote by Eleanor Roosevelt?

                  • Bob Rainville says:

                    And, for the record, I do follow the laws…to the letter. Another very bad assumption on your part. Again, thank you for your sage guidance. Gives you an air of moral superiority…

                    • Jim S. says:

                      What I have observed is that as soon as anyone says anything remotely negative about bikes that BR will come flying with guns a blazing, Boreas comes with a voice of reason. I personally bike a lot more than I hike(no spandex and mostly road biking) it is my first choice for fun and exercise. I and most people I associate with staunchly believe there is no place for mountain bikes in primitive or wilderness settings. Put trails in Wild forest settings and I am all in.

                    • Bob Rainville says:

                      Yes, guns always a blazing.
                      As you are making the assertion that my stance is unreasonable, I’d ask you what IS my stance on mountain bikes within the boundaries of wilderness? Do I have any hiking/backpacking, etc. background?
                      What is your rationale for prohibition of bicycles within wilderness?
                      What is your stance on horses in wilderness? Wagons? Carts?
                      Is this a cut and dry determination or do you see some inconsistencies in this discussion?
                      Do you follow the science of trail erosion, invasive introduction by various user groups?
                      Speak of the negative impacts on “wilderness” by the accepted user groups. Are there any? How does it compare to bicycles?
                      How do you feel about the “weenie” comment? Well placed? Reasonable?

              • Justin Farrell says:

                Please move on, Weanie!

      • Boreas says:


        I can’t speak for others here, but I didn’t read “…bicycle costume wearing weanies.” as a statement of hatred against cyclists. I viewed it simply as JF poking light fun against a group that he doesn’t feel belongs in an area such as Boreas Ponds or Wilderness areas in general. His opinion, likely shared by many others, can be contrasted with the term “elite extremism” used below to castigate people with a wilderness ethic.

        I personally feel that inflammatory terms in general do nothing but that – inflame discussions. Once that happens, rational discourse is typically over.

        BTW, I spell it ‘weenies’… ; )

        • Justin Farrell says:

          Thanks for the correction, I never was very good at typingggg.

        • Bob Rainville says:

          Boreas, your response was as I predicted. Apologist for one of your own. Good job boys.

          • Boreas says:

            And yours as well. We all hunker down when threatened.

          • Jim S. says:

            Sorry for replying to the above comment here but the reply option did not appear there. I don’t think your stance is unreasonable, I just disagree. I object to bikes in wilderness because of the speed and mechanization. My idea and vision of wilderness is that it should be as close to what the first explorers of north america found here before they “conquered” nature. I don’t believe they are worse than hiking for erosion or transferring invasive species. I truly believe that they just don’t belong. The weenie comment was funny , your skin is too thin for internet posts.

            • Bob Rainville says:

              Perhaps my skin is too thin. Perhaps not. JF is the only one who knows his true intent with his statement and we can only speculate.
              Two follow-up questions:
              1) What of the speed of XC skiers or canoeists (more so the XC skier)? I have had to jump off-trail to avoid an out of control XC skier on a few (not often in any sense) occasions. Subsequently, I have not called for the prohibition of XC/backcountry skiing (A favorite activity of mine). It’s the nature of the beast and education/trail etiquette goes a long way here.
              2) I love true wilderness. But I contend that the modern idea of wilderness is, ironically, based on the conquering to some extent, of said wilderness. The wilderness as the explorers you mention experienced is nothing like what the ADK’s have to offer. The explorers did not engage much in peak bagging or other modern pursuits. They did not benefit from the modern marvels of technology we do when pursuing outdoor activities. They lugged hand-made wood boats in portage. They had to forage or kill what they ate (except for heavily salted meats perhaps). So, to me, it’s a bit intellectually disingenuous (in general concept, not leveling this at you personally) to think that a bicycle is an affront to the modern mental construct of wilderness when most of the “approved” activities of wilderness are possible, in part, via constructs of technology and the taming of wilderness. You drive or fly to a trailhead, pack your gear and go (just as I do, guilty as charged!). This is why there is none of this philosophical wilderness-definition mental masturbation in areas like the outback of Alaska. It is remote. It is wild. If you get in over your head, you die. If you survive and thrive, then you’ve accomplished something. The ADK’s are a park. People flock here FOR A SENSE OF REMOTENESS and an escape from the mania of modern life. They gladly return home to their modern conveniences.
              In saying this, I am in no way asserting that the concept of “making things wild” should be adulterated. The problem, as I see it, is that even the approved construct of trails, bridges, signage, etc. is contradictory to this ideal. 99% of wilderness proponents (as this conversation goes) would not want true wilderness if trails, bridges, signs, trailheads, etc. were not constructed and maintained. The vast majority of hikers and backpackers do not have bushwhacking, bushcraft, hunting/foraging or any other remote wilderness skill.
              Just my viewpoint, I’m really not trying to antagonize you.

