Monday, November 21, 2016

Dave Gibson On The Boreas Ponds Northville Hearing

Boreas Ponds by Carl Heilman IIAt the Northville Central School public hearing this past week, about 60 citizens lined up to speak their minds regarding the Adirondack Park Agency’s 2016 – 2017 Amendments to the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan. These amendments involve the Classification and Reclassification of 54,418 acres of State Lands (Forest Preserve) in the Adirondack Park which include the Boreas Ponds Tract, 32 Additional Classification Proposals, 13 Reclassification Proposals, and 56 Classifications involving map corrections.

As I waited my turn at the microphone, I was very impressed with the respectful sincerity and preparedness of the speakers who came before me. These included folks much younger than me who spoke about wilderness values, the potential of wild restoration, and how such restoration comports with their own personal values.

Most comments pertained to the largest tract, 20,000-acre Boreas Ponds in Essex County. But local Park hearings are important because they may touch on Forest Preserve within a matter of a few miles away. That was the case in Northville. I was particularly impressed with what Hamilton County officials had to say about the summit of Cathead Mountain just a few miles from Northville Central School. For such a relatively small area, this is very complicated subject.

Cathead Mountain summit in Benson is privