Saturday, September 10, 2016

Lorraine Duvall: Regarding Access To The Boreas Ponds

boreas-canoeAt Boreas Ponds, access is an issue, as it has been with most of the publicly-owned lands and waters that contain valuable natural resources. Restoration (or preservation) of these resources into a wilderness or near-wilderness condition requires careful thought.

An Interim Access Plan recently announced by the DEC will allow public access to the ponds by opening the Gulf Brook Road to motor vehicles for 3.2 miles from the state highway, Boreas – Blue Ridge Road. A gate will prevent further motor vehicle travel to the ponds.

According to DEC, “Paddlers will be able to access Boreas Pond and other waterways by carrying their canoes and kayaks 2.5 miles from the gate on Gulf Brook Road to LaBier Flow and then another 0.5 mile between the flow and Boreas Pond.”

Yet-to- be-announced public hearings will be held within the next few months to allow interested parties to express their views on how the Boreas Ponds Tract should be managed.

The towns near the much discussed purchase by the state want the existing seven-mile Gulf Brook Road and the logging roads surrounding the ponds to remain open to motorized vehicles to provide easy access to the ponds.

Protect the Adirondacks and BeWildNY, a coalition of environmental organizations, propose the opening of Gulf Brook Road to a mile or so from a flow that leads to the ponds.

The newly formed partnership Adirondack Wilderness Advocates calls for closing the entire Gulf Brook Road to motorized vehicles.

The continuing dialogue about the classification and use of the lands and waters on the newly purchased Boreas Ponds Tract reminds me of the various ways I’ve sought-out and gained access to the quiet waters of the Adirondacks. Portages are often difficult for me, especially if I’m carrying camping gear in addition to my canoe, even though the solo canoe is lightweight, only 15 lbs. A level gravel road makes it possible to wheel the boat to the put-in. However, with my limited abilities as I age, I could not now do what the DEC proposes in their interim plan, even for a day trip requiring a five-mile portage (2.5 miles each way.) I suspect the great majority who paddle our waters would not have the physical wherewithal to undertake such a portage, no matter what age.

The DEC Interim Plan for Boreas Ponds calls for miles of existing roads to be open to bicycling, horses and horse drawn wagons, including to the ponds. peter-pete-lorraineFor those of us who have problems carrying a canoe the 2.5 miles, trailering the boat behind a bicycle is a possibility. I’ve never done it, but have seen Peter Hornbeck with his trailered canoe.

Riding a horse drawn wagon with a boat trailer to reach a paddling destination is another way to gain access to quiet waters. Last summer, I had fun on a trip to Great Camp Santanoni and Newcomb Lake via the horses, but it certainly was not a wilderness experience. Sitting on wooden benches packed with twenty other people for over an hour, each way, with everyone chatting, was more like taking a bus tour, albeit the bus is more comfortable – perhaps to a famous cathedral rather than a quiet lake. It’s nice to say you’ve been there, but you may want to go back alone or with a few friends to spend time to become a part of the place, rather than be an observer. I felt rushed on Newcomb Lake, and would love to return to explore the lake at my own pace, not on someone else’s time schedule.

horse-and-boatsHiring guides to help carry canoes is an option, as my canoe buddies and I did two years ago to gain access to the lakes in the Essex Chain. We walked for a mile on a gravel road to Third Lake while our guides wheeled our canoes to the put-in. That was only one mile, however, not 2.5.

I’ve had the pleasure of paddling on the Boreas Ponds as a part of an environmental group before the Nature Conservancy sold the tract to the state. The experience is one of my most cherished Adirondack memories, captivated by the breathtaking view of the mountains while floating on these quiet waters. This remembrance will always be with me.

I ponder the question of what type of access can be offered to those like me who seek a remote paddling experience, while still maintaining the sense of wildness so essential to such a quest. I’d like to visit again. I’d like to share the waters with others who would honor and cherish this sacred space.

Photos from above: Canoe on Boreas Ponds provided, Peter, Pete, Lorraine, courtesy Jeri Wright, and and horse and boats provided.

Related Stories

Award winning author Lorraine Duvall's newest book contains stories about where she has lived in the Adirondacks for the last 24 years, titled "Where The Styles Brook Waters Flow: The Place I Call Home." She writes of her paddling adventures in the book "In Praise of Quiet Waters: Finding Solitude and Adventure in the Wild Adirondacks." Some experiences from her memoir, "And I Know Too Much to Pretend," led her to research a woman's commune north of Warrensburg, resulting in the 2019 book, "Finding A Woman's Place: The story of a 1970s feminist collective in the Adirondacks." Duvall lives in Keene and is on the board of Protect the Adirondacks.

166 Responses

  1. Larry says:

    I have a problem with the rather loose usage of the words “public access” is bantered about as if preservationists actually believed in public access.
    It seems to me that their definition of the word public includes all people. But it doesn’t.
    To many of them, it means access by very healthy people, free from any disability. Men and women who can easily walk a few miles to see, for example, the Boreas area.
    So, let’s not call it “public access” unless we actually mean men, women, and children of all ages and physical condition who love the Adirondacks. I see very little consideration or interest in their access.

    • Boreas says:


      I think you underestimate the abilities and will of many people with disabilities.

      One doesn’t need to be Superman to pull a canoe 3.5 miles on a level road. But it does require some desire and effort. More effort for 7 miles, but still doable.

      Are you asserting that public access = automobile access? It sure sounds like it.

      • Larry says:

        I don’t think I am underestimating the abilities and will of many people with disabilities. I am 70 years old and have been canoeing and hiking with my kids for 45 of those years. Now, I have asthma which makes that 3.5 miles problematic at the least. My one son is paralysed from the waist down, but he can canoe fine.
        Got any suggestions for him?
        My mother, yes she’s still alive, uses a walker, but still loves to paddle.
        Any suggestions for her?
        Yes, there are other places that are accessible but that’s not what we are talking about. We’re deciding how to make the Boreas accessible to all people who enjoy the outdoors and who, by the way, help pay for that access. Let’s give them a voice and stop the pretense that the Adirondacks, by design, considers them worthy of inclusion.

        • Boreas says:


          “Got any suggestions for him?” “Any suggestions for her?”

          Yes. Allow motor vehicle access by reservation for people with mobility issues as is done with several other gated areas across the park. But otherwise keep the gate closed at LaBier Flow. Many people have suggested this.

          • Larry says:

            Please explain to me why anyone with a disability has to make “special arrangements”?
            The ADA act makes that illegal in most places so why not in the Adirondacks?
            Please keep in mind the broader issue which is that people appreciate and want to protect things they can see and experience. Once exposed to the beauty of our ponds, lakes, streams and mountains, they are far more likely to support their preservation. That’s why we have zoos and public parks and National Historical sites.
            Every one of these sites would be far better preserved if no one was permitted entry.
            Because I love to canoe, I love solitude. I’d prefer not to see another canoe or kayak or camper on any trip, but I’m not foolish enough to believe that the fewer the number of people experiencing that solitude, the wider the support they demonstrate.
            Gates have one purpose, they are there to keep people out. They are not be used to cause an inconvenience or exclude certain types of people.

            • Boreas says:


              People must make “special arrangements” simply because the road is closed to motor vehicles. Has nothing to do with the ADA. This practice allows access to people who would not normally be able to visit because of mobility issues. It is nothing new. And you are making this a bad thing? Obviously, your issue is with ANY type of restriction, not your disability red herring.

              The gates are not used to exclude anyone. They are there to exclude vehicles.

              • Larry says:

                You say that the gates are there to exclude vehicles, not people. Think about that for a moment.
                Is it ok to tell a person who needs a wheelchair that they are welcome but not their wheelchair?
                Please don’t try to infer what my “issues” are. I am not against ANY type of restriction, and you’re probably not for ALL types of restriction.
                I am for extending the road as far as possible so that it includes as many people as possible and that includes those with disabilities (which, by the way, are not, as you insultingly call them “red herrings”).

                • Boreas says:

                  Give it a break Larry. I said the gate is to exclude vehicles. Anyone with a wheelchair can use the road. And I didn’t call anyone a red herring. Try to come up with a real argument. Nit-picking verbiage isn’t an argument.

                  • Paul says:

                    You can’t use a wheelchair on a road like that unless you have some special one. A person confined to a wheel chair would have to drive in there or take something like an ATV which they are allowed to do with special permits in some places.

                    • Boreas says:


                      You are probably correct about a typical indoor wheelchair. Google “off road wheelchair” – there’s a lot of options there. Yes, some special equipment or permits may be necessary, but it certainly isn’t impossible like others would make us believe.

                      Anyone needs to alter their typical daily gear for an excursion into the woods. High heels and sandals need to be swapped for beefier shoes. A daypack with basic safety gear. Food, water, etc. Same with people with limited mobility. If we go into a different, non-paved environment, we all need to be prepared.

                      Even if the road is opened to vehicles, a breakdown at the ponds can ruin your day if there is no cellular access and no other visitors. If you aren’t prepared to or cannot walk out 7 miles, you may be there for a while.

                  • Larry says:

                    You miss the point. Under the current proposal, a person who must use a wheelchair does not have the same access privileges because they need a car to transport their device.
                    All I am saying is you either believe in treating people with disabilities the same way as others or you don’t.
                    I just don’t see the harm in extending that road so it can be used by all people. Apparently you do.

                    • Dave says:

                      If you really cared about people with disabilities, you would be suggesting accommodations that allow them to experience wilderness. Instead, you are arguing to diminish the wilderness experience of everyone – including those with disabilities. It calls into question your real motives here.

                      Are you interested in increasing access to wilderness for people with disabilities? Or are you really interested in arguing against wilderness?

                      Regardless, I assure you, people with disabilities are just as interested in protecting and experiencing wilderness as everyone else.

                    • Boreas says:


                      At some point all people with wheelchairs must leave their cars. You seem to be trying to move the ADA legislation into the backcountry, where ADA does not apply or gets very vague.

                      All people have their individual limits. A marathon runner may not be able to swim. We all make the best of our limitations, and most people are able to adapt to them whether it be vision, hearing, mental, or mobility, we must learn to accept that we can’t do everything. Legislation will never be passed to mandate access to everyone everywhere. ADA is primarily involved with access to buildings and public areas where people spend much of their time and are often required to visit. No one is required to visit backcountry. Currently, the NYS backcountry is open to all people who can navigate the terrain. I think DEC does a reasonable job with the limited funds and staffing they are allotted.