              • Jim S. says:

                What it really boils down to for me is protection for Adirondack Wilderness. There are very good rules in place that many people before us fought diligently to enact. Are they strong and restrictive enough? I’m willing to make them stronger.If it was determined that the best way to protect BP was to close it off with no human access I could cope with that. I cannot cope with lessening the protections that are in place. The environment is more important than our recreation.

                • Bob Rainville says:

                  The irony is that I agree with you and the others here that do not like my commentary. What is unacceptable to them is that I dare point out the inconsistencies of their dogma. This is human nature.
                  The distasteful pill everyone here has to swallow is that the ADK park is a unique experiment: a compromise between designating various convoluted classifications of “wilderness” and allowing people to live, work and exist here permanently. Finding a middle ground is inherently difficult. Extreme views will exist on the ideology spectrum; some would have no problem seeing inhabitants removed from the park and the whole thing given the strictest protections, and others would have no objection to it becoming a “hilly metropolis” with ribbons of asphalt and lights ablaze.
                  What I find intellectually troubling is the idea that in the discussion of wilderness protection, we can claim with very emotional words and constructs that an area is in dire need of “the strictest protection” and yet “the strictest protection” always involves some form of human access. No access is never an option. Then the discussion becomes who/what is allowed. Curiously, those that clamor for the most restriction will ultimately be included in the who/what group. It’s easy to restrict “the others” when you are part of the privileged group.
                  In this case, the primary privileged group is hikers/backpackers. They get a bye whenever access determination is at hand. It is always assumed that they inflict minimal impact on the soils ecosystems they interact with. There is no further discussion. Closed case. Don’t even bring up the subject.
                  Where I come in begins in the late 80’s – early 90’s when mountain biking hit the east coast. Ultimately conflict ensued (was inevitable, some bikers rode like morons) and trail closures followed, often justified (but not always). Also, at this point, I was a 46er (unofficial), hiked the NP trail both directions and wore out many a vibram sole. I started to take notice of trails; sides were forming and “hikers” were claiming “too much trail damage” on the “bikers” (among other things). In some cases this was true: remember, you rode wherever a trail existed, no matter how it was made. But some of the trails were, ironically, badly eroded to begin with by said hikers. What I’m getting at here is that footfalls cause damage. Period. I have pictures of trail damage due to bike use and I have pictures of damage due to walking. What I didn’t like was the general tone: both sides denied responsibility. Both were magical fairies that did not come in contact with the ground. The ground told a different story.
                  Fast forward to today: I see the anti-bike crowd here in the ADK’s generally engaging in willful ignorance. One case in point is the reaction (or lack thereof) to the idea of allowing horse and wagon in wilderness vs. allowing a bike in wilderness. Heavy ungulates pulling non-pneumatic wheeled carts are OK on the trails. No discussion of prerequisite trail construction to withstand the added “abuse”. Contrast with a 30 lb. bike with pneumatic tires (some 3-5″ wide) and rider that imposes a ground force similar to a lugged sole boot and less than a fully loaded backpacker, and everyone cries that the trails will need immediate reinforcement and constant maintenance. I have nothing against horses, I have nothing against hikers (I am one). All can coexist in appropriate settings. I want to hear rational discussion with science referenced as often as possible. I want to hear self-analysis/self-critique from ALL user groups, but particularly from the group that enjoys the most granted access.
                  I’ll finish with this: I do not believe, not have I ever said or implied that bikes be allowed unfettered access to the wildest places! Period! Never.

                  • Jim S. says:

                    It would be easy to convince me that bikes actually cause less erosion than hikers. The trail widening by hikers avoiding puddles of lovely Adirondack muck can be epic. Bob your passion about the issues is important and adds considerably to this forum.I just would say you can attract more flies with sugar than with vinegar. I won’t always agree with you but I learn a lot by hearing others ideas.

