Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Towns Campaign For Motorized, Bike Access At Boreas Ponds

North Hudson and four nearby towns have launched a website and petition drive to muster support for classifying Boreas Ponds as Wild Forest instead of Wilderness, the designation supported by Forest Preserve advocates.

Called Access the Adirondacks, the website says the 20,758-acre Boreas Ponds Tract has a network of former logging roads and is suitable for a variety of recreational uses, including mountain biking, horseback riding, and snowmobiling.

“While some would have you believe the Boreas Ponds Tract is a unique ecological jewel untouched my man, nothing could be further from the truth,” the site says.

In addition to many miles of logging roads, the tract also has two dams – one at LaBier Flow, an impoundment of the Boreas River, the other at the Boreas Ponds outlet.

“The pond, while serene and beautiful, is not at all natural; rather it was created years ago by a large concrete dam at the outlet of a swamp …,” the site says. “Ironically, some of the groups advocating for a wilderness classification also believe the dam, and road to it, should remain and be maintained in the future. Go figure!! While we agree the dam and road should remain, both are further justification of a wild forest classification.”

Boreas Ponds lies in the town of North Hudson. Supervisor Ron Moore argues that that a Wild Forest classification would allow more kinds of recreation and thus boost tourism.

Access the Adirondacks runs counter to the campaign of BeWildNY, a coalition of environmental groups, to push for the more restrictive Wilderness classification. Motor vehicles, snowmobiles, and bicycles are prohibited in Wilderness Areas.

The five towns – North Hudson, Newcomb, Minerva, Indian Lake, and Long Lake – have set forth a plan aimed at maximizing access and recreational opportunities on the tract. Several of the proposed uses are not allowed in Wilderness regulations, including:

  • Bicycling on logging roads around Boreas Ponds and to White Lily Pond. This would include fat-tire bikes that can be ridden on snow.
  • Snowmobiling on the same route.
  • Electric boats on Boreas Ponds.
  • A parking area for six to ten cars at Boreas Ponds. At least four of the car spaces would be for the disabled. An overflow parking area would be located near LaBier Flow.
  • Parking by permit near the ponds for guides and their clients.
  • Seasonal motorized access for hunting and trapping.

Other proposals from the towns include holding bicycle races, ski races, and dogsled races on the tract; developing new trails to Allen Mountain and Mount Marcy; maintaining views at the site of a former lodge overlooking Boreas Ponds; allowing yurts on the property as part of a hut-to-hut network; and grooming cross-country-ski and snowmobile trails.

Even under the towns’ plan, most of the Boreas Ponds Tract would be designated Wilderness. The big difference from the plan endorsed by BeWildNY is that the ponds themselves and the land immediately adjacent would be designated Wild Forest. Also, all of Gulf Brook Road, a dirt road leading from County Route 84 to the ponds, would be Wild Forest.

The future use of the 6.8-mile Gulf Brook Road is a major question facing state officials who must decide how to classify and manage the Boreas Ponds Tract.

Under the plans of both Access the Adirondacks and BeWildNY, anyone could drive as far as LaBier Flow, about a mile from the ponds. Unlike the towns, BeWildNY would not allow the disabled, guides, or anyone else to drive all the way to the ponds. A new organization, Adirondack Wilderness Advocates, argues that the entire road should be closed to motor vehicles. The state’s interim access plan splits the difference, allowing people to drive 3.2 miles up to road. From there they must walk or bike the remaining 3.6 miles to the ponds.

Access the Adirondacks also is calling for a Wild Forest classification for two other recently acquired parcels – MacIntyre East and MacIntyre West. Both are located near Tahawus on the edge of the High Peaks Wilderness.

“Like Boreas Ponds, the Macintyre Tracts have an extensive network of roads previously used for logging,” the towns say on the website. “These roads on both tracts will make excellent trails for snowmobiles, bicycles and equestrian riders. They require no tree cutting and will last indefinitely with only routine maintenance.”

BeWildNY wants all of MacIntyre West and most of MacIntyre East added to the High Peaks Wilderness.

The state purchased Boreas Ponds and the MacIntyre tracts from the Nature Conservancy as part of a multi-year deal to acquire 65,000 acres formerly owned by Finch, Pruyn & Company. Most of the acreage lies within the five towns behind Access the Adirondacks.

The Adirondack Park Agency is expected to decide next year how to classify the lands. Once that decision is made, the state Department of Environmental Conservation will draft a management plan for the lands, which requires APA approval.

Photo by Phil Brown: White Lily Pond on the Boreas Ponds Tract.

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Phil Brown is the former Editor of Adirondack Explorer, the regional bimonthly with a focus on outdoor recreation and environmental issues, the same topics he writes about here at Adirondack Almanack. Phil is also an energetic outdoorsman whose job and personal interests often find him hiking, canoeing, rock climbing, trail running, and backcountry skiing. He is the author of Adirondack Paddling: 60 Great Flatwater Adventures, which he co-published with the Adirondack Mountain Club, and the editor of Bob Marshall in the Adirondacks, an anthology of Marshall’s writings.Visit Lost Pond Press for more information.

80 Responses

  1. Penn L. Hoyt says:

    Excellent to see that the people who reallly live and work in the area are getting together and making their voices known! Good work Access the Adirondacks! Keep tellilng the truth.

