The APA staff is expected to present a classification proposal for Boreas Ponds and other newly acquired state lands at the APA’s next board meeting, on October 13.
After reviewing public input, the agency is expected to vote on the classifications of these lands early next year. The state Department of Environmental Conservation will then write a management plan based on the classifications.
The classification of the 20,578-acre Boreas Ponds Tract, which the state acquired in April, has been an issue that has generated much discussion on the Almanack. Click here for a list of some of the stories.
At the moment, four main proposals have been issued by various groups:
BeWildNY. This coalition, which includes some of the Park’s major environmental groups and Forest Preserve advocates, wants most of the Boreas Pond Tract added to the High Peaks Wilderness, where motors and bicycles are not allowed. The land south and west of Gulf Brook Road, a logging road that runs to the ponds, would be Wild Forest, a less-restrictive designation. The public would be able to drive nearly six miles up Gulf Brook Road to LaBier Flow, an impoundment of the Boreas River located a mile from the ponds. A proposed snowmobile trail would run parallel to County Route 84 away from the interior of the tract.
Protect the Adirondacks. Its proposal is similar to BeWildNY’s with one main difference: the snowmobile trail would follow Gulf Brook Road. Protect contends this proposal would require less tree cutting, which BeWildNY disputes.
Adirondack Wilderness Advocates. This recently formed group is pushing to close all of Gulf Brook Road, which would require a hike of nearly seven miles to reach Boreas Ponds. Land on both sides of the road would be classified Wilderness.
Access the Adirondacks. This coalition of five local towns wants Boreas Ponds and the land in the immediate vicinity to be classified Wild Forest. The towns would permit electric boats on the ponds and mountain bikers and snowmobilers to ride on old logging roads that circle the ponds. Under their plan, most people would be allowed to drive only as far as LaBier Flow. However, the disabled, guides and their clients, and anyone who secures a special permit would be allowed to drive all the way to the ponds.
At the September board meeting, the APA staff revealed tentative dates for seven public hearings, including three in the Park. The dates could change if, for example, the board decides the classification proposal is not ready to go to public hearings.
Wednesday, November 9, 7 p.m. Adirondack Park Agency headquarters in Ray Brook.
Monday, November 14, 6 p.m. Northville Central School.
Wednesday, November 16, 7 p.m. Newcomb Central School.
Monday, November 28, 7 p.m. Sustainability Hall at the Rochester Institute of Technology.
Tuesday, November 29, 6 p.m. St. Lawrence County Human Service Center, Canton.
Tuesday, December 6, 7 p.m. New York City. Place to be determined.
Wednesday, December 7, 2 p.m. DEC headquarters, 625 Broadway, Albany.
The state bought the Boreas Ponds Tract from the Nature Conservancy in April as part of a multi-year deal to add 65,000 acres of former Finch, Pruyn lands to the Forest Preserve. Among the other Finch lands that the APA will be classifying are the MacIntyre East and MacIntyre West tracts near Tahawus.
Forest Preserve advocates want all of MacIntyre West and most of MacIntyre East added to the High Peaks Wilderness. The towns want them classified as Wild Forest to allow snowmobiling and mountain biking.
Photo by Phil Brown: Boreas Ponds, with Gothics in background.