  5. Justin Farrell says:

    Quote from the article above: “In addition, people have suggested opening Gulf Brook Road only part way to LeBier Flow”.

    Still no mention of the existing ‘second gate’ located at 3.2 miles along Gulf Brook Rd!
    I’m curious why this existing second gate, and the ample existing parking space in the adjacent clearings is not even being considered or discussed during these Gulf Brook Rd debates….?

    • Phil Brown says:

      I think the statement in the article suffices. If the parking lot is established along the road, it could be in any number of places. Just because there is a second gate doesn’t mean it has to be there.

      • Justin Farrell says:

        Thanks for repy, Phil.
        I guess that I just find it a bit odd that no one even bothers to mention the existence of the second gate, and it makes me wonder why…?

  6. Mike Prescott says:

    The Boreas Ponds Tract needs to be classified Wilderness north and east of Gulf Brook Road, adjacent to the High Peaks Wilderness. The property south and west of Gulf Brook Road should be classified as Wild Forest. The public should have access on Gulf Brook Road to the LaBier Flow area. There also needs to be accommodations to the Boreas Ponds Tract for the disabled. The operative term is responsible compromise not elit extremism.

    • Boreas says:

      Hiking to and camping on a remote lake is “elite extremism”? Jeezus…

      • Mike Prescott says:

        Boreas, you seem to be missing the point. In fact your response indicates that you do not understand or care that there are disabled individuals that covet the same opportunities that you do. I hope that you are not one who thinks only about himself !!! The Boreas Ponds Tract already has the existing infrastructure necessary with Gulf Brook Road. Gulf Brook Road was designed and constructed for use by very heavy looking trucks. The compaction of the road surface indicates that the road will always be evident. It makes sense to compromise !!!

        • Boreas says:


          If you have been reading this group as long as I have been contributing to it, you would realize your accusation is patently false. Review some of my comments before you paint me with that brush. I have long been an advocate for people with mobility issues, as I am one. However, I do not feel being disabled entitles one to 100% access to the backcountry. This is neither an “elitist” nor an “extremist” view. It is pragmatism.

          The issue of limited auto access specifically for people with certain disabilities has been raised before and has not been trashed by ANY group. These are discussions trying to find the best way forward. But what AWA is looking for is for a general road closure, but perhaps they would consider limited access for certain individuals.

          Or perhaps I did miss your point.

          • Mike Prescott says:

            The operative word is: compromise I know a foreign term to some. So, yes, you did miss my point !!!

            • Boreas says:


              Hmmm…I thought I was agreeing with you WRT compromise. I am OK with limited use of the road for people with disabilities, but not for autos in general. Limited access. A compromise.

              However, what AWA is discussing here is the issue of working within the existing SLMP classification structure, which doesn’t really allow for compromise. They feel if the Wilderness classification is compromised by allowing vehicles, then essentially there is no Wilderness classification.

              They also feel if BP is classified WF, it would be a great loss to the core of existing Wilderness block encompassing the HPW. Why? When this property was in private hands, public access was virtually non-existent. While lumbering projects, corporate retreats, and hunting camps certainly were not consistent with a Wilderness classification, I believe the acquisition by TNC was to protect the land from general motorized use by the public in the future. But I also believe TNC was OK with future motorized access to BP (but I am not positive on this). Again inconsistent with Wilderness classification, which many believe to be the proper eventual classification of the bulk of this parcel.

              Now comes the NYS acquisition and subsequent classification(s). This inconsistency is the crux of the discussion and needs to be addressed and hashed out in a public forum – not just with state-appointed officials. I believe that is what the AWA is trying to bring about – a more public process for the eventual classification(s) of the parcel. It may end up biting them in the ass, but at least the taxpayers get the opportunity to weigh in on the matter.

  7. Nature says:

    For the Boreas property I can agree to the all wilderness classification. This is where it makes sense based on the surrounding landscape. If you are in favor of wilderness, why the wild forest near mount Adams?

    • Bill Ingersoll says:

      Good eye. We are suggesting of a rollback of the wilderness boundary at Mount Adams due to the fire tower and ranger cabin there, which we think were inappropriately added to the High Peaks Wilderness several years ago. We’re fine with the tower and cabin remaining where they are, we just think it was a misstep to classify that area wilderness.