    • Mariposa says:

      I am a resident in one of those towns, attend many board meetings and interact with local officials and this is the first time I am hearing about this effort. That leads me to believe that the Towns are only the cover for the initiative–who is really pushing this access?

  2. Paul says:

    “Wilderness, the designation supported by Forest Preserve advocates”

    You can be a “Forest Preserve advocate” and not support a wilderness designation in this case. The Forest Preserve has lots of land that is not classified as Wilderness? Don’t you mean something like “major environmental groups” rather than claiming they are the only Forest Preserve advocates?

  3. Paul says:

    Wait a minute one of the partner organizations is a part of the APA (local govt review board). How can this state funded organization be a partner with this group?

  4. Chuck Parker says:

    How convenient you give two links to pro wilderness classifications websites and nothing related to, “North Hudson and four nearby towns have launched a website and petition drive to muster support for classifying Boreas Ponds as Wild Forest instead of Wilderness, the designation supported by Forest Preserve advocates” that was the basis of this article. I guess some might call this an objective article most wouldn’t but some might. To infer that all Forest Preserves advocates don’t believe in a Wild Forest approach at times is equally misleading.

    • John Warren says:

      The link you claim is not there, is in the second sentence. Some groups are calling for parts of the larger Boreas Ponds Tract to be classified Wild Forest, not the Ponds themselves.

    • Paul says:

      Chuck slow down – take it easy. Like John says the link is there right at the top. Why do you think that this site would even give this group “air” time if they were as biased as you claim.

  5. Justin Farrell says:

    No thanks.

  6. Boreasfisher says:

    Just to be clear Mr Hoyt, many people who “really live and work in the area” are in favor of classifying most of this tract as Wilderness in the belief that longterm protection of this property is the key to saving local economies.

    • Paul says:

      Can you explain?

      • Boreasfisher says:

        Paul, are you asking me? Resources that are properly protected from overuse are what makes the place special, and what keeps the tourists coming. The argument that the Boreas Ponds are not really “wilderness” is a little silly frankly, and beside the point. A tragic failure in fact of basic logic.

        It would be nice to have some acknowledgment of the science of resource management in these discussions. That seems to me what the Forest Preserve organizations are arguing for….an elusive balance of course, but a view toward to long term preservation of resources. BeWild is an apt characterization.

        • Bruce says:


          There has been ample evidence presented in the last few discussions about the HPW that you need more than a Wilderness designation to draw in people (mountain peaks anyone?) Do you believe busloads of Canadians or anyone else, (Boy Scout Troop excepted) will come if it’s all classified Wilderness with nothing but foot access from Blue Ridge Rd?

          Another side of the coin is it’s not about what the locals want, they and their money are already here, with whatever economic effect that has. It’s about what will draw in people from elsewhere, and convince them to spend their money in the Adirondacks.

          I believe a part Wild Forest with access, and part Wilderness is an excellent compromise, and is entirely in keeping with the idea it’s a man-made landscape to begin with.

          • Boreasfisher says:

            I agree that a compromise is needed, but the devil is in the details. What the towns are proposing will lead to further degradation of the property and destruction of wild resources. To say in justification that this is not wilderness in its current state so let’s just open it to all forms of access is to misunderstand the argument for environmental protection.

    • Dan says:

      I’m curious if the towns all voted on and passed resolutions officially offering their support. I’m assuming they did and, if so, their position represents the residents of their communities.

      • Mariposa says:

        Nope on the votes and solicitation of support in the communities..

        • Boreasfisher says:

          They absolutely did not. They also did not consult with people who own property adjacent to these purchases which as a resident of North Hudson I find rather scandalous.

    • Joe says:

      Some locals favor wilderness, some favor other classifications…..same as always. WRT the logged over roaded land you are right it will recover but that is true of all land everywhere. An empty city lot will recovereceive too.

      I think telling a tourist to come visit new wilderness, then having them experience cut over forest and walking on roads could be taken as deceptive advertising. It is want it is. They will not be aware of any classification legal definitions. They will go by their experience. Disappointing use of the Essex Chain may have something to do with this issues as well.

  7. Todd Eastman says:

    This is exactly why the towns opinions in setting planning decisions in the Park are considered a sideshow…

    … and not taken seriously.

  8. Justin Farrell says:

    Just picture in your mind electric motors through the weeds in the article photo, with people fishing for bass that have been illegally introduced.

  9. scottvanlaer says:

    I don’t profess to work in marketing but if I stood to benefit financially from recreational users, who ostensibly, I am trying to convince to come to the Boreas and enjoy the wild and scenic land, I don’t think I would say this…“While some would have you believe the Boreas Ponds Tract is a unique ecological jewel untouched my man, nothing could be further from the truth,”

  10. scottvanlaer says:

    Although this comment…”The pond, while serene and beautiful, is not at all natural; rather it was created years ago by a large concrete dam at the outlet of a swamp …,” is pure marketing genius! That will draw in the masses!

  11. Jan Hansen says:

    In addition to the spectacular views that one encounters when you reach both LaBier Flow and the dam at the Ponds, the silence really makes an impression on you. Absolute silence. It is wonderful. It is Wilderness.
    Allow vehicles into that area and there goes the silence, here comes the noise, the trash and those seeking the “Griswald” vacation experience.