                      But there is no mandate that when private land is purchased to add to the Forest Preserve that any existing roads and structures MUST be used. They tore out the newly built lodge as an example. The dam could still be breached and the roads torn up. The roads and even the ponds may all be “naturalized”. That is all part of the discussion and supposedly will come up for public hearings. I believe until a final decision is made, the interim plan is a good one.

                      But I also feel some people are using the handicap access issue selfishly as a tactic to further their agenda to simply open all roads to motor vehicles. Some of us see that tactic for what it is. Only you know your true feelings.

                    • “But I also feel some people are using the handicap access issue selfishly as a tactic to further their agenda to simply open all roads to motor vehicles. Some of us see that tactic for what it is.” ???

                      But those who want the road closed so that they can enjoy greater solitude due to the limited access aren’t being selfish? Isn’t it possible that those who would like to see greater access truly believe that humans belong in nature and we want our fellow humans (as well as ourselves) to have the opportunity to experience wild places? Why is wanting to keep people out of nature as much as possible more noble than wanting as many as possible to connect with wild places and learn from that experience? Isn’t that like saying only the choir should attend church?

                    • John Warren says:

                      I think Boreas’ point is that people with varying disabilities also want challenges and wilderness. In fact, it’s been shown that people support wilderness for the sake of it simply being, despite never visiting, or even wanting to visit wild areas.

                      So, if you are simply arguing for access without acknowledging that people with various abilities have their own interests in wilderness not tied to their personal mobility, than your motive is obviously questionable.

                      Also, the argument that there is limited access is a conclusion that is exactly the opposite of the reality.

                      Every place in the Adirondacks is within about 3.5 miles of a public road, virtually all places are within three miles, most much closer. There are massive crowds climbing the High Peaks, driving their vehicles straight into most large waterbodies to deliver motorboats, driving to the summits of several mountains, and driving into remote camping areas across the Adirondacks, including the largest primitive campground in America (the Moose River Plains WF).

                    • Boreas says:


                      “Why is wanting to keep people out of nature as much as possible…”

                      Who is saying that?? You seem to be constructing your own argument here. I haven’t read anywhere on this site where anybody wants to keep people out of nature. Certainly not me. I am simply for restricting motor vehicles into the backcountry. Backcountry motor vehicle restrictions are the norm for most of the Adirondacks.

                      What about the people of the state that do not have access to a motor vehicle? Who is championing their cause? Perhaps we should extend the Tahawus rail line to BP so that people without cars will also have unrestricted access??

                    • Which brings me back to the question I was posing, why is it okay to assume the proponents of closing the road are being noble but assume ulterior motives on the part of those who want greater access? Boreas posed an extreme scenario of hoards of people showing up at dawn, utterly spoiling what would otherwise be a serene and solitary experience for those willing to walk 7 miles carrying their boat. Am I to take from that, that his concern is purely for the preservation of wilderness and not to restrict access? At the same time, are we to assume that anyone who wants greater access must have an anti-wilderness preservation agenda? It was the latter assumption that I was responding to and questioning why one is fair and the other not.

                    • Boreas says:


                      I think we all agree preserving the ADK Park a century ago was a noble effort. This was before cars were popular. The problem with cars is that they in no way are part of nature or wilderness. I am not saying leaving the gate up is any more noble than allowing unfettered access. I am just saying it seems to be more in line with the original intent of the Park and preservation – and the feeling of many NYS citizens.

                      Each parcel needs to be assessed according to its location and nature. A small logging parcel on the outskirts of a town may be an excellent example of the type of classification you envision. Whereas a large parcel that would fit in between Wilderness parcels should be classified Wilderness if possible. It is keeping with the concepts of wilderness corridors and large wilderness areas. But a Wilderness classification does not allow for motor vehicles, because they simply aren’t part of the wilderness concept. Dropping the classification rating to allow for motor vehicles would essentially fragment the adjoining wilderness areas viewed as a whole. It isn’t impossible, or ignoble, but is it ultimately the best use of the parcel? I believe that is the overview I have been trying to take. Keep as much wilderness as contiguous as possible.

                  • Larry says:

                    Has it occurred to you that the effect of excluding vehicles necessary to transport the disabled is the same as excluding the disabled?
                    That’s why there are “Handicap” parking spaces. That’s why we have crossings that have brail on the button. Do you understand now why it’s, at the very least, polite to accommodate those with handicapped? Do you understand why it’s frustrating to take that equal access away from them? Do you understand why it’s insulting to call that a “red herring” argument?

                    • Boreas says:

                      I understand the way you feel. But people do need permits to legally use those spaces. As far as I am concerned, if the DEC says it is OK for special access past the gate (using the above permit for example), I have always been fine with that. Perhaps they could even make the parking area close to the pond for handicap access only and ticket those who do not have a permit. But I will leave that up to the DEC.

                      But it indeed is a red herring argument used by some disingenuous folks that simply don’t want a gate at all. But nobody is going to admit it. At least I try to be honest about my feelings and intentions. But as I say, I’ll leave it up to the DEC to decide. I am just giving my opinions on the parcel.

                    • John Warren says:

                      Do you understand that you’re acting as though people with differing abilities don’t care about wilderness? Do you understand that people of all abilities seek challenges and wild places?

                      You should not demean people with differing abilities as incapable and assign them your own values.

                    • Boreas says:


                      If that is what I am doing, I apologize. My intention certainly isn’t to demean anyone. But I am not always able to express myself well.

                    • Boreas says:


                      Not sure who you meant this for, but I apologized anyway.

          • Paul says:

            Is it practical or feasible to maintain many miles of roads for a few permitted uses? Also, anybody who want to walk up the wheel chair ramp is usually allowed to do so. I think either the road is open or it’s closed.

            • Boreas says:


              With road closure, road maintenance will need to be resolved at some point. I don’t feel it would be feasible to maintain it perpetually for this limited access – especially if its use dwindles. In this case, I would say maintain it from LaBier Flow for a few years, then stop. Same with the dam. But maintain the road to LaBier Flow as long as it is useful.

              • Paul says:

                I suspect that its use “dwindling” is probably not why the towns decided to vote to allow the sale of this parcel to NYS?

                As far as maintenance goes it probably makes sense to maintain the road even if it is only being used as a canoe carry (especially one that will be a very long distance carry by Adirondack standards). Grading, culverts, etc. are what will keep it from eroding and becoming the type of mess we have with some of the trails in places like the HPW, especially if this is going to be used for things like canoe carts (or other things that folks have suggested to make the carry even possible). I am sure that maintenance is not something that they have accounted for in the budget.

                On many carries depending on what you have (some have kids and their stuff which is a good thing) you carry the boat and then you go get the other stuff. Even 2.5 miles seems nuts for that.

    • M.P. Heller says:

      Folks over 65 and those with bona fide mobility issues should be demographics which are considered with major public land acquisitions and the use classifications that go along with that.

      Those who don’t fall within those demographics should do more listening and less talking when it comes to what those groups think is best.

      I realize that many readers fall in both catagories as do many commenters, but outside certain instance like this where Larry states his age, it’s hard to know who is an advocate and who is a constituent on certain hot button issues.

      It’s late 2016. Accessibility is a real issue, especially when it comes to public lands, and also when it comes to Adirondack diversity.

    • M.P. Heller says:

      Lorraine brings up great points.

      I stand by my original statement.

      Unless something goes terribly wrong, this is the final draft UMP.

  2. Well, I’ve said it before, but although I am considerably more fit than the average 71YO, I pretty sure I’d have a problem if I tried hauling my canoe 7 miles (each way) to go for a day paddle on Boreas Ponds. 2.5 miles each way? Maybe. 1 Mile? Yeah, I certainly could do that. I can hike 8-10 miles a day but my canoes weigh substantially more than my pack (which I would also have along with the canoe) and carrying a canoe is not like a pack on your back. So, Larry is right. Those who want to close the entire road aren’t talking about “public” access. They are talking about access for the young, strong and hardcore paddlers. The rest of us? Not so much.

    • Boreas says:


      You get up well before dawn, drive 2 hours to the BP trailhead and down the access road and park near the pond. At dawn you sit back and have a cup of coffee and start to watch the sunrise listening to the dawn chorus of birds as you plan your paddle. But then you begin to hear a familiar rumble. It gets louder and louder until 30 Harleys from a riding club downstate come blasting into your reverie – seeing who has the loudest bike before they park and stretch their legs. Behind them comes two vans of outdoor club paddlers from XYZ College. As the paddlers start dragging 10 kayaks to the shoreline, in pulls a busload of Boy Scouts with the intention of launching their canoes for their annual camping weekend. Next comes a mountain bike club, and as you are finishing your coffee, an equestrian club arrives.

      Glad you got up early?

      • I’d get there before dawn because I’d have to walk at least a mile under the plan most generous to those of us who are no longer marathoners or ironmen. They seem to be leaning toward a longer walk. I would not drink coffee (it makes me ill) and in my experience, the crowd you are talking about rarely gets out to go anywhere before 9 and they are unlikely to walk even a mile except for the boy scouts. What have you got against boy scouts BTW?

        What we are really talking about is how we define wilderness. Back when I first adopted a lean-to, about 28 years ago, I had a conversation with a DEC guy who told me that wilderness meant “untouched by humans”. According to him, there should be no towns inside the Blue Line, no roads, no lean-tos, trails, cairns, NOTHING but what nature itself put there. We should rip up every trace of humanity, build a tall fence on the perimeter and let nature commune with itself. Anything humans did was pollution he said. I asked “If I pick up an autumn leaf while hiking to admire it and dropped it farther down the trail, that is pollution?” “YES!” He said. “It wouldn’t be where nature put it.”

        The Adirondacks aren’t and have never, in the last several thousand years, been a true wilderness by his definition. When the Park was created it was less wild that it is today. Loggers routinely stripped large areas of timber, hunters killed all the moose, panthers, wolves, and beaver. The beaver we have today are descended from imported beavers. Native Americans roamed here for centuries before that.