      The rollback area is actually exaggerated a bit on the current map. When we get a chance to update it, the wild forest zone will be reduced in size a bit, keeping to the slopes from Lake Jimmy to the summit. That part of the mountain faces the mine, is not remote, and is not necessary for the goals of wilderness preservation.

      • Phil Brown says:

        Does the state own the Adams summit? At one point, OSI still owned it, but I’m not sure if that changed.

        • Bill Ingersoll says:

          Just before OSI sold the Tahawus lands to the state, APA granted a subdivision permit that allowed 0.5-acre exclusion areas for the tower and ranger cabin. So when you climb the trail up Mount Adams you are in the HPWA, when you step through the door of the cabin or climb the tower you are not. To my knowledge that never changed.

          However you look at it, this was a deliberate end-run around the SLMP.

          Again, we’re not suggesting that the structures come down, just that HPWA boundary be adjusted to reflect the on-the-ground reality.

          • Phil Brown says:

            My point is it’s still private land, so it’s not reclassification issue.

            • Bill Ingersoll says:

              I’m sure that’s how the APA saw it at the time they did it. Technically, it’s correct. But the physical reality is a fire tower surrounded by a wilderness area. That’s what counts, what you see when you’re on the ground.

              Speaking for myself, Hurricane Mountain, St Regis Mountain, and Otter Brook are errors that I disagreed with at the time they happened, and which I still think need to be undone. Mount Adams was the first of these, and apparently set the example for the rest. Whether it was done through a subdivision permit or a classification action, each was still an APA end run around the SLMP.

          • Bruce says:

            And exactly how would you adjust the boundary?

            Where does it say a trail in a Wilderness area has to be entirely within that area without crossing a very small piece of private land which existed before the Wilderness was classified? I mow a yard bigger than that half acre.

            If every classification went exactly in accordance with the SLMP rules, I believe there would be little or no need for the APA, because there would be little need for amendments, inclusions, or exclusions except as dictated by the SLMP.

            Another thought is fire towers have existed as a part of Adirondack wild lands since before the SLMP was written.

          • Bruce says:

            And exactly how would you adjust the boundary?

            Where does it say a trail in a Wilderness area has to be entirely within that area without crossing a very small piece of private land which existed before the Wilderness was classified? I mow a yard bigger than that half acre.

            If every classification went exactly in accordance with the SLMP rules, I believe there would be little or no need for the APA, because there would be little need for amendments, inclusions, or exclusions except as dictated by the SLMP.

            Another thought is fire towers have existed as a part of Adirondack wild lands since before the SLMP was written.

            • Bruce says:

              Sorry for the double entry, I didn’t think it went in on the first go.

            • Bill Ingersoll says:

              Hi Bruce,

              The suggested boundary adjustment can be seen on the map attached to the article. It’s the round blue area immediately northwest of the MacIntyre East Tract.

              The basic argument is that because Mount Adams features a fire tower and ranger cabin, it better meets the criteria for Wild Forest than Wilderness. Also, the lower portions of that area abut the Tahawus mine, and so as you pass through that area there is a distinct lack of remoteness until you turn a corner and approach the Opalescent River. When you add in a utility line that cuts through the “wilderness” near Lake Jimmy, we feel that APA erred when it added the southwestern slopes of Mount Adams to the High Peaks Wilderness.

              We’re not proposing any changes to how the mountain is being used, only that the land be reclassified to better reflect those uses.

              • Bruce says:

                Bill, what real benefit to hikers will changing the area you’ve indicated to Wild Forest have? Isn’t this an attempt at creating some less desirable Wild Forest in exchange for more Wilderness at the ponds? It seems to me that in this particular instance that the point of Wild Forest along Gulf Brook Road is to allow greater access to the ponds which is not necessarily a bad thing.

                If it should turn out the area is being abused, doesn’t the state have the ability to later curtail certain kinds of access? According to comments in earlier articles, Wilderness is no guarantee a very popular area will remain pristine.

                And what about the dam? Some Wilderness advocates have said it should be removed. What happens to the ponds then?

                • Bill Ingersoll says:


                  The proposed Mount Adams reclassification is intended to correct an administrative mistake, for the reasons stated above. I do not expect the map change to have any impact on how the mountain is accessed.

                  In regards to Gulf Brook, every one of us already has access to the road. All you have to do is drive up to the trailhead and walk. There are no electrified fences or bouncers to keep certain people out and only admit certain others. There are some of us who would choose to walk the distance to Boreas Ponds, and others who would decide it’s not worth the effort. That is a personal choice in most cases. There are no quotas to limit the number of people who can pass the gate at any given time. In these state land discussions people often confuse the word “access” with “operation of a motor vehicle,” but that’s not necessarily what it means.