  12. Chris says:

    I have been carefully watching the debate of land classification but do not personally understand why it should be wilderness without a plan to removing the two dams and roads. This should be integral to the classification process and stated in the future objectives of the land. As a refresher, the state definition of wilderness is:

    Wilderness: A wilderness area, in contrast with those areas where man and his own works dominate the landscape, is an area where the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man–where man himself is a visitor who does not remain. A wilderness area is further defined to mean an area of state land or water having a primeval character, without significant improvement or permanent human habitation, which is protected and managed so as to preserve, enhance and restore, where necessary, its natural conditions, and which (1) generally appears to have been affected primarily by the forces of nature, with the imprint of man’s work substantially unnoticeable;…….

    The lodge has already been removed. If the land is classified as wilderness, the dams (ponds) should have a plan to be removed since they are man-made. The ponds are the primary draw and will result in fire rings/camping/garbage along the shores (from deplorable paddlers) as well as aquatic invasive species. The best way to preserve this region for future generations is to remove the dams now. As a minimum, the state land classification should be Primitive.

    Many people believe this should be wilderness with the dams retained and various levels of access for humans. I believe this is self-serving since they want to retain their own personal playground (based on their fitness ability) and try to exclude other less capable from canoeing and kayaking in the ponds.

    I am a 32 year member of the Adirondack Mountain Club, but I am also a mountain biker. I have spent many days off-trail and have seen true primeval wilderness in the Adirondacks. This is not wilderness. Maybe in 100 years when the dams and roads are gone, but not now.

    • Jim S. says:

      Do you enjoy riding your mountain bike on old logging roads?

    • scottvanlaer says:

      The “road” I believe, is similar in character to the hundreds of other miles of “roads” that once existed in the HPWA. If the vehicle traffic is stopped it will no longer be a “road” it will be a trail. Hikers in the High Peaks currently hike a lot of trails that were once roads.

      The HPWA had many dams as well and still has one functioning dam at Lake Colden. Most were allowed to deteriorate and then were not replaced although maintenance was and has been done. The UMP was written in such away to give flexibility and have it both ways, if you will, in regards to dams.

      The short coming of all these discussions regarding classification is that we are talking about a decision that is likely forever yet we can’t get past our human biased time frame. Do parts of this tract show mans presence? Of course! However, I believe it in it’s current state is less impacted than much of the land that currently makes up the HPWA when it was added to the Forest Preserve. We need to consider beyond what is there now and even our lifetime and consider centuries if not further ahead. It is the missing puzzle piece to the High Peaks Wilderness complex and should added.

    • Scott says:

      In NYS wilderness is often wilderness in name only, old roads and dams, leantos and outposts etc.

  13. Bicycles should not be allowed in any natural area. They are inanimate objects and have no rights. There is also no right to mountain bike. That was settled in federal court in 1996: http://mjvande.info/mtb10.htm . It’s dishonest of mountain bikers to say that they don’t have access to trails closed to bikes. They have EXACTLY the same access as everyone else — ON FOOT! Why isn’t that good enough for mountain bikers? They are all capable of walking….

    A favorite myth of mountain bikers is that mountain biking is no more harmful to wildlife, people, and the environment than hiking, and that science supports that view. Of course, it’s not true. To settle the matter once and for all, I read all of the research they cited, and wrote a review of the research on mountain biking impacts (see http://mjvande.info/scb7.htm ). I found that of the seven studies they cited, (1) all were written by mountain bikers, and (2) in every case, the authors misinterpreted their own data, in order to come to the conclusion that they favored. They also studiously avoided mentioning another scientific study (Wisdom et al) which did not favor mountain biking, and came to the opposite conclusions.

    Those were all experimental studies. Two other studies (by White et al and by Jeff Marion) used a survey design, which is inherently incapable of answering that question (comparing hiking with mountain biking). I only mention them because mountain bikers often cite them, but scientifically, they are worthless.

    Mountain biking accelerates erosion, creates V-shaped ruts, kills small animals and plants on and next to the trail, drives wildlife and other trail users out of the area, and, worst of all, teaches kids that the rough treatment of nature is okay (it’s NOT!). What’s good about THAT?

    To see exactly what harm mountain biking does to the land, watch this 5-minute video: http://vimeo.com/48784297.

    In addition to all of this, it is extremely dangerous: http://mjvande.info/mtb_dangerous.htm .

    For more information: http://mjvande.info/mtbfaq.htm .

    The common thread among those who want more recreation in our parks is total ignorance about and disinterest in the wildlife whose homes these parks are. Yes, if humans are the only beings that matter, it is simply a conflict among humans (but even then, allowing bikes on trails harms the MAJORITY of park users — hikers and equestrians — who can no longer safely and peacefully enjoy their parks).

    The parks aren’t gymnasiums or racetracks or even human playgrounds. They are WILDLIFE HABITAT, which is precisely why they are attractive to humans. Activities such as mountain biking, that destroy habitat, violate the charter of the parks.

    Even kayaking and rafting, which give humans access to the entirety of a water body, prevent the wildlife that live there from making full use of their habitat, and should not be allowed. Of course those who think that only humans matter won’t understand what I am talking about — an indication of the sad state of our culture and educational system.