        I appreciate that many want to “restore” wilderness but it is my view that humans are a part of nature too. We are animals. We eat, sleep, poop and procreate just like all other animals do. But we have lost a lot of our psychological connection with nature and discouraging people from getting out into nature only exacerbates that disconnection. Yes, some people are destructive and disrespectful of the natural world, but that is an education problem, not an excuse to keep “them” away from “our” wilderness. If wildness is to have any lasting impact, it must be accessible to more than an elite group.

        • Boreas says:

          James B.,

          I have nothing against the Boy Scouts (was one) or anyone I mentioned. I was trying to illustrate the potential pitfalls of unlimited motor vehicle access for a visitor to the ponds.

          I am also really tired of the “elite group” moniker. There is nothing “elite” about people that can walk 3.5 or even 7 miles. Can everyone do it? No – but most people actually can!! Even I can do it – albeit with a painful limp. There is absolutely nothing elite about it. Now if I could do it while juggling porcupines, then that would be elite…

        • Western Edge says:

          Thank You!!

        • Taras says:

          According to the New American Dictionary:

          People who don’t share my opinion.

          • Taras, Immediately before reading your comment re: overuse, I had this pop up on my FB feed “Hike the Adirondacks this fall and revel in the colorful landscape, the crisp mountain air, and the crowd-free trails!” from a group called Visit Adirondacks. What attracts use is promotion. It isn’t “if you build it they will come”. Rather it is if you promote it they will come and they do.

            Some folks have suggested that there should be a Southern Gateway to the High Peaks around the Boreas Ponds. Set up an information center and suppliers at the site of the old Frontier Town, have shuttles that take people to the Gulf Road and have guides and horse-drawn wagons to carry their canoes and gear. Advertise it on TV as part of the I Love NY.

            If we do that I too can see the worst fears of overuse coming true even with the road being closed all the way. I realize businesses would love that should that happen it won’t result from how much of the road is open. It will happen because someone planned for it to happen and promoted it.

      • Paul says:

        Sounds like just the economic boost that the towns are looking for. I hope they all had a good time in town the night before!

  3. Jim S. says:

    I look forward to visiting Boreas Ponds. If the roads are left open to motor vehicles I will probably go once. If the road is closed fully or open for 3.2 miles and classified wilderness it sounds like an area I would return to often. I live in western NY and do not travel 6 to 8 hours to visit a tourist trap.

  4. John Sullivan says:

    I’m an avid paddler. I’m also not able to carry even a 15-pound Hornbeck any farther than I can see (in dense woods). Would I like to drive up to the Boreas Dam, unload my canoe and go paddling? To (fill in name of water)? You bet. BUT the Forest Preserve wasn’t created for my enjoyment. It was created, with the kind of foresight rare in the history of humanity, so that the People of New York may proudly proclaim their ownership of an increasingly rare commodity — natural wilderness. So I am happy to defer to my fellow citizens. Be proud. Let your children and their children be proud. That lasts longer than a couple of hours of pleasure.

  5. Thus far the discussion of the classification of Boreas Ponds has centered on human use. Perhaps we should challenge ourselves to consider the value of this land in the context of the conservation of our native species. Large tracts of land with diverse connected habitats incredibly important in the conservation of our native ecosystems.

    • Ryan Finnigan says:

      Right on, Brendan. Well stated!

    • Boreas says:


      It would seem many people are only interested in the species they can see from their car.

    • Lorraine Duvall says:

      I struggle with what the human non-use of nature means. Paddling the waters has less impact than walking the lands. The issue in my essay is access to the waters.

      • The issue of access is fundamental to the discussion of the protection of the ecosystem. Motor vehicles and the road have far greater impact than either walking or paddling.

        What amount of vehicle traffic has the road seen previously? How will the various access plans change that? Will the road be widened to accommodate 2-way traffic? What is the Moose population in the area? Where do they travel? How many nesting pairs of loons are there? How many culverts are blocking fish passage? How much fishing pressure will the ponds receive? Are there native strains of brook trout in the ponds and streams?

        I hope that a more substantive discussion on the value of conserving wild lands in the Adirondacks will develop. When put in a global context there is the potential for even farther reaching dialogue on the value of wild lands in the Adirondacks.

        • Boreas says:


          I agree. The ADKs are a preserve and therefore preservation should come before automobile access, despite the governor’s agenda.

          Another thing to consider is that DEC hasn’t even decided if the dam will stay. My feeling is that strictly from a preservation point of view the dam should be breached, the road closed and the parcel given a Wilderness designation. But I can live with the dam and road being maintained for bike access. I am not too sure about horses and invasive plant species issues. I just don’t feel that motor vehicles should be allowed past LaBier Flow, except possibly for limited access by people with disabilities by reservation through the DEC.

          I feel the ponds should remain quiet at least, and motor vehicle access to the ponds will destroy that. Hopefully a reasonable decision will be made.

          • Paul says:

            This idea that allowing a mile carry would somehow destroy the quietness of the ponds just doesn’t hold water. Look at places like the St. Regis Canoe Area. These are very quite ponds. Even Bear Pond. How far is Bog and Bear Pond from all the motor boats of St. Regis Lake. Much closer than a mile. Bog is about 500 feet! Bear is less than half a mile. Does sound carry farther in the Boreas Ponds than in other parts of the Adirondacks? It is fine to advocate for closing a road but lets at least be honest in the discussion.

            • Boreas says:


              Keep in mind, the local towns along with Albany want to actively PROMOTE this parcel as a paddling, biking, riding, skiing, camping, and hiking destination – despite the small size of the ponds in comparison to the size of the parcel. The small ponds you mentioned are not even on Albany’s radar. If the place is promoted for all of the above along with full auto access, I don’t see it staying quiet.

      • scott2 says:

        Human use means driving your car 5 miles through “wilderness” so you can drag or carry your boat for a short distance for your human enjoyment. Non-human would be implementing a management plan that limits human impact, in this case, not having a 5 mile dead end road through wilderness for no other purpose than to accommodate humans. Quite frankly, I am disgusted so many of these so called green group are proposing to add an interior road. Thank god Avalanche Lake and Lake Colden were added to the Forest Preserve 90 some years ago otherwise we would be having the same debate for those wilderness lakes. I just don’t get it, you already have hundreds of drive up lakes to go to why doesn’t anyone care about Wilderness anymore?

        • Boreas says:


          I think the “drive up” people actually want wilderness. They just want to be able to drive into it. Literally millions of “elitists” have managed without automobiles to visit and enjoy the other Wilderness areas since the Park’s inception, but that doesn’t seem to matter. It is a new parcel, it has some old roads, therefore they must be used.

          The BP purchase has everyone feeling they are getting ripped off of tax money if the final classification isn’t what they envision. The original Park probably had the same issues when it opened – except automobiles and roads to accommodate them were non-existent. Now many people believe they are entitled to motorized access with every acquisition because they pay taxes. It is a belief that I don’t share.

      • Bruce says:


        You mentioned impact. What gets me are folks who talk about the esoteric aspects of having preserved wilderness, which I agree with generally. In the next breath, these same folks talk about building new trails, bridges, boardwalks and lean-tos in that wilderness.

        In a previous discussion, it was suggested that a new trail (read shortcut) was proposed so hikers and canoeists could get to the ponds quicker, without having to walk the entire distance on perfectly good existing roads.

        It seems somewhat ingenuous to me.

    • Justin Farrell says:

      I’m with you.
      I mentioned it a while back in some of the earlier discussions about this area, but true to this forum’s character most of the replies are met with nothing more than snarky rhetoric comments such as “elitist”, “extremist”, “locking up areas”, and other BS!

  6. Henrietta Jordan says:

    How about a compromise? I agree with Lorraine and others that a 6-mile round-trip portage basically cuts off this amazing place from older folks and people with disabilities. Henderson Lake has a much shorter portage (.4 mile or so), which makes it accessible to paddlers with lightweight boats or carts, and it is conceivable that a person in a rugged wheelchair could get up the old road to its outlet as well. If DEC created a parking area 1 mile or so from 1st pond (or even at La Bier Flow), the folks who are truly interested in enjoying and maintaining the wilderness experience would have it and folks who aren’t would look for a place that was easier to access. I’m now 64 and quite active, but I recognize that the time may come when I can’t portage at all or even walk very far and the activities I now enjoy will be out of my reach. I accept that. But I do believe that the Boreas Ponds should be accessible to a group larger than the muscled able-bodied young people who can make a 6-mile portage, one that includes older folks, people with mobility issues, and kids. Kids who experience a breathtaking place like the Boreas Ponds will become adults who want a vastly expanded EPF and full funding for DEC, and will vote for politicians who pledge to maintain, expand, and protect the Adirondack Park.

  7. Taras says:

    Let’s not conflate improving access for the aged and the disabled in the city, a part of daily life, with a pastime in the woods.

    Perhaps Boomers should accept the reality of aging. Some activities you enjoyed in your prime gradually (or suddenly) cease to be enjoyable. It’s time to move on to other things and not re-engineer the backcountry to accommodate your diminished physical abilities.

    I’m a “late Boomer” and an avid hiker. I don’t want the backcountry “dumbed down” to accommodate my old-guy physical abilities. When I can no longer meet the challenge I’ll scale back my goals rather than lobby to make my hobbies easier for me. I may even take up golf.

    • “Re-engineering” the Boreas Ponds tract is what this discussion is all about. The advocates of entirely closing the existing roads are campaigning to change it from what it currently is and re-engineering to their definition of wilderness.

      The road exists. No one is suggesting building a road through a wilderness, although DEC seems to be okay these days with cutting ten of thousands of trees to build snowmobile trails through wilderness. The Gulf Road has a history of use by its prior (private) owners. Those on the side of some degree of access would like to see the new owners (we, the public) be allowed to continue to use at least part the road we now own. That isn’t re-engineering.

      Boreas suggested above that allowing the public to use the road we the public now own will result in hoards of people (including motorcycle gangs and bus caravans of Boy Scouts) flooding the area and trashing it. I think that concern is vastly overstated to the point of being alarmist and yes, elitist. Why? I recently went canoeing at about 9 in the morning and saw NO ONE ELSE. And this was on Barnum Pond near Paul Smiths where I was able to park right on the beach, by the highway AND it was on Labor Day weekend. In the past I have similarly paddled highly accessible waters including Chapel Pond, Church Pond, Black Pond and Jones Pond to mention just a few. All of those are as accesssible as you can get and it entirely ignores the ones I had to portage to reach. You take your boat off the car and drop it in the water a few feet away. On most occasions I saw no one else. On those occasions that I did encounter other paddlers, I could count them on the fingers of one hand. Avalanche Lake is a mere 5.1 miles in and I have yet to see a single paddler there (although I hear Carl Heilman has done it).

      I don’t see any evidence at any of the (far) more accessible locations I have been to, so I hope you will excuse my skepticism of large masses of people swarming the Boreas Ponds if they are allowed to drive any closer than 7 miles. Are there places where there are many paddlers, especially on the major holiday weekends? Of course, but those tend to be where there are other things encouraging them. The distance from a parking area alone won’t bring them. If, as some suggest, there is a deliberate effort to turn the tract into a Southern Gateway tot the High Peaks, that could do it. But that would be “re-engineering”.

      • Boreas says:


        I don’t actually expect hordes of users on this little pond as you suggest. But with an open road, you can’t rule it out either. Nobody expected the volume of hikers in the HPW 75 years ago to be anything like today. But in the 60s the “outdoor movement” started and hasn’t diminished.

        My illustration didn’t mention anything about trashing the place, but that is another issue with unlimited access. My illustration was meant to show that the experience of a quiet pond with nice views can become quite unpleasant without restricting access to some extent. Nobody (except the loud motorcycles) was doing anything wrong. But cumulatively, the more users, the more chaos & noise.

        • Paul says:

          You can always change a classification later. It happens often. Most often the classification is made to one that makes access more difficult. You could do that here if you wanted to or need to.

          • Boreas says:


            Agreed. In your opinion, what classification should we start with?

            • Paul says:

              Since I think this has potential as a paddling designation one that would allow cars to get a reasonable distance from the put-ins. So obviously for that a Wild Forest Designation is where you would start. The St. Regis Canoe area (which BTW is very much on Albany’s “radar”) has a special Canoe Area designation, basically the same as a wilderness area. But there the edge of the area is close enough to a road (or Upper St. Regis Lake) to make for reasonable access for boats. I guess you could classify the ponds as a CA or Wilderness and have a WF designation to cover where the access road is.

              Here is a good measure when it comes to ponds. If you can’t easily get there with your Adirondack guide boat or a boat of similar size and weight you have probably given it the wrong designation.

              • Boreas says:


                But the entire parcel needn’t be designated WF just to allow reasonable access to the ponds. They are only about halfway in. The current trend is to break large parcels into several classifications. Again, basically a compromise.

        • Larry says:

          I appreciate Boreas concerns about overuse and the detrimental effects to solitude but, in the end, the argument he makes is weak. Hiking the high peaks is subject to overuse because, a was recently demonstrated, you can get a group of 40-50 people on a bus and have them use the trail together.
          You can’t do that with canoes.
          There are literally hundreds of low use areas with easy access to all and that offer solitude. Many have been cited in these posts, I can add to the list the ancient carry between Forked Lake and Raquette Lake .which is a drive up area, yet you can paddle up Forked and Little Forked with ease or use the stream leading to the outlet of Raquette Lake. Sometimes it is difficult to experience the solitude I desire when you are close to the access areas, but the extent of the water highways in the Adirondacks makes solitude possible a short distance from these access areas.
          If you want solitude, you can get into the Oswagachee with little effort.
          So why use public funds to block easy access to the Boreas? It’s really counterproductive to gaining public support. And we need as much public support as we can gather.
          It’s not impossible to love the Adirondacks and make it readily accessible to the people who support it. The objective should be to attract people and figure out ways to accompany them.

          • Boreas says:


            “I appreciate Boreas concerns about overuse and the detrimental effects to solitude but, in the end, the argument he makes is weak. Hiking the high peaks is subject to overuse because, a was recently demonstrated, you can get a group of 40-50 people on a bus and have them use the trail together.
            You can’t do that with canoes.”

            Agreed – not with canoes. But the discussion here isn’t only about paddlers. It is about the vehicles that bring them and other visitor types into the backcountry. Those same buses can show up any place there is no restriction on vehicles. They don’t have to be paddlers. At least on the HPW trails, there are restrictions to group size. Not so on what would essentially be a public road, at least none that I have read about.

      • Taras says:


        Your time-frame is too short. The land was “re-engineered” over a century ago (stripped of its timber). Wilderness areas are an attempt to undo the modifications.

        I know of three other roads in the High Peaks Wilderness area that were never opened to the general public’s vehicles (Ward Brook, Caulkins Brook, and Marcy Dam). These roads lead through forests that were logged in the past. However, the woods have had decades to recover and the result is a better approximation of wilderness. Another century should do the trick.

        Three dams were never rebuilt after they failed (Flowed Lands, Duck Hole, and Marcy Dam). Just because a man-made structure exists, it doesn’t mean one is obligated to use/maintain it or have it determine the land’s classification and future.

      • Bruce says:

        James Bullard,

        Your comments about accessible paddling places was well taken. I remember some years back when I spent several days camping and paddling the Hoel Pond, Slang Pond, Turtle Pond and Long Pond route someone had written about in a magazine. This area is not classified Wilderness although no motors were allowed on Long Pond.

        I was the only one parked at the Hoel Pond access point and I saw no one until I got to Long Pond where there were about 3 occupied camp sites, including mine. I discovered Long Pond has a dirt road access point at the far (west) end.

        I guess my point is that motorized access doesn’t necessarily lead to disaster, in spite of the doom and gloom predictions, and using the recent discussions of High Peaks overuse as an example, having a long hike doesn’t guarantee a pristine wilderness.

  8. Tim - Brunswick says:

    Expecting “Seniors”, disabled/physically limited and others to portage 2.50 miles with or without a wheeled canoe/boat carrier is ridiculous. Who are we kidding ? 2.50 miles is not a brief walk in the park so to speak and seriously limits access to any place by the above segment of our Outdoors Society.

    The State’s interim plan is a start in the right direction, but only that and nothing more. Just look at how many thousands of acres of “Wilderness” in the ADKS are locked up already from too many of us. Double, even triple that amount and it WILL NEVER be enough for the fanatical “Wilderness Only” groups who frequent these type forums.

    IF the Adirondacks belong to ALL New Yorkers then we should all have more “realistic” access to its beauty …..

    Thank you

    • Dave says:

      Your contributions to this site have had one consistent theme. You are interested in what you, yourself, can enjoy right now. You occasionally disguise this self-interest by wrapping it up in the issue of disability rights, but those efforts are transparent… and at times just a little condescending. I assure you, people with disabilities value wilderness too. If you really cared about them, you would be suggesting ways to provide them a true wilderness experience, like the ones you were able to enjoy in your youth. Instead, you use them as a pawn in your argument against wilderness in general. After all, if you can’t enjoy something… no one should!

      I know you are unlikely to recognize the shortsightedness of your views, but I would like to leave you with the following proverb anyway, just in case it speaks to you: “A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.”

    • In defense of Tim, it should be pointed out that some of the comments here are just as extreme in the other direction. Brendan points out that the debate here centers on human use and he would like to see more discussion of conservation. If we are to be honest with ourselves, the question of reverting to natural wilderness would require not just closure of the entire road, but also the removal of the dam and with it the ponds that draw human use. So the fact that (for the present at least) the dam is to remain, we are talking about human access to a recreational resource that is not “natural wilderness” and won’t be as long as the dam remains. That an entirely nature wild environment has value to our understanding of nature is not debatable, although that value can be difficult to see by those who are unable to experience it and the respondents here are not all naturalists, botanists, and ecologists. They are people who enjoy being out in nature, not to destroy but to appreciate.

      I will confess to being something of a ‘devil’s advocate’ here because, in my view of the natural world, humans do belong in nature. I do not see nature as something foreign to, or separate from us. Face it, without the rest of nature we humans would not exist. Thus I believe we need to find compatible ways to relate to and be in nature as much as possible. It is only in intimate relationship with nature will we ultimately value and conserve nature. Erecting barriers to that kind of relationship is counterproductive.

      Whatever the final decision on the classification of Boreas Ponds I am likely to go there no more than once. As Boreas observed in his nightmarish scenario of motorcycle gangs, it will be a 2 hour or more drive for me just to reach the trailhead. I might do the trip once to paddle the ponds, take in and photograph to unique view of the High Peaks but frankly, there are far too many places in the Adirondacks where I can enjoy a solitary paddle with far less travel time and effort. In truth, if the decision were to rip out the dam and the road and fence it all off “for nature to commune with itself” as the DEC guy suggested to me years ago, I would not be wanting for places to go paddling, but I would consider it a loss because such thinking reinforces the idea that humans are separate from nature and don’t belong in nature. I believe that to be ultimately a bad thing.

    • Taras says:


      So you’re a typical New Yorker who has explored every nook and cranny of your fair state?

      Prolly not.

      Millions of *able-bodied* New Yorkers probably won’t ever set foot in the vicinity of Boreas Ponds *regardless* of the road’s length.

      Check out the recent articles concerning OVERUSE and CROWDING in the High Peaks WILDERNESS area. It flies in the face of your comment that Wilderness is “locked up already from too many of us”. With 150,000+ visitors to the HPWA annually, it’s not indicative of barriers to entry.

  9. Henrietta Jordan says:

    This discussion over access to the Boreas Ponds brings up the issue that is really the Elephant in the Living Room, the fact that DEC is too understaffed, under-resourced, and underfunded to manage the ever-increasing number of recreational users of the Adirondack Park. This is especially true of the High Peaks Region. In the summer, the trails are crowded, littered, bordered by plops of unburied human waste, and hard to enjoy as “wilderness.” Literally hundreds of cars are parked at the Cascade and Giant trailheads on peak summer weekends. Living on the road to the Garden, I’ve watched hikers take to the woods in flip-flops, start their treks just before twilight, and sit in large groups (20+) waiting for a tour or camp bus to pick them up.

    So I can understand the fear that allowing easy access to Boreas Ponds and creating even more trail access to the High Peaks would cause further degradation of an area that is already highly stressed by human use.

    I believe that planners need to start thinking of the Forest Preserve holistically, not just as an assemblage of management units. How can we encourage recreational users to distribute themselves more widely so that the most popular areas are not trashed by the people who love them? Can we look at wildlife corridors, habitats, and eco-regional needs of the whole park, not just in terms of individual UMPs? Is it possible for the APA to consider how development of a large tract such as Tupper Lake’s Adirondack Club and Resort (1/3 the size of the Boreas Ponds acquisition!) puts pressure on wilderness areas outside its boundaries?

    Or should we resign ourselves to the fact that the allure of the High Peaks and the bag-a-peak mentality of some climbers is a monster unleashed and try to keep secret and/or inaccessible, as best we can, those parts of the Forest Preserve that are still unspoiled?

    New Yorkers—all 20 million of us—collectively own the magnificent Forest Preserve, but we and our out-of-state guests are literally loving it to death. We seem unable to analyze future needs, population and climate change impacts, and plan for the long-term: What do we want the Preserve to be like in 50 years, 100 years? How much unfragmented wilderness do we want to protect? How will climate change affect the Forest Preserve, its flora and fauna, and the needs and wants of humans who increasingly see it as a refuge from hotter and flooded areas south and east of us?

    Yes, right here and right now I want to paddle the Boreas Ponds, and I’d like the access to be a little less arduous than a 6-mile round-trip portage. But as I think about all the points people have made in this discussion, I’m beginning to wonder how long we can avoid the really big questions, and yes, that obnoxious, vexing Elephant inconveniently crowding the living room.

    • Boreas says:

      H J,

      Excellent points. The under-staffing issue and possible ways to fix it has been a fairly hot topic this month in several other articles here on AA. You may want to peruse them. Some are quite entertaining.

  10. Lorraine Duvall says:

    Perhaps a rating system would help to gauge the degree of difficulty of alternative access plans to the ponds, like is done when describing hiking and paddling trips. For example, opening the road to the ponds would be rated C, to indicate an easy put-in; a C+ would be to the Flow, etc. The most difficult would be the 7 miles (one way) rated A or A+. Then plans could be evaluated with letters, rather than loaded words like elite and disabled.
    A systems could also be used to rate the degree of wilderness preservation. A rating of C would indicate the potential for excessive use; an A the greatest amount of wilderness protection.

    • Boreas says:

      L D,

      Not a bad idea. What has been done more recently WRT preservation is physically gerrymandering large parcels instead of classifying or rating the entire parcel one way or another. And I’m not using the term in a negative sense, it just breaks a large parcel up into different classifications – similar to the grading system you mention above. It is basically a compromise to various usage types/groups and habitat types.

  11. Jan Hansen says:

    Walking the 7 miles into the Boreas Ponds is a small price to pay for the solitude and beauty that are the Ponds. Why should man’s selfishness override the needs of the animals who live in that area?
    My husband and I wheeled a rather heavy canoe and gear into the Ponds on the road and survived. It wasn’t fun, but the reward at the end was worth it.
    The Ponds deserve to be designated Wilderness. This is about preservation. The access is there, you should just work for it.

  12. Neil Luckhurst says:

    Is this discussion about access to a man-made swamp with a nice view of the High Peaks?

    Years ago my wife and I carried and paddled into near-by Wolf Pond, which drains into the Boreas River. It involved 3 bushwhack carries each way with a 17-foot stripper. We ambled all around the pond for a couple of hours. The view of Haystack from there was amazing. When we got back to the road my wife informed me that there would be no more bushwhacking with the canoe. However, it never would have occurred to either of us that there was anything even remotely elitist about having gone there. Sure, it was hard but that’s all. Our collective view is always changing. Nowadays doing something hard is increasingly painted as being elite or epic.

  13. Chuck Parker says:

    I contend that man is one of the elements of a sound ecology. We are not merely observers. If there is a naturally occurring forest fire it generally a means of nature correcting something that is an out of balance situation that the stewardship of man should have addressed. You will find that manyecologist agree with this sentiment.
    Many of the roads on the Boreas Tract are constructed so well that tractor trailers with a load of logs can safely drive on them. They are more than suitable for your Subaru Outback or my Equinox.
    A 2.5 mile one way walk is just discriminatory for the reason so many have offered in this comment session. If you want to do the 2.5 mile walk, go for it, just step aside with the $1,500 canoe you are carrying while I politely drive by with my $200 garage sale Coleman Canoe. Maybe I will offer to carry you back pack for you.
    We all deserve to enjoy the marvels of our great lands and yes some of those marvels have been positively influenced by the impact of man. I don’t care if it is a disability or only limited opportunity do to various life commitments We all should have the opportunity for real access.
    Where are the conservationist and environmentalist of tomorrow coming form if you keep shutting them out from the opportunity to enjoy today’s marvels of nature.

    • Boreas says:

      “We all should have the opportunity for real access.”

      I don’t get your point. You do have access now – just not your vehicle. Same with any Wilderness area. Should we eliminate them all? Oh, maybe that is your point. Now I get it.

      “Where are the conservationist and environmentalist of tomorrow coming form if you keep shutting them out from the opportunity to enjoy today’s marvels of nature.”

      Out hiking to BP with their parents?

      • Advocates of closing the road are arguing from the assumption that the entire tract *should* be classified as wilderness with no motorized access. The point is that the classification hasn’t been finally determined and there are those who think the classification *should* allow use of all or part of the existing road. They have as much right to their opinion as those who believe the road should be closed. No one is saying all wilderness *should* be abolished. People are simply weighing in with their views.

        • Boreas says:


          I don’t know. Some of the rhetoric seems to indicate otherwise. How do you read the statement “We all should have the opportunity for real access.”? Many here are saying if they don’t have motorized access, it isn’t access. Motorized access is incompatible with a Wilderness classification. I keep hearing. “everything is locked up in Wilderness and we have no access.”. Kinda sounds to me that they aren’t a fan of wilderness. I get tired of hyperbole.

      • Paul says:

        Not even on Albany’s radar? What are you talking about? These two ponds form one of the main entrances to one of the most used Canoe Areas in the Adirondacks. In fact the only one with an official designation as such that is managed just as a Wilderness Area is.

        The point here is that these ponds are going to be quite even if the carry is a half mile long as far as noise coming from the road. You might hear these Harley’s that you describe in that one exaggerated example but nothing else.

        What is this “full auto access” you are talking about this isn’t even on the table. We are just talking about a carry of reasonable length. No one is suggesting you can drive right to the ponds. Again even if they were it is not going to be as crazy as some claim. There are some ponds in the St. Regis Canoe area you can drive right up to and even those are still pretty quite. Little Clear and Little Green Pond are two good examples.

        Look even Little Long is less than a mile from the loud inboard motor boats of Upper St. Regis Lake (or any other motorized stuff near the lake). You can’t hear those boats in there. These ponds are going to be quite even with a reasonable short carry.

        • Boreas says:


          I guess what I meant was a recent, huge acquisition has more of Albany’s attention than land that has been classified and used for some time. There aren’t any major arguments about them. BP is a major argument. They will likely be promoting it hard for what some think of as return on investment.

          What do you mean full auto access isn’t on the table? I believe many here are suggesting just that – auto access using the available roads. No restrictions. No gates. The way I see it, until the State makes a decision, anything is on the table.

          • Paul says:

            What will be put out for public comment will not have an option to drive all the way to the ponds. That has been perfectly clear. It is basically off the table. Things can also be re-classified so a decision isn’t the end either.

      • Chuck Parker says:

        May I submit an excerpt from another that describes real access (slightly modified) Definition of Access
        Outdoor access takes many forms and modes and differs depending on the situation and how it is used in the context of the conversation (noun or verb); it is multi-ordinal term. Most generally we are talking about the ability to approach or enter a place (lands or lakes) for the purposes of outdoor recreation. In the case of lakes this may mean to approach or enter a boat launch for the purpose of getting onto lakes to fish or travel to lands available for hunting and trapping. In general it may consists of self powered and motorized means ie. motorized access. It also equates to permission or approval to enter (contingent on regulation or plan on State managed lands) that designate roadways being open for public travel in various modes, again to get to lands that we desire for outdoor recreation. All that said access is multi-dimensional and usage and meaning can take many forms for outdoorsmen and women; including the mode of travel and ability to enter or travel on.

        It almost seems easier to define access in terms of what it is not. Access is not placing boat launches 1/2 mile from a lake that is a great fishing spot so an elderly man and his granddaughter cannot get their boat to the water. Access is not when the state buys 20, 000 acres of land that has been a working forest with a good hardened road system and then closes all of the roads so it can’t be “entered “ for recreational purposes and access is not prohibiting motor vehicle use (trucks, jeeps and ATV’s ) so a hunter must walk 10 miles to a quality trout stream to fish or to a swamp to hunt deer.

        For sportsmen it is not about the hike, it is about getting to locations to hunt, fish and trap! We also often transport gear and game animals heavier than a man can physically handle and need motor vehicle “access” ( a suitable means) to accomplish this.

        Noun – A means of approaching or entering a place

        Verb – To approach or enter (a place)

        • Paul says:

          ATV’s are not permitted on DEC administered roads on Forest Preserve land so no matter the classification an ATV would be illegal to operate on the road.

  14. Todd Eastman says:

    Get rid of the dam…

    … paddling issue goes all moot!

    • Paul says:

      That would. It is also the sort of thing that would let a conspiracy theorists from the local towns who already doesn’t trust NYS know that he or she was right. That the state was just going to pull the plug later and the suggestion that this might actually attract a fair number of people was just a lie to get them to agree to a sale.

  15. Chuck Parker says:

    I contend that man is one of the elements of a sound ecology. We are not merely observers. If there is a naturally occurring forest fire it generally a means of nature correcting something that is an out of balance a situation that the stewardship of man should have addressed. You will find that many ecologist agree with this sentiment.

    Many of the roads on the Boreas Tract are constructed so well that tractor trailers with a load of logs can safely drive on them. They are more than suitable for your Subaru Outback or my Equinox.
    A 2.5 mile one way walk is just discriminatory for the reason so many have offered in this comment session. If you want to do the 2.5 mile walk, go for it, just step aside with the $1,500 canoe you are carrying while I politely drive by with my $200 garage sale Coleman Canoe. Maybe I will offer to carry you back pack for you.

    We all deserve to enjoy the marvels of our great lands and yes some of those marvels have been positively influenced by the impact of man. I don’t care if it is a disability or only limited opportunity do to various life commitments We all should have the opportunity for real access.
    Where are the conservationist and environmentalist of tomorrow coming form, if you keep shutting them out from the opportunity to enjoy today’s marvels of nature.

    • Dave says:

      The environmentalists of tomorrow will come from the same place the (real) environmentalists of today came from. Those who were lucky enough to experience and appreciate true wilderness… because those before them had the foresight to protect it as such.

      You don’t produce a passion for something by diminishing or weakening the experience. If you want the next generation to understand and value wilderness, driving them in the back of a mini-van to a crowded parking lot and saying “Look, Jimmy, wilderness!” is probably not the way to do it. Allowing them to explore and experience and understand a true wilderness, free of your artificial “stewardship,” and certainly without your car driving by them on the way, is certainly a better bet.

  16. Justin Farrell says:

    “I suspect the great majority who paddle our waters would not have the physical wherewithal to undertake such a portage, no matter what age.”

    A 2.5 mile walk along the fairly level roadway (even while carting a canoe/kayak & wearing a backpack) takes the average person about 45 minutes to 1 hour.
    There is absolutely nothing elite or extreme about that!

    • Paul says:

      What other designated canoe carries are 2.5 miles long? Just curious. I can’t think of any. Indian Carry (Upper Saranac to Stony Creek Ponds) is 0.6 miles and is listed as a 30 minute carry for an experienced paddler. Your carry is much faster! Plus in many cases you gotta go back and get other stuff.

      • Justin Farrell says:

        Hi Paul,
        I’m not sure about “Designated Canoe Carries”, but I once carried & carted a canoe to into Pharaoh Lake, which is 3.6 miles. Another time I carried a canoe into Pillsbury Lake, which is 3.1, and then out from Cedar Lakes which is 4.5 (I think). Another time was to Wilcox Lake, which is around 2.5 using the state trail from Harrisburg Lake Rd. The trail to Mitchell Ponds in the Moose River Plains is over 2 miles, and I once saw a couple guys carting in a rowboat there. How about Raven Lake in Pepperbox/5 Ponds area? I’m sure there are others that I’m forgetting at the moment, and I’m looking forward to carting my canoe into Boreas Ponds with some friends in a couple weeks. My point is that many people have the physical wherewithal if they are so inclined, contrary to what is being portrayed in this article. If you need two trips to carry in (& out) all of your gear then you should probably think about upgrading and/or downsizing your gear a bit, and by no means does that suggest that the portage to Boreas Ponds should be any shorter than it currently is. -Justin

        • Paul says:

          Thanks. Downsizing is one option. But I would like to see people with their kids in there exploring these places it isn’t just a matter of lighter gear. I have taken my two boys (when they were younger) all through the St. Regis canoe area and even with the shorter carries it is a major project. This place just seems to me to be a cool new paddling destination different from some of the others you describe.

          My guess is that the rowboat is still stashed illegally at that pond. Most Adirondack ponds have them if you know where to look!

          • Justin Farrell says:

            I hear you.
            For what it’s worth, the guys hauling in the rowboat (sideways) on their homemade rig had it down pat, and it was quite obvious that they’ve done it many times before judging from our short conversation. Again, many people do in fact have the physical wherewithal. Especially most children….well, maybe not so much anymore haha!

  17. Neil Luckhurst says:

    ” If there is a naturally occurring forest fire it generally a means of nature correcting something that is an out of balance a situation that the stewardship of man should have addressed.”
    There is no such thing as the “balance of nature”. The events that take place in what we call the natural world are essentially random. They just are. The ecology of Boreal Canada is a fire ecology. The Jack Pine is also called fire pine because it requires fire for the cones to open and release the seeds.

    Nature has nothing to “correct”. Energy flows through the system and creatures exploit that energy to survive and reproduce. There is nothing else. No balance, no corrections.
    This pithy (in my opinion) and anthropocentric “balance of nature” viewpoint, is congruent with many of the arguments presented in this discussion on both sides of the fence. We are not much concerned with the ecosystem in question but almost exclusively on we humans’ right to access it

    • Chuck Parker says:

      It is my opinion that man has the ability maybe even the charge to maintain a balance in nature. Your comment, “We are not much concerned with the ecosystem in question but almost exclusively on we humans’ right to access it” is subjective in nature. Man is part of the ecosystem. Using your terminology “right to access”, as long as we treat the ecosystem with respect using sound science and not just emotion we have as much right to access it as we do our own homes.

      • Todd Eastman says:

        What happens when “your science” is challenged by “my science”?

        Deferring to science as a default is a hollow tactic…

      • Dave says:

        “It is my opinion that man has the ability maybe even the charge to maintain a balance in nature.”

        This is the thinking that has guided artificial “management” of lands and wildlife for quite some time in our country, including right here in NY. Backed by a belief (sometimes religious in nature, though not always) that man has dominion over nature and it is our job to impose “balance.” This is why organizations like the one Chuck heads and represents tend to support things like hunting and trapping predator species – even when prey species are outrageously over populated. Because they feel it is OUR job to maintain natural balance… not, ya know, nature’s.

        This is an old school ideology that (if you are feeling generous) you could make the claim had its place at the turn of the 19th century… when public lands and wildlife were being decimated. Appealing to those who wanted to conserve those lands, even though they wanted to do so artificially and for their own personal use, was the only way to save them.

        But now, thanks to modern conservation biology, we know this is folly. Nature is much better at managing itself.

        • And (as I have said earlier) I find it odd that in the minds of many, we humans, who are unquestionably animals and utterly dependent on upon nature, should be left out of the equation to let nature do its own thing. Clearly, we do have an impact on nature (as do other animals) and if in our activities we do not consider how our behavior affects the rest of nature (just as how our social behavior affects our fellow humans) that effect can be negative. But it seems to me that the opportunity to spend time in nature is possibly the only antidote to our sense of being somehow separate from the rest of the natural world.

          • Dave says:

            We inhabit and have altered ecosystems over the vast majority of the planet. When we are part of the equation, as you put it, it is clear what the outcome is. You can see it by looking outside your window right now.

            Wilderness, however – when protected as true wilderness – is a chance for us to experience things when we are less a part of the equation. There is incredible value in that, don’t you think?

            That is all people are saying. They are not (at least not most of them, or any I know) saying lock humans out. They are just saying let’s set aside some special areas where we reduce, as much as possible, the impact of our presence, so we can experience and understand and gain an appreciation for how nature exists and manages itself.

            • And the ability of more than just a few to experience wilderness is what I am arguing for. I understand that large unbroken tracts of wilderness are valuable to wildlife. I also see access to a bit broader spectrum of users (within reason) as a value to human animals. What we are talking about is how to balance the two.

              Simply closing an area to motor vehicles won’t make it untouched wilderness again, not in 50 or even 75 years as someone suggested. I currently adopt the Scott Clearing Lean-to and the camping area at the old logging dam. In the 1880s it was the site of a logging operation that would have been conducted with teams of horses or oxen. To this day, despite the fact that it is not part of the overused portion of the High Peaks (I have replaced the register only once in last 14 years and the current one is only half full), evidence of the camp and the dam are clear. I’d willing wager that you will still be able to see evidence in another 130 years (although neither of us will be around to conclude the bet). I believe we can have part of the tract designed as wilderness and still have access via at least part of the existing road and I believe that would be a good thing for both the land and humans. You are free to disagree.

              • Boreas says:


                “And the ability of more than just a few to experience wilderness is what I am arguing for.”

                I think this is where many of us disagree with you. Many of us feel that a lot more than “just a few” people have access to our Wilderness areas. Many of us feel visitors to the Park have comparable if not more access to wilderness compared to other state and national parks. But I guess we will have to agree to disagree on that point.

                WRT your observations on Scott Clearing – yes many things may take centuries to eliminate. But keep in mind, wildlife don’t really recognize those items as man-made and fear them. As long as they don’t move or smell or make noise, they will bed right down in that clearing with rusty buckets and hardware lying about. I don’t really know why the state decided to leave that stuff there (probably just too much effort to remove) but I don’t feel it does a lot of harm at this point and may even be viewed as educational.

                • It is my understanding that the old Scott Clearing dam and lumber camp area is a listed historical site as well as being designated wilderness. Perhaps that is why the remains are left there. In any case, there are many ‘artifacts’ of prior human presence scattered in the wilderness from the airplane on Wright Peak to garbage heaps under shallow cover near lean-tos. There is a trash heap that was behind and to the right of the original Feldspar Lean-to. It is thinly covered with rotted leaves. etc. When I was the adopter there, I thought I might remove the trash a bit at a time until I realized the extent of it. I haven’t been back there in the last 8-10 years but I suspect it still remains and rangers have told me there are many others. They were common around lean-tos in the past. In addition to the airplane, there is are memorial plaques to the crew of the plane near a camping area on the way up the Algonquin trail before you get to the Wright turnoff. Three trees were planted there as well, trees native to each state the crew members were from. An older friend (now passed) told me about the site and I photographed it and wrote an article for Adirondack about it but it was never published. As far as I know, it is still there.

                  I strongly suspect that the interim plan *is* the plan, subject to tweaking after the public hearings. To those who want total wilderness designation, I suggest you start campaigning much more broadly than just commenting on this forum. You only 2-3 months to convince a majority, and to do that you will have to reshape your arguments to account for the objections of those who want all or part of the road open. The arguments here so far have not convinced me, but I am not your toughest target. Remember that the towns who agreed to the state purchasing the property on the premise that it would increase tourism. They would likely not be satisfied with a trickle of diehard canoers who are willing to undertake a 7-mile portage.

                  For myself, I am okay with the interim plan and perhaps it could be further restricted at some point in the future. Many of you are probably too young to remember when individuals could get a long-term lease on a campsite in the park. They were supposed to be tent sites but many got around that by building what were actually cabins with a floor, walls and rafters but instead of boards and shingles they stretched canvas over the rafters. Viola, a tent. Sort of, kind of. But It was “legal” and they existed for many years in the park. Changes of the sort you want to happen don’t happen suddenly. They take many, often many, many, many years. I really do sympathize with your vision of a restored wilderness but you have to take humans into account too. Like it or not, we are a part of the natural world and not only belong in it, we can’t exist without it, but telling people nature can exist without them is not a winning argument when they are paying for it.