                  We also need to be careful about equating disabled access with the need for motor vehicles. Anyone who watched the Rio Olympics this month must have seen the commercial about the guy climbing a major mountain with no arms or legs. Disabilities come in all shapes and forms, and some disabled people may see the chance to walk along an abandoned road (as opposed to a rocky, muddy trail) as an opportunity, not a barrier.

                  I didn’t remark on the other comment about wilderness areas being more crowded than wild forests because I saw no validity in the statement. I’ve spent substantial amounts of time in both wild forests and wilderness, and I’ve seen plenty of trampled places in each. On the wild forest side of the spectrum, I offer Nine Corner Lake, Mason Lake, Shelving Rock, and just about any fire tower summit as cases in point. It’s the popularity of the destination that drives traffic, not the classification. From a management perspective, however, wilderness areas do tend to get more attention.

                  In regards to the existing dams at LaBier Flow and Boreas Ponds, they would require no special treatment in a wilderness classification. The SLMP allows existing dams to remain, as long as they’re constructed of “natural materials.” These two are primarily gravel causeways, although LaBier also has some steel(?) cribbing and Boreas has concrete abutments.

                  The most likely scenario under a wilderness classification is that the dams would be allowed to remain, but they would not be replaced in the event of failure.

                  There are well-established precedents for this: Duck Hole, which failed in spectacular fashion in the wake of Hurricane Irene; Marcy Dam, which was damaged by Irene and is currently being dismantled in phases by DEC; and Cedar Lakes, where the dam has been undercut by erosion and is only partly functional. In all cases the ponds are returning to their native sizes.

                  Likewise, Boreas Ponds would shrink a bit if the dam failed, but there would probably still be ponds there. Barring another catastrophic storm, I suspect that dam will be with us for a while.

  8. scottvanlaer says:

    I am glad to see a pro wilderness, pro environment group emerge as the others have lost their way. Nice proposal. Thank You

  9. Bruce says:

    We keep talking about “motorized use.” I realize bicycles were not mentioned in this article, but previous articles and comments have falsely claimed extensive damage and road maintenance requirements caused by bicycle use on good (but not necessarily paved) roads.

    I would like someone to explain why bicycle use on these roads (similar to the roads in Essex Chain which are considered all weather) is lumped under “motorized.” Bicycles are no more damaging than hikers or wheeled carts on these kinds of roads. Many folks (who can ride but not walk far) would love to be able to bicycle in to the ponds.

    If we can’t stomach the “potential damage” to hard roads, how is it we can call for new trails to be cut and amenities (lean-tos) erected, each of which has an immediate and negative affect on the wilderness, instead of simply saying, “use the roads, they’re already there?”

    • Boreas says:


      I can’t speak for AWA but I believe bicycles weren’t mentioned because they don’t have a strong opinion on them using the road – pro or con. Hopefully they will comment on this issue.

    • Phil Brown says:

      Bicycles are prohibited in Wilderness Areas. This is why the towns want to classify the area around Boreas Ponds as Wild Forest; it would allow bikers to ride on old logging roads. That is mentioned in the story.

  10. Tim says:

    I am in favor of classifying all these new purchases wilderness areas. However, in the case of Boreas ponds, the only way to truly appreciate the views is by water. Perhaps some boats could be placed there for use by hikers. Maybe there could be a “boat steward” similar to the summit stewards that are found around the high peaks.

    • Boreas says:


      Not a bad suggestion. To hitchhike on your idea, I would perhaps limit it to maybe one kayak and one canoe or whatever makes the most sense as BP isn’t a large body of water. But I don’t know about the feasibility or necessity of a steward, except maybe on busy weekends. The boats could even be reserved in advance by a steward group by means of changeable combination codes on cable locks. The combination could be acquired after a small non-profit fee is paid online or over the phone.

    • scottvanlaer says:

      The old Pharaoh Lake (DEC) outpost rented out boats.

  11. scottvanlaer says:

    Having the trailhead along Blue Ridge rd will give private enterprise the opportunity to flourish. You could have an ADK Loj type facility, easement lands adjacent to wild forest for multi use trails, and all the amenities tourists seek. Trailheads should be incorporated within communities, that is the winning equation. Remote interior trailheads do not benefit local economies or the environment.

  12. Pete Klein says:

    Just what we need – another special interest group in the Adirondacks.

  13. Dan Vitale says:

    None of these elitist young hikers ever think of the general public, older folks, or people with disabilities. The more restrictive an area, the less people will be able to enjoy it. Remember, we all have to participate in the cost of purchasing and managing wilderness areas.

    • Boreas says:


      I am neither young, nor able to walk or bike the 7 miles to BP. But I think the road should be closed at least to general traffic. Does that make me an elitist, or just someone with an opposing opinion to your own? I think labeling people for their opinions is counterproductive to any discussion. Most people are more nuanced than that.

    • scottvanlaer says:

      Mr Vitale, to what extent should wild lands, which are here in perpetuity, be altered and impacted by the hand of man so one, who is here for such a finite time, always feels they have dominion over that land? Is your only perspective what you can do on the land itself? Why is it not for the environment and the greater good? Just a thought

    • Dave says:

      People with disabilities want to experience wilderness too, but maintaining motorized roads through an area destroys that experience for everyone, including those with disabilities.

      If you really cared about people with disabilities, you would advocate for alternative and accessible trail solutions that maintain and preserve the wilderness character of an area.

  14. Bill Ingersoll says:

    Certainly providing access to the Forest Preserve to a wide variety of people is an important goal, but this should never translate into the increased mechanization of the woods.

    The goal for park planning is accommodate the various recreation uses where such uses are appropriate. Someone who seeks motorized access is by definition not interested in remoteness, therefore it would be flatly inappropriate to open a road into a remote area, for the same reason it would be silly to expect solitude within a mile of a parking area.

    There are opportunities for enhanced access here that wouldn’t intrude on the wilderness characteristics of the interior. For instance, there is a road to the east of Ragged Mountain that might accommodate car camping and hunting access in a secluded part of the property, with access to The Branch. The state should establish better canoe access points to Sanford Lake and the Hudson River. There is already brand-new canoe access points to County Line Flow, an outstanding paddling destination that includes several miles of Fishing Brook. And let’s not forget the existing opportunities at Henderson Lake and Elk Lake (for guests of the lodge, which I hear is an excellent facility).

    But Boreas Ponds is the one place that currently exhibit an outstanding sense of remoteness. If we cannot preserve the remoteness of this one place, then there are no remaining options.

    And wouldn’t it be interesting if an entrepreneurial spirit established a service to haul people and gear to Boreas via horse and wagon, similar to what exists at Camp Santanoni? Nothing in AWA’s proposal would prevent that.

    • Smitty says:

      I really look forward to visiting this area and paddling my hornbeck in it. One or two mile carry? Sure. Seven miles? No way. And I suspect I speak for 99.9% of the population. I can’t imagine NY taxpayers wanting to pay for something that such a few would use. Thank goodness this group doesn’t control our national treasures such as Old Faithful or the Grand Canyon or I’d probably never have had the time to see it.

      • Boreas says:


        I feel BP falls a little short of a national treasure. The pond itself is present because of a man-made dam, that may or may not be continued to be maintained. I have never been there myself, but I understand it does provide excellent views of the High Peaks, as does Elk Lake, which provides a similar view and paddling opportunities for guests of the lodge.

        The main attraction of BP is its relative remoteness and lack of people. Open the road to general traffic and it won’t provide much more than any other small pond along a highway with a nice view. While National Parks do provide access to some of their individual main attractions, one must also note that much of the remaining areas in the parks are left without roads and are only accessible by trails on foot or possibly horse. Same with the Adirondack Park. Much is accessible by road, but several jewels are left as pristine as possible.

        US and NY taxpayers pay for both philosophies – easy access and remoteness. Just because taxpayers ultimately pay for state lands doesn’t automatically mean everything in the park needs to be accessible by auto. But how many parks have a road to the top of a high peak? Would we want a road to the top of every peak? Water features are no different. Should every pond have automobile access with a line of people waiting to launch their boat? I personally don’t think so. However, because of the existing road(s) in BP I am not against the opportunity for restricted vehicle use specifically by/for people with mobility issues if plausible.

        I believe the AWA feels that taxpayers seeking remoteness and isolation should have a voice as well as people who want easy access. I can’t fault them for that.