    • Robert says:

      Are you the same Mike Vandeman, Ph.D. and anti-mountain bike extremist, who was charged with assault, battery and vandalism after attacking several mountain bikers in California? And found guilty on half the charges?

    • Bruce says:


      Part of the problem consists of how mountain bikers are being defined, and the fact that folks who will ride good gravel roads but do not go off road are being lumped in the same category (myself included). I agree that “mountain bikers” who ride off road do damage the landscape, but everyone who wants to ride the roads in question are not mountain bikers and are perfectly happy keeping to the roads. I believe a distinction between the two forms of bicycling needs to be made.

      • Yes, you are not a mountain biker, but a road biker. However, for road biking, you need a road bike. Mountain bikes are not efficient.

        And remember that the same laws of physics (erosion) and biology (disturbance of animals) apply to dirt roads and dirt trails….

    • Bob Rainville says:

      He hasn’t changed his trite ramblings at all in years. Same old word for word sound bytes. Just google his name and see what a balanced individual you have in your midst. Here’s a gem from the past:

      The Psychology of Mountain Biking

      Michael J. Vandeman, Ph.D.

      January 24, 2000

      “Violence does not live alone and is not capable of living alone: I is necessarily interwoven with falsehood. Between them lies the most intimate, the deepest of natural bonds. Violence finds its only refuge in falsehood. … Any man who has once acclaimed violence as his method must inexorably choose falsehood as his principle.” Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

      For a psychologist, mountain biking is a fascinating phenomenon.


      The first thing one notices about mountain bikers is that they lie continually! For someone from my generation, raised to tell the truth at all times, this is puzzling. Surely, they must know that everyone, at least all those who aren’t mountain bikers, can easily see through them! For example, Oakland Councilwoman Nancy Nadel caught Eric Muhler, President of the Bicycle Trails Council of the East Bay, publicly claiming that mountain biking in Joaquin Miller Park has caused hardly any erosion! One look at Alec Karp’s photographs of the park is all it would take to know that he was lying. Similarly, the vice president of ROMP (“Responsible Organized Mountain Pedalers”), Patty Ciesla, was caught red-handed building an illegal trail.

      Their favorite lie, of course, is that land managers who ban off-road biking are banning mountain bikers. Actually, it is only their bikes that are banned! It would be impossible to ban mountain bikers even if we wanted to, since they don’t look different from anyone else.

      And they aren’t doing their already rotten image much good. Since none of them ever admit lying, we can only guess at their motivation. The best that I have been able to come up with is that they don’t believe that they can justify their selfish, destructive sport except by lying. Well, … yes, of course! Since mountain biking destroys wildlife habitat, drives away wildlife and other trail users, and benefits only the mountain bikers, it is hard to see how anyone can justify allowing mountain biking in any natural area.

      Similarly, it is hard to explain why land managers lie so frequently, when asked why they allow mountain biking. For example, a ranger at China Camp State Park told me that mountain biking is causing “no erosion”. An equestrian familiar with the park then told me that the bikers were “turning the trails into powder”! I guess that the land managers are afraid to admit that they have allowed political pressure — or, in some cases, free trail maintenance provided by the mountain bikers — to cloud their better judgment.

      Mountain Biking as an Addiction

      Recently I suddenly realized why this pattern seemed so familiar: they act exactly like the drug addicts that I knew when I worked with Synanon Foundation! They demonstrate the same willingness to take enormous risks, just to continue their “habit”. They risk their image, their job, their relationships, their freedom, even their life, just to continue seeking the ultimate “high”. Many subscribe to mountain biking mailing lists at work, risking losing their job. Thousands risk arrest and fines for riding illegally or even building illegal trails on public and private land. The “Sedona Five” took advantage of a temporary closure of Grand Canyon National Park to ride down the North Kaibab Trail, which is closed to bikes (and got arrested). Taking serious risks to continue a habit of doubtful value is the best indicator of a true addiction. In mountain biking newsgroups they exchange stories about their latest “high” (riding “sweet singletrack”), with extra points given for experiences that were dangerous, illegal, or both.

      When caught riding on trails closed to bikes, in my experience, they lie (“I didn’t know it is closed” — but they don’t offer to leave!), threaten (“I’m going to bust your head”), and even physically attack whoever tells them to leave the closed area (one biker rode back up the trail, turned around, and then rode into the guy who had told him the trail is closed, as fast as he could, knocking him bloody). That is a lot of risk to take, just in order to ride one trail illegally! And a good sign that they are addicted. Indeed, many of them, in their discussions on the Internet, describe mountain biking as an “addiction”.

      Mountain Biking as an Image Enhancer

      Another psychological factor, of course, is the image boost that the sport and its accoutrements give to rebellious young people, just as racing bikes did for an earlier generation (hardly any of whom actually raced!). The knobby tires and “hardened” frames clearly say “I’m tough. Don’t cross me!” The names attached to the bikes and tires (“Velociraptor”, “Omega-Bite”, “Incisor”) reinforce that image, as do the photos in mountain bike magazines of bikers flying through the air (getting “big air”). These bikes are clearly intended to indicate that they will help you “conquer nature” (while, ironically, actually insuring that you will have even less contact with that nature, due to their speed, lack of contact with the ground, and suspension systems!).


      Closely related to image is their narcissism: they apparently have no awareness of, or interest in, the welfare or feelings of the wildlife and people around them. Hikers who are young or elderly, and are afraid of being hit, are ignored or termed “unreasonable”. People who say that they go to parks to experience peace and tranquility, and to get away from all signs of civilization, are called “selfish”. Mountain bikers want to ride on trails that are as narrow as possible — exactly the trails that are too narrow to accommodate both bikers and other trail users!

      Cognitive Dissonance

      Yet another factor explaining their insistence on biking at all costs, even at the risk of getting arrested, is embodied in the psychological term “Cognitive Dissonance”: after spending often more than $3000 for their bike, it would be very embarrassing and upsetting if they had nowhere to ride it!

      Perhaps this explains why, after years of talking about how they are going to put an end to the erosion damage, illegal riding, and illegal trail building in Joaquin Miller Park, the mountain bikers are continuing all of those activities unabated.


      All land management plans are evaluated by a single criterion: do they provide “sweet” (attractive), “technical” (difficult to ride) “singletrack” (narrow trails)? The President could be about to designate a million acres of new wilderness, but they don’t care. All they care about is “will I be allowed to mountain bike there?” (in wilderness, no).


      Why ride a bike, when you can walk? Only because you can get to your destination a lot faster and with a lot less energy. In spite of their muscular, “hard-body” appearance, mountain bikers are lazy! “People who must ride on sumthin’ to get into the back country are essentially lazy” (Larry Kralj).

      Bad Role Modelling

      Mountain biking also provides very bad role modeling for our children. Whether or not a bike is ever ridden off-road, any child looking at one will get the impression that it is used to tear up wildlife habitat, and that this is okay.


      Mountain bikers claim to want just what we all want — the experience of nature in all her pristine glory. However, the very fact that they ride on a bike denies them that experience! They move too fast to truly experience what they are seeing. They have to pay attention to their “driving”, to avoid crashing. They are insulated from feeling the ground by distance, tires, and expensive suspension systems. And they (in common with other trail users, of course, although to a much greater degree) destroy nature in the very act of “appreciating” it.

      • Why would I change it, since it’s still true. Mountain bikers can’t stand to have anyone tell the truth about their selfish, destructive sport! They personally attack anyone who does.

  14. Rob Gdyk says:

    I’ve supported a compromise for classification of Wild Forest because I am a disabled veteran who has handicap difficulty limitations on getting to the Boreas Ponds – especially with a canoe.

    • scottvanlaer says:

      With all do respect, this is an honest and sincere question and I hope I don’t offend you. Did you ever consider the greater good beyond your own personal desire for recreation in this tract? The fact that 100’s of other roadside paddling options are available to you doesn’t have any affect on your opinion? Are you CP3 eligible? When we consider give and take, balance and look at the park as a whole, from a landscape level management strategy, what is lacking is wild and remote places. We have a lot of back yard mountains, brooks and ponds with easy access. I am interested in your opinion because on these forums, the hyper focus on the classification of 20,000+ acres seems to be on how far one has to carry a boat.

      • JoeB says:

        In defense of Mr Godyk and since Mr Vanlaer could not say it I will. Thank you for your service…Mr Vanlaer. have the Gorp eating people ever consider the greater good beyond their own personal desire. There are also plenty of places the peace seeking people can go to find wilderness areas. Its selfish people like you Mr. Vanlaer who don’t take into the consideration of others who may not have the opportunity to explore other parts of the Adirondacks due to inaccessibility due to health or physical abilities such as Mr Godyk. Do you like to explore different areas of the Adirondacks Mr Vanlaer ? Im sure you do. The Boreas Ponds area is the perfect opportunity to provide access for those who otherwise would not be able to enjoy the beautiful landscape . To classify some as wild forest to provide this access and some as wilderness so people like yourself can enjoy the peace and quiet seems like a good compromise to me. We reclassify the top of some mountains so we can keep the fire towers even though they were classified as wilderness…oh yeah. I thought all man made structures in a “wilderness ” area were supposed to be removed. Hmmm. The roads are already there so what is the harm in classifying that area as wild forest to provide a trail link for snowmobiles, to have dog sled races , to provide mountain biking and to provide access for those with disabilities so those like Mr Godyk can enjoy this beautiful area. It would be a win win for all and not just for a special interest group. By the way Mr. Vanlaer. I am a hiker, kayake and cross country skier and enjoy getting into the woods to enjoy the peace but I am also a snomobiler and understand that there are others who are not able to do what we can without a way to access the areas. A snowmobile will provide them access in the winter and a can in the summer. Think about those people Mr. Godyk before your ” own personal desire for recreation in that tract” .

        • scottvanlaer says:

          Thank you for responding, while I did not ask you specifically perhaps your perspective is the same. I was fearful in posing the question that he would be offended by my asking. I can see you were and I am sorry for that. I do like Gorp, I do enjoy drive up access for recreational opportunities. I do like balance and I think we are lacking that in the Adirondacks. There are very few remote places. By greater good I meant for the environment, I see I should have predicated that in my statement. Again, I can tell from your tone I really offended you and I apologize for that. I am interested in hearing all perspectives, avoiding ad hominem attacks and having a discussion.

          • Paul says:

            Scott you see a lack of balance? Forest Preserve land in the Adirondacks is pretty close to half Wilderness and half Wild Forest. Both designations that are pretty restrictive. The only people that should not see balance are those that think it is unfair that other classifications basically cover just a tiny fraction of the public land in the park (don’t count me with them). How many miles or roads on this tract are they not opening up to public use that will revert to the trails you describe? What do they want to keep open even in the most extreme case 6 or 7 miles? This is 20,000 acres. Over 13 square miles people can’t find solitude there w/o having all this shut down to only foot travel access?

            • scottvanlaer says:

              Yes, there are very few remote motor free areas in the Adirondacks. The GIS data I saw recently showed only 5% of the Adirondacks are more than 3 miles from a public road. You are well informed and familiar with the Adirondacks. The opportunities for paddlers to access road side waterways is incredible and I am glad we are afforded those options.

              This tract is the missing puzzle piece in the Greater High Peaks Complex. The other lack of balance in the decision making process is that we can’t seem to break away from our dominion over the land. There seems to be little recognition of what is best for the environment and protecting the resource. Instead we are focused on how far the carry for a boat will be. Having cars drive 6 or 7 miles interior will have a significant negative ecological impact. There is sufficient data regarding the impact of roads and to the integrity of the Boreas tract itself, that hopefully, at some point, someone will recognize there are other considerations besides how far we have to carry a boat.

              • Bruce says:

                Scott Vanlear,

                Based on what I just read in the “APA to hold public meetings on Boreas Ponds” article, the environmental groups cannot agree on what level of access is “best.” If they can’t agree, how does the public at large know what is really best? Whose opinion do we go with?

                • It’s not rocket science, it’s simple: what is best for the wildlife: NO HUMANS! Then minimize human disturbance (allow walking only).

                  • Bruce says:


                    Do you consider building hiking trails, bridges, boardwalks and lean-tos as “minimizing the disturbance?” As you said, no humans are what is best for wildlife. A trail has already been proposed by one environmentalist to shorten the walk from the road to the ponds. Let the hikers use the roads, they’re already there and go to where they need to.

                • scottvanlaer says:

                  I honestly don’t see a lot of difference between the BeWildNY coalition and the 5 towns plan from a resource protection or economic advantage stand point as both provide for road access into the interior and a remote trailhead that will have people just driving past the town without stopping.

                  Very few people will mountain bike this area unless single track trails are created. The debate over their use on old logging roads is more of an existential one and that debate is lost to me if you are allowing cars to drive to or nearly to the ponds. Same can be said for electric motors vs muscle power on the water.

                  I imagine it will go similar to the Essex Chain with a presentation of several alternatives for public consumption and debate. Since all of the green groups (I personally don’t like to include a hiking club in that classification but I know the press does) except the newly formed AWA are presenting plans that promote motor vehicle use interior maybe the debate will not be that contentious. I doubt that.

        • Jim S. says:

          My wife has extreme back problems and is considered to be handicapped. She qualifies to have the handicap tag on her licence plates. There is no way she could hike the entire road into Boreas Ponds.I believe she could hike in from where the trailhead is currently. We have discussed this issue quite a bit and she would love to visit the area. We both firmly believe the most important thing to do is protect the place as wilderness. She loves the Adirondacks and the idea of protecting it. It would be a shame if she can’t go there. It is a shame that she can’t walk for long distances. Life is not fair and you can’t make it fair. The preserve could gain a wonderful asset and that is more important to us. I can understand why some people don’t want to be excluded.

      • Rob Gdyk says:

        For argument sake of true wilderness preservation, loving stewardship, I for one initially felt the Boreas Ponds should be off limits to ALL human traffic, turned back over to the Nature Conservancy so that it would be forever wild. Was that not enough consideration for the greater good? Afterwards, I discovered a few wilderness advocates argued that Gulf Brook Road should be closed in its entirety but be allowed to revert back to a footpath in order to accommodate only the most physically fit users who can experience the spirit of wilderness that is present in wilderness areas. They claim to only want to protect wilderness – and don’t want to keep me or anyone else out. When I expressed my view of them exhibiting antisocial behavior, the reply was that labeling them only is a tactic that attempts to make this an “us vs them” argument. Well, isn’t it? The more important and substantive discussion on the importance of conserving the natural world and how a road impacts that falls entirely flat on it’s merits once a proposal to prohibit all human traffic was ruled out. Then there is another issue – Funds for the $14.5 million purchase came from the state’s Environmental Protection Fund. That cash came from “traditional funding sources,” according to the governor’s own press office. Would it be only fair to request then on behalf of those handicapped residents who helped pay for the tract from tax increases for Gulf Brook Road to remain open? Since you also asked, I am CP3 eligible but I have no idea how to get DEC to open the locked gate to allow entry/exit with that permit.

        • scottvanlaer says:

          Thank you for responding. That is interesting that you had an all or nothing opinion. No human traffic or a road, Nothing in between. If you are allowed and do utilize your permit to get beyond the gate I would like to hear about your experience.

  15. Justin Farrell says:

    So being in favor of the highest level of Forest Preserve protection is being selfish, but wanting easy access for those with physical disabilities is not selfish?