                  • Boreas says:


                    I was unaware of the three trees near at the Wright crash site. But it has been so long since I was there I could have simply forgotten.

                    I am really OK with the interim plan. Ideally I would prefer to see the road closed and the dam breached, but practically, I can live with the interim plan (but am concerned about the horse/invasives issue). I suspect the main “Wilderness” people are working pretty hard on the BP issue. Oddly, they don’t seem to be commenting here – perhaps they don’t want to tip their hand. I don’t currently belong to any organizations – I am just a free-lance commenter.

                    • The memorial plaques and trees aren’t near the crash site. There is a camping area near a waterfall on the Algonquin trail before the Wright turnoff. The memorial is in the woods to the left and behind the camping area. It consists of 3 bronze plaques, one for each crew member, on metal stakes about 3-4 feet tall. I don’t know that any of the 3 trees are still there. Unless they were a variety totally foreign to the ADKs it would be difficult to tell them from the surrounding woods and if they were totally foreign to the ADKs there is a high probability that they would not have survived.

                    • Boreas says:


                      The last time I was there was decades ago in the winter with heavy snowfall. We actually camped near that spot. The plaques could have easily been buried under snow!

        • Paul says:

          If you want to default completely to science than the best thing for this tract is for is to be classified as CLOSED to human use. Kind of like POSTED for private land. It has sustained quite a lot of human use over the years, and seems to have fared quite well. The consensus seems to be that it is a gem. It has probably had more ‘use’ over the last two hundred years than it will have with whatever classification and public use it gets over the next few hundred years.

          • There is precedent for complete closure in some federal wildlife preserves, mainly breeding and nesting areas. They are simply fenced off and humans are prohibited from going there because they are deemed too fragile and too important to the survival of certain species. I don’t think anyone here is (or could) make such a case for the Boreas Ponds.

            • Paul says:

              Someone mentioned something about a threatened frog or something when they were discussing wildlife surveys for the ACR project in Tupper Lake. You never know ponds are great places for frogs!

          • Dave says:

            There are human activities that have little to no impact on nature, and there are those have a great deal of impact on nature.

            What modern conservation biology is showing us is that we can engage and be part of a natural ecosystem, without destroying it or feeling like we have to control and artificially manage it.

            It is not an all or nothing game.

            • Paul says:

              I totally agree. In fact this area has been actively logged for over one hundred years and it is in beautiful shape.

  18. Justin Farrell says:

    For anyone interested, please stay tuned for a GoPro video of how difficult the 2.5 mile portage to LeBier Flow, and on to Boreas Ponds is. 😉

  19. James Bullard says:

    So, anyone who is opposed to closing the entire road isn’t a *real* environmentalist? No judgementalism there.

  20. terry says:

    How about odd and even weeks for the road to be open all the way to the ponds.

  21. SLMPdefender says:

    So often, it seems the Anti-enviro crowd claims that there is no real wilderness anymore… “It’s all been cut-over, people have hunted there, this place had roads all over it.” They couldn’t be more correct.

    BUT wilderness is a man-made device! And that’s not a bad thing! Humans did invent the concept of Wilderness. The 1964 wilderness act…the state land master plan… these are man-made creations. But WOW… look what these man made creations have given us. I wouldn’t trade anything for these beautiful landscapes where man is a visitor who does not remain! What a gift to my grandchildren these lands will be. And SO SORRY to the anti-enviro crowd… but I believe you are outnumbered, dear friends!

    We made wilderness for a reason. Look at these disgusting cities and suburban sprawls. Wretched. These lands run contrary to the unfortunate day-to-day that most of us experience. Wilderness is a mirror for humans to look into and gain a better sense of themselves in the grand scheme of this planet and the universe. It’s the official “time-out” location… and I think that’s really nice.

    Join in the call for wilderness protection at Boreas Ponds! Tell Governor Cuomo, and tell your friends to tell Governor Cuomo, that WE WANT WILDERNESS!

  22. Westerly says:

    Lorraine, thanks for your essay. To you and others:

    Disclaimer: I have not been to the Boreas Ponds (yet). But, as has been pointed out before, why does everyone focus on the opportunity for paddling in this large tract? I understand the view is nice but this is a small body of water (less than a quarter the size of Lake Lila) with a dam which does not connect to other paddling destinations and does not have unique fishing opportunities. Assuming the road is not open all the way to the pond, I predict that not many people will bother to make the carry for a short paddle. It does not bother me either way, but it does seem to frame the discussion around carrying boats.

    It seems to me that the state’s initial policy should focus the discussion on bikes and horses.

    This is an area with miles of very well-established roads going deep into the Forest Preserve — might it not become a big draw for bicyclists and horseback riders? I would love to hear from the state and/or advocacy groups about the impact of bringing these so deep into the Preserve and close to the High Peaks Wilderness. Has this been studied? Are there other similar areas in the ADKs which have mountain biking and horse access on established roads, in an otherwise undeveloped region?

    I am uneducated about what this might mean for the tract, it’s ecology and the wider ecology of the region. Any thoughts? Am I off base here? Is this on the radar of the advocacy groups?

    • Boreas says:


      As far as I know, no actual studies have been done WRT horses and bikes on these roads. From a recent report, some of the smaller roads are actually somewhat overgrown and a plan to leave them be or repair them would likely depend on the parcel’s final classification.

      Personally, I am not as concerned about the biking on the roads as I am horses. My concern with horses are the invasive plant species that can be spread through feed and manure. It would be a shame if some noxious weed/plant species were introduced so deep into the parcel and close to the HPW.

    • The Moose River Plains Rd comes to mind. The annual Black Fly Race (bicycles) is held there. It is 23 miles through a very remote area (I don’t know the classification) with side roads to some ponds and the river.

    • Paul says:

      Since when are horses in the HPW a new thing? Have you guys ever been to the Adirondacks? Axton landing and the westerly approach for the HPW is very well set up for equestrian use. So horses have been going into the HPW there for a long time. That isn’t really anything new.

      • Boreas says:


        You are right. As a non-equestrian type I had forgotten about some of those trailheads since I never used them.

        Have there been any studies on invasive species there or anywhere in the Park? I guess that is my question. If much of BP is recently logged, could that give invasives a leg-up? I don’t know – I am just wondering if the research has been done before we introduce a problem we may not be able to fix.

        • Paul says:

          I don’t know. I was just pointing out that horses have been deep into the High Peaks Wilderness for many years w/o any big issues that I have heard of. You seemed to be giving people the impression here that it is some new concept. In fact at its peak there was a ranch over there with all sorts of guided rides into places like Cold River. Now it seems like not very many people are that interested in equestrian use of these areas (horses are expensive, especially to transport and maintain!). Also in these areas there is a lack of forage for horses so you have to bring food with you for them.

          Logging equipment can transport lots of invasive species. And they have been bringing that in and out of the Boreas Ponds for decades (and more). That threat is ending. Is there lots of invasive in there? I don’t know. I have too many places in the Adirondacks closer to home for me to visit so you will have to go in there for me and check it out.

          • Boreas says:


            It is possible that the Nature Conservancy did some environmental auditing before or after they bought the parcel – looking for endangered species, invasives, etc..

            • Paul says:

              They probably did since I know they do inventories on all of these parcels. They work with this program at the DEC:


              I think that if you are really interested and have the time you could request the data for this parcel. Good luck. Let me know if all those logging trucks and other motorized use of the parcel brought in any problems we should know about? If they didn’t it substantially weakens the argument that keeping a few miles of roads open for cars now is going to have much of an impact. But I am curious either way.

              • Boreas says:

                If I were retired, I’d love to work on some of that stuff. But that isn’t on my event horizon…

  23. Dennis Lee says:

    The two and a half mile stretch of road is an hour’s walk or so. So that is two hours total in and back out. It is not a very interesting stretch to walk which is too bad. When I get around to it, carting in my Kayak will be a bit of a struggle, it’s around 36 pounds, if I wanted to carry in camping gear, fishing gear and a little food I can imagine that with a kayak cart I would be pulling around fifty pounds. I walked in a week ago. I am struggling with a chronic case of Plantar Fasciitis so that walk took a toll on my foot. Of course that is my own problem but it would have been nice to have a shorter walk. The pond is beautiful as advertised. The idea of a bicycle cart is intriguing.

  24. Larry says:

    It seems to me that in reading through the comments, that all agree that we are willing to destroy the pristine state of Boreas. It’s just a matter of degree.
    The only thing that the entire ecosystem does not need is man. But that pristine state hasn’t existed for well over a hundred years.
    The area has already been compromised, and as matters now exist, access to it is already present. So isn’t the disagreement now centered around limiting that access?
    It’s now an argument over whose access is hindered. Do you want easy access to accommodate as many people who want to enjoy the experience?
    Or is the mere presence of humans offensive to what some view as their right to solitude? Who are the elitists here, those who want to exclude or create special rules for others who are not as young or fit, or those who want inclusion?
    The park belongs to all of us and planning organizations have an obligation to accommodate all of us by assuring that the rules we create make it a “level playing field” for all.

    • Paul says:

      “that we are willing to destroy the pristine state of Boreas”. What are you talking about? The place has a network of roads, has been heavily logged, has had buildings built on it…… How on earth is keeping one road open a little bit farther on any level akin to destroying a pristine state. It is pristine with all that stuff I mentioned and we are getting rid of most of it. That is destruction?

  25. kathy says:

    Boreas,not saying anything against your opinions but you could improve your empathy skills by trading in your mocassins once in awhile.
    Congratulations on being a relatively healthy,able bodied ,? no age related infirmities.
    You come off sounding a bit harsh on what you feel is the right way to keep the tract safe from the overuse of allowing unlimited access.
    It seems most land and water abuse is not created by advanced age or physical infirmities but by the young and able proving of point of physical fitness and hubris over respect.

    • Boreas says:


      It seems you aimed a little low and missed. I am well over 60 and can no longer hike due to arthritis. I am pretty much auto-bound except for short excursions. I have plenty of respect for people with infirmity. I am simply looking out for what is the best use of the parcel.

      • Jim S. says:

        If they make a “Boreas” cart I would be willing to wheel you in to the ponds.