        • Bill Ingersoll says:

          Well said, Boreas. “Access” is by no means synonymous with “motor vehicles.”

          • Jim S. says:

            I agree it is well said, no wonder they named the ponds after him!

            • Boreas says:

              Jim S.,

              Yes – I am thankful my name will live on. “God of the North Wind”. As many who know me can attest, I can be quite windy….and I don’t mean verbally…

  15. Dave Gibson says:

    On behalf of Adk Wild, welcome to Adirondack Wilderness Advocates and its proposal. The APA should evaluate that proposal and test it against the State Land Master Plan classification guidelines as carefully as any other. Airing out organizational or individual ideas and proposals at the hearings will also be key. While Adk Wild is a member of the BWildNY coalition we do not agree with an explicit one mile boundary between motorized access @LeBier flow and the Ponds. We agree with one mile as a minimum distance, not a maximum. We would encourage APA to carefully evaluate all proposals that place motorized access further away. And Adk Wild is not advocating a snowmobile community connector trail along Rt. 2 – the Blue Ridge Road, or at any other location. We objected very strongly to the DEC’s inadequate snowmobile community connector plan of 2015 including its failure to consult with the many private landowners along the several DEC proposed routes.

  16. Justin Farrell says:

    Letter signed.

  17. Geogymn says:

    Bill, Happy to see you strive for wilderness. Godspeed. Letter signed.

  18. Jim S. says:

    I signed as well. Always willing to fight to keep spandex out of BP.

  19. Paul says:

    “They have not taken a position on the snowmobile trail. Presumably it would be excluded from the area they would designate Wilderness.”

    By “they” you mean we? This isn’t a piece written by an outside journalist but someone who is one of three members of the group. That is well disclosed here. But you should just say they are ‘your’ groups views not make them sound like someone else’s.

    • Phil Brown says:

      Huh? The three founders are Bill Ingersoll, Brendan Wiltse, and Pete Nelson. I am none of those people.

      • Geogymn says:

        ” I am none of those people.” Can you prove it? This is a mass conspiracy of you tree huggers to preserve the remnants of what will only be an imagination to your progeny. I want what is mine now and I want to get there easily and I want everyone to know I was there.

        PS. Only kidding!

  20. Dave says:

    Bill, Brendan, Pete. Nice job, guys.

    Really look forward to following the development of your organization and hearing more from AWA on these issues.

  21. Joe Hansen says:

    I was going to armchair comment on this issue but wheeled a canoe in first instead. It was so refreshing to see such a pristine area! I was all set to argue for easier access to the ponds but now feel quite the opposite. It is not a seven mile hike,it is a seven mile walk and is accessed by a reasonably fit person in under three hours. Three hours is a pittance to pay for such a grand view! Now for my “political” comments: Bob Rainville, I’ve ridden more than three thousand miles annually for the past six years. I wear silly Lycra outfits and found Justin Farrell’s comments funny. You need to lighten up and cultivate a bit of self deprecating humor. Just because you ride a bicycle does not mean you are saving the world. Thank god that the people I meet enjoying these great woods in their own way are more agreeable in real life than in commentaries.

    • Boreas says:


      Must have been nice! Was anyone else on the pond?

      • Joe Hansen says:

        Our canoe was the only boat on the water,two gentlemen from North River hiked in after us and camped. Never have I been on a body of water that had no obvious signs of camping use. We landed the canoe in five different area to search for a suitable tent site,not that easy a task when two large dogs are excited about going ashore! Four areas including our ultimate choice had bear scat. All the usual wildlife was abundant,the high point was a pair of otters who seemed fascinated by a canoe with two large dogs! It was apparent we were something out of the ordinary and worthy of investigation. I would not mind seeing fires prohibited in all areas other than a lean to site. Fire rings are always full of trash. The wife and I felt privileged to experience such a place. You should go soon as the blackberries are abundant!

        • JohnL says:

          Gotta love a barking dog(s) in the woods.

          • Joe Hansen says:

            Even though you were not there are you inferring my dogs are “barkers”? They are not and now you know.

            • JohnL says:

              Just playing the odds. I bet you’ll say ‘oh, they won’t hurt you’ too. BTW, I’ve been bitten by a number of dogs who ‘won’t hurt you’. Right or wrong, I just don’t think dogs belong in the woods. Too many bad things can happen, e.g. bites, jumping up on, barking, stepping in crap, chasing native wildlife etc, etc.