    • Dave says:

      It is a strange mindset. One I have a hard time understanding, so I am glad Scott is asking people to better explain their position.

      Wanting to protect a place like this for future generations, because you recognize that areas like it are increasingly rare in this world – and doing so knowing that you yourself may not be able to enjoy it as much as you’d like – seems to me to be the very definition of selflessness. This is the position of wilderness advocates.

      Whereas saying that we should classify an area like this specifically to meet the personal and immediate desires to access it – especially when the vast, VAST majority of the rest of the world, and this park, already offer such access opportunities – seems to me to be the very definition of selfishness. This is the position of motorized access advocates.

  16. Justin Farrell says:

    I like how the photo of LeBier Flow on the Access the Adirondacks website is labeled as Boreas Pond lol.

  17. Justin Farrell says:

    Just imagine several battery powered motorboats in this video… https://youtu.be/kA9IkDQrsnE

  18. Charlie S says:

    “Supervisor Ron Moore argues that that a Wild Forest classification would allow more kinds of recreation and thus boost tourism.”

    There goes old Ron with his one track “dollar amounts” mindset.

  19. Charlie S says:

    scottvanlaer says: “There seems to be little recognition of what is best for the environment and protecting the resource.”

    One school wants to preserve what’s left of the wild areas and travel lightly-only over them,another wants to pour masses of people into the wilderness rather than save those sanctuaries for the adventuresome and future generations.

    One says “I need my solitude” the other says “I gotta have my road.”

    Wilderness! We should put our ego’s aside,wise up and choose what is less likely to destroy her balance. The “Dacks”, as my grandfather would say,are a haven found nowhere else on earth. Why would we choose to turn this paradise into what we can get everywhere else which we sure as heck have a desire to do unknowingly or not.Human encroachment poses a threat to the Adirondacks like it does everywhere else.

  20. Tim-Brunswick says:

    “Wilderness” is fine….the problem is that those in favor of “Wilderness” just can’t seem to be satisfied and demand that every new tract acquired be classified as wilderness…..literally there does not seem to ever be ENOUGH wilderness for these folks!

    Take a good look at the overall map of State land within the Blue Line and note how much is designated “Wilderness”, which to those folks who are Seniors, not physical fit and/or handicapped means….NO ACCESS!

    ENOUGH of the wilderness classification. The Adirondacks belong to all of us, not just a select few!

    • Justin Farrell says:

      I was wondering when you were going to chime in with your same ol’ M.O.
      Nicely done, Tim! 😉

    • scottvanlaer says:

      I would like to see the Boreas classified as wilderness, however not the pseudo wilderness being touted by the member organizations of the deceptive BeWildNy coalition. The most important management issue is how far cars will be allowed to drive in. Protection of the ponds, wetland complex should be paramount. The SLMP even uses protection of Native Brook Trout as an example of paramount consideration when planning and classifying Forest Preserve lands. Dead end roads taking users to paddling and fishing destinations are highly impacted by humans. Moose Pond in the town of St. Armand comes to mind as a possible comparison or glimpse into one possible future. The greater the distance from the trailhead to the ponds the greater the protection. The BeWildNY plan is not a plan for wilderness or resource protection. The type of motor vehicle use they are suggestion is more consistent with a Wild Forest Designation.

    • As of 2014 19.95% of the park was classified as Wilderness, 22.30% as Wild Forest. More importantly, roughly 50% of the park is within 0.5 miles of a public road or snowmobile trail, 80% is within 1 mile, and only 5% is greater than 3 miles from a road. The numbers don’t bear out the statement that the Adirondacks are inaccessible.

  21. rc says:

    nothin says wilderness like the screech of a pack of snowmobiles.
    and their garbage.

    I spent four days cleaning up after snowmobilers two years ago. It was actually really nice not having their crap all over the land last winter

    here’s to a snow-free winter

  22. Alex says:

    Total wilderness classification is a long shot being that the boreas ponds in a man-made pond to begin with. Not to mention the area has had plenty of motor vehicles and heavy equipment within its boundaries for decades now – and has been logged. Not to say part of me wouldn’t be happy if it did get classified that way.

    I think if the dam was let go (which it should be under “wilderness preserve classification) and the ponds drained to their natural level this place would not get any attention what-so-ever.

    The roads surrounding the pond offer slim to none views and would probably rarely get much foot traffic. I do think they would be superb for mountain biking. The roads are far enough off the perimeter of the pond that you wouldn’t even know the bikers were there if you were say paddling on the pond.

    I would not want to see any cars being able to access it past labiere flow. There should be at the very least a 1 mile buffer. Any thing less would lead to over access and degradation of the character of the place. Oh…and no snowmobiles….they are obnoxious.

    Well there you have it……those are my selfish views on what I would like to see. Let the bashing commence ?

    • The wildlife have already lost too much habitat. Restore it to Wilderness. And the wildlife would know the mountain bikes are there. There’s no good reason to allow bikes, since all mountain bikers are capable of walking – apparently just too lazy to do it.

      • john says:

        Guess, we can say that all walkers are just too fat, lazy & lacking the necessary skill set to ride a mountain bike too! You get your exercise one way they get it their way! Both deserve the ability to get into the forest & enjoy the scenery!