      • kathy says:

        No Boreas I did leave a question mark there on my note re your physical status and I’m sorry you felt a lower gut pain…. and I took no issue with your stand on protecting the area. Not sure why I got the equation of opening the area to handicapped access would result in more damage than what foot,cart and bike travel could do. The human factor operates them all.
        Woodhull lake allows handicap access to Wolf Landing (not a sensitive area like the Boreas tract) and receives little use tho I understand a person (?)disabled damaged the gate to get in. The high peaks misuse /overcrowding also does not involve use by adults limited in physical abilities.
        So I would stand with you on the best protection is the least access but not dependent on physical abilities.

        • Boreas says:


          I must have misunderstood you. Certainly, if you open the gate for all to pass you will have much more traffic than if it were only open to people with mobility issues, as anyone could enter with their vehicle. (see comment to you below). No, I have no problem with access restricted to the mobility-challenged.

  26. kathy says:

    There are some canoe access areas that I bypass because the walk/carry is more than I want/can do but that is my decision not because it is closed to me by a regulation. If it is presented that unless I have the ability and or stamina to walk the access trail , it is closed to me because of my limitation then I will feel discriminated against.

    • scottvanlaer says:

      That is an interesting mindset. I have never once felt “discriminated” against because I don’t posses the physical ability or expertise to negotiate something in the outdoors. I can’t climb a 5.9, I can’t negotiate class V rapids. It’s like you are placing your expectations for “access” within a city into your expectations for access in the outdoor experience. I don’t understand that thought process. We are visitors there. It is not supposed to be a city, that is why we go there.

      • kathy says:

        Not sure you read me right ,perhaps tho discriminate was too strong a word. I certainly don’t want any part of a decision that would open up the area to widespread use and abuse but I’m not sure how that is a physical access use. Certainly it’s a risk factor if any human use is involved but allowing a vehicle with a handicap sticker is no more threatening than a mountain bike,hiker or boat cart.

        • Boreas says:


          Frankly in the various discussions of access to PB, the idea of leaving the gate open and requiring a handicap sticker/hang tag type permit at the terminus hasn’t really come up (at least that I remember). Probably because it would require much more stringent patrolling to be effective. But it is a possibility if a steward would be available at the parking area to monitor the situation and ticket offenders. It isn’t something a Ranger would have time for at current staffing levels. Possibly even solar powered cameras could monitor the lot for offenders (if there is such a thing). But I see it as an option to a gate-pass restriction that perhaps would be allowed by DEC at least on a trial basis.

          • kathy says:

            A meeting of the minds then. If I get to hike it at 2.5 miles to the ponds I will be happy and if I can’t bring my boat I’ ll deal with it.
            What a great job for a volunteer to hang out and check passes. Put me down for 1 day a month from may thru October. We should all try to protect these areas.

            • Boreas says:


              If you can walk that far you could probably pull a lightweight boat on a carrier with taller bicycle wheels. Especially with a partner. Might be worth a try.

      • kathy says:

        Class V,I assume you mean ww rapids rating and the other a climbing rating? Not exactly equated with a walk down a road since both above activities require specialized equipment and hopefully training. Access for some adults and children who cannot hope to see a “wilderness” area except by special permit. These individuals are the least likely to cause damage . They should have the same right as horse drawn wagons and mountain bike use. Me …I can make my own restrictions and do. I certainly do not favor open access to all vehicles and make it “a walk in a park” . Many areas with unlimited open access are trashed by the able bodied looking for private party spots or do not respect the area. They will carry in and leave the bottles,cans and litter when they are finished even if their vehicle is next to them.

        • Larry says:

          Kathy, you could be a voice of sanity on this list. Some of the comments exhibit the hubris of the writers and some are condescending if not downright ignorant, such as lecturing those with limitations that they should know their limitations and get used to them; not expect equal access.
          These people should spend an afternoon at a VA clinic and give them a stern lecture so that they truly learn their physical limits, as if they aren’t reminded of them every day.
          We can’t legislate what sort of people come into these areas and sometimes I wish we could. What we can do is see that rules are established, especially about litter. Fortunately, that issue can be resolved. Unfortunately, that involves spending more money and at that point, the excuses begin to pile up.
          We should remind ourselves that the Adirondack Park was created thanks to the support of down-state people, many of whom I am certain would not meet the “hale and hearty” criteria of those who would support separate but equal treatment.
          Perhaps Boreas should volunteer some time to screen all people who enter the area. Administer physicals to determine who is fit enough to enter, who has a hidden agenda, who is respectable and who is rift-raft, who is drinking or loud, and who truly appreciates wilderness.
          Yes, I’m being overly sarcastic, but I am tired of reading comments from these “true wilderness” advocates who want to lecture me about their idea of the wilderness experience. You want a true wilderness experience? Join the army, go to a place like Vietnam-that was my wilderness experience.
          So, now I’ll wait while Boreas decides what my true motivation is or my secret agenda is.

          • Boreas says:

            Oh, Larry, I decided a long time ago. But it doesn’t matter what I think of you or you me. We are just two people voicing our opinions.

            Plainly put, I don’t expect special treatment in the backcountry for my numerous physical limitations. I don’t feel I am entitled to any special treatment. I accepted a long time ago that limited mobility meant limited activities. Flyfishing and hiking have nearly all been severely curtailed for me. Most people do accept these things eventually. Aging isn’t something I recommend.

            In public buildings where people are expected to visit, I feel the ADA guidelines are certainly a good thing and I make sure I adhere to them in my practice setting. But I don’t see them being adapted to the backcountry. I think the DEC has been doing a good job of opening up access for people with limited mobility, and I’m happy to continue to let them decide how to improve this type of access at BP and other sites.

            • Larry says:

              Oh Please.
              Sorry you’re not entitled to any “special treatment”. Take an afternoon and visit a rehab at a local hospital and tell those men and women that they do not deserve to have the same access to publicly owned lands that you enjoy. Tell them you believe that the ADA act is fine for public buildings but not public land and tell them why they have to make special arrangements to enter that land, but you don’t.
              Inspire them with the story of how you have learned to live with your “limited mobility”. I’m sure that will be an inspiration to a guy who lost a leg in Iraq.

              • Boreas says:

                But according to you, I am entitled to special treatment. Or is this now a veteran vs. old age discussion? In healthcare, I try to help all the people I can. That’s why I do it. I work with veterans and disabled of all types.

                Continue to do your best to wrongly discredit and demean me and others to whatever groups you want to. It doesn’t make your argument any more valid and it isn’t going to change how the DEC plans their access to the backcountry. I have offered several compromise options, you have not. Trying to personally tear down people who disagree with you just makes you look desperate to win your argument.

                As a side, last week on a trail at Ausable Marsh I had an interesting discussion with a 10th Mtn. Div. vet who left both his legs overseas. He was using a non-motorized chair with flotation tires and was having a great time. He left his car at the gate.

                • Boreas says:

                  So Larry, since our dialog seems to be simply going in circles, I say we agree to disagree and stop hogging the bandwidth.

  27. Henrietta Jordan says:

    Hello, all: I think the comments on Lorraine’s op-ed may set an all-time record for posts. Obviously, a lot of us care very deeply about the fate of DEC’s latest acquisition in the ADKs. Many have mentioned the need for a study of the area. There actually is one, and it can be accessed at
    I will be interested in reading your reactions to it.

    • Boreas says:


      I skimmed through it tonight. I guess the take-home message of the article for me was that the scatter graph toward the end of the article (page 49) shows that it has more ecological characteristics of other existing Wilderness parcels as opposed to other SLMP classification types. I also noted the section (page 36) addressing growing concerns about ecological pressures from roads and tourism. Very interesting article. Thanks for the link!

  28. Todd Eastman says:

    Hayduke the dam!

  29. kathy says:

    Larry & Boreas (any relation)?
    I’m not advocating for my access. A portage longer than 1 mile is a hike for me and then if it’s too appealing I return with my boat maybe…
    My concern is for those people unable to do much more than leave their vehicle and enjoy the Boreas pond from shore or perhaps with help get into a canoe to be part of it even for a little while. That may distract the wilderness seeker who managed the walk in but bragging rights are not at stake are they?
    I’m still in favor of a volunteer corps to monitor if necessary a locked gate for permit access and I travel 2 1/2 hours to get to that area.
    I can’t help with the Boreas cart but I will carry your water.

  30. Chuck Parker says:

    You got to be kidding me as of 9-15-16, around noon, 151 comments. I can’t follow for sure who is on which side of the fence, and I don’t have time to figure it out. I do appreciated hearing from those that promote greater access (my bias). If you go with wild forest classification you can place or relax restrictions as necessary, through the UMP process so the land is protected and maximum access is afforded to all of us, regardless of ability. No one has any idea of how much these Boreas Ponds land will be visited. Look at the Essex Chain lands they have already lesson camping registration and open a gate for closer fishing access. Why do you think that practice was changed? It wasn’t from over usage.

  31. Todd Eastman says:

    Lets call them what they are…

    … the Boreas Reservoirs…

  32. Madeline Duffy says:

    Hi Lorraine,
    Enjoyed your article on Boreas and the dilemma of access options. I live near Philadelphia, PA and grew up in Schenectady, NY – enjoying the Adirondacks. We spend a week every year in the High Peaks region with our family and friends. We are in our late 50’s and have done several peaks and many hikes. I am so very interested in having the distinct pleasure of paddling there — hopefully summer of 2017. I watched a You Tube video of two guys hiking back there with canoes and yes, I think access for people who would be stressed carrying a kayak or canoe in 5 miles roundtrip – (which is better than 12-14 miles), would be challenging.
    It occurs to me that this is a perfect scenario for a business venture. People need jobs and income and paddlers need help getting their boats in & out — especially if they do not paddle often enough to own their own portable equipment.
    How about guides/interns of some type who could pull canoes back in with dollies or carts or something of that nature? It would be low impact, facilitate people to people experiences which the world needs a lot more of given the saturation of phones, technologies and heads down postures….so frequently seen in society.
    Or a local business venture outside the Boreas property who rents something to use to pull boats in and out…
    We, too, have walked in and out of Great Camp Santanoni which was really enjoyable but we would not have enjoyed the scenario that you mention in your article.
    Thank you for your thoughts. I will look forward to reading your book(s).

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