              • Jim S. says:

                I hate it more when the dogs are wearing spandex.

              • Dave says:

                You’ve been bitten by a number of dogs in the woods?

                That is certainly strange. What exactly where the circumstances?

              • Joe Hansen says:

                I will tell you what I tell everyone with this attitude. I won’t deny my animals because of your irrational fears.

                • JohnL says:

                  I don’t have a fear of dogs. I can handle any dog I meet in the woods. BTW, I’ve also owned dogs myself. I repeat, I simply don’t think people should annoy others on a peaceful wilderness hike with their dog. Not everyone loves your little fluffy like you do. We’ll just have to agree to disagree I guess.

              • Bob Rainville says:

                John, I can empathize with those who have a fear of dogs. I’ve owned dogs and other animals most of my life and have been able to experience those that have had little to no exposure to animals. Ownership of a dog (or any other animal) demands responsibility of the owner to keep said animal appropriate to the environment they are in.

                But that being said, the statement “dogs just don’t belong in the woods” if a function of your neurosis. I’d like to think that, as humans, we need to leave our neuroses at home when we venture out to the wilds. Don’t litter the construct of wilderness with neuroses. Litter Central Park or Washington Park (Albany) with that…

        • Boreas says:


          I have heard that much of the shoreline isn’t conducive to camping because it tends to be pretty wet & marshy. I wonder if the answer would be small, designated campsites on a high spot a short distance from the lake? Are there any nice spots along the river carry?

          • Joe Hansen says:

            It is most definitely not conducive to camping! The former lodge site is a nice open area about 20′ above waterline and would make a great place to cluster campsites/lean tos. As I said before it was a treat to paddle the shore line and not see signs of human activity other than the dam and roadway near it.

        • Bill Ingersoll says:


          Your experiences more or less seem to correspond with mine, in that it seems like the shoreline area at Boreas Ponds is essentially untouched. The lodge site was the only spot that was recently occupied. I have been camping at a hidden spot on the east shore was the site of a structure long ago; you can still find the trace of an old wagon road leading to it, and there are artifacts scattered over several acres, with a couple excavations that look to me like somebody was hoping to find something in the ground, and evidence of a telephone line. But all of these features are very old, with no evidence that the hunting clubs were visiting the site.

          I’ve also hiked the series of roads that loop all the way around the pond, with a side trip to White Lily. Other than the roads themselves and a few pockets of recent logging, we saw no signs that the clubs were using this part of the property. There were no herd paths, no hidden campsites, not even any deer stands. It really is a remarkably wild, remote place.

          So far both of my visits have been backpacking trips only. I am planning to get back to Boreas at least one more time this year, this time with a canoe. September probably. I might even stay a few days. The trek to the dam is hardly an ordeal. The people up on the surrounding mountains have all traveled longer distances over more difficult terrain, so the walk to Boreas Ponds is relatively modest.

        • Justin Farrell says:

          Thanks for seeing the humor in my comment, as it was indeed only meant in light fun. I too like to ride often, though never in spandex haha, and never in wilderness areas.
          My apologies if I hurt anyone’s feelings.

    • Bob Rainville says:

      Joe and everyone else,
      Anyone who knows me realizes I have a sense of humor. No cultivation required! A very, very good sense of humor. Dark sometimes…in my line of work, you need this or you burn out. I have more busts for roadies, triathletes, downhillers, etc. than I can count, many of which would go right over your heads. So don’t be too proud of your analysis to my reaction…missed by a long shot! If you don’t understand why I reacted the way I did…well that’s as it will remain.
      You confuse my passion for cycling with my passion for understanding why and how people rationalize the things. Bikes will not save the world. Never said that and never implied that. Never. That’s yours. Hiking will not save the world. More wilderness will not save the world. Hiking the AT will not save the world. No one thing will save the world. The world does not need saving, it will ultimately take care of itself. I’m way past saving the world…that’s quixotic.
      Common decency, honest communication and awareness of one’s intent among folks might be a good start though.

  22. Timothy Dannenhoffer says:

    I agree that it all should be wilderness. It’s an amazing place with very wild potential.

    But why not route the new propsed trail, at least partially, along the Boreas Ponds outlet – that would be far more scenic. Gulf Brook Road is suicidally boring. Keep it open as a trail but I hope it’s not the only trail option – and the other trail option is an interesting and beautiful hike.

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