      • Hope says:

        While you are at it wheeled carts for canoes, etc. should be banned as well since they are also “mechanized”.
        The dam should be breached. The roads abandoned. Return to actual Wilderness. That is the hard line that the hardcore environmental community take. I believe that would pretty much be the end of what is left of the communities at that end of the Park. Maybe, that is the result that they are looking for.
        Compromise is not a bad thing.
        FYI I ride a mountain bike on dirt roads but not single track. Am I a mountain biker or a road biker? I am a recreational biker, the fastest growing bicycling demographic in the USA. There isn’t a dirt road that I don’t appreciate the ability to ride on. Not too fond of really steep terrain though so I would be OK keeping bikes on roads. Hardcore MB want single track and jumps, etc. They aren’t the demographic for this area.
        The road into Santanoni is a popular biking, hiking and canoe destination. Everyone seems to co-exist there.

    • Taras says:


      Marcy Dam.
      Lake Colden.
      Flowed Lands.
      Duck Hole.

      All man-made bodies of water created by dams (all have breached save one).

      All lie within the High Peaks *Wilderness* Area.

      The High Peaks Wilderness Area also has truck roads (old fire roads) and many old logging roads (some are existing foot-trails others have grown in). The area was logged extensively a century ago.

      Just because the land has roads, dams, and was once logged, doesn’t mean it cannot be designated a Wilderness area and allowed, over time, to return to its native state. Gulf Brook Road and Boreas Ponds Dam don’t disqualify the area to be zoned Wilderness.

  23. Brian says:

    I think the wilderness advocats should start buying the land themselves sense they only have one agenda. I say the state should start fixing our infrastructure instead of buying land and turning it into a area that only a small group of tax payers can use. I’ve picked trash up on walking trails in a state Forest by my camp…so don’t say people on sleds, Mt bikes. Etc are the only ones to blame..

    • scottvanlaer says:

      I did help purchase this tract. My primary “agenda” is resource protection. Resource protection, human use and economic benefit can all coexist. Human impact, including littering, dissipates the greater the distance interior from the motor vehicle access point. All recreational activities have an impact on the resource. No one is advocating to prevent access. Some people advocate for greater resource protection then others. No matter what plan is adopted only a small group of tax payers will use it but we all deserve to be heard. Science, past and best practices should be important in the decision making process. This land is your land this land is my land. It would be nice to preserve it for future generations as pristine as possible.

      • AMEN! But the MODE of access should be the least intrusive: walking (or wheelchairs) only. A bike gives one many times the range, multiplying impacts accordingly. Bikes don’t belong off-road.

        • Bruce says:


          I agree that “mountain bikers” can seriously damage the landscape by going off road. However, that’s balanced by the fact that not all bicyclists (regardless of the style of bicycle they may ride) desire to actually ride off road.

          Some folks seem to have difficulty separating off road mountain bikers from the millions of riders who do not go off road, and who may enjoy riding on good gravel roads in the woods, by lumping everyone not riding pure road bikes on pavement into the mountain biker category. This is wrong.

          The improved roads within the tract won’t suffer any more from bicycles than they will from foot traffic. After all, these roads were built for heavy truck and machinery traffic.

          • Todd Eastman says:

            Bruce, your perspective regarding mountain biking is not how it plays out in the real world or within the arena of marketing mountain biking.

            Forest roads are not what sells bikes or drives the sport.

          • Bob Rainville says:

            “Hikers” can and sometimes do seriously damage the landscape on-trail and off-trail. All recreational users have an impact on the environment. Period. Read the articles on the damage in the HPW area. ALL FROM FOOTFALLS! All of it! A bike does not need a trail built to the standards of a vehicular road; a simple lesson in physics will bear this out. And, for any type of trail to be sustainable, soil compaction must occur. A well designed trail is similar in purpose to a road, just on a much smaller scale. Every recreational user needs a “road” of some sort…and that “road” does varying degrees of “damage” and “disturbance”. Look at a herd path created by ungulates that goes straight up a contour! Talk about v-shaped ruts! Should we all bushwhack to avoid construction of trails (mini roads)?

            • Of course all humans cause harm to wildlife. Even just the PRESENCE of humans is harmful. But mountain biking does several times as much damage as hiking, partly because a bike allows one to travel several times as far as a hiker can walk. That fact is ignored by all the so-called “research” on mountain biking impacts, most of which was written by mountain bikers. Banning bikes is a good way to reduce impacts, while still allowing everyone to visit the parks.

              • Bob Rainville says:

                Oh. OK. Guess thru-hiking should be banned. Let me guess, now your counter argument is rate of travel and not distance?
                I’ll assume you don’t hunt. Do you “hunt” with a camera? Have you actually ever sat in cover to view wildlife for long periods of time? As the self-proclaimed Lorax of wildlife, do you have any real experience with what disturbs wildlife? I know you don’t mountain bike, so as a hiker, how would you know your impact on wildlife? You wouldn’t even know when you create an avoidance situation in the first place. Wildlife will take evasive action long before our relatively weak senses can pick up on this. Wildlife is disturbed by other wildlife.
                “Disturbance” is a survival mechanism…it’s the level of frequency and threat that matter most.
                It’s all about balance (something you apparently lack). Change, rates of change and adaptation. That is, was and always will be the nature of things…pre-humanity, now and post-humanity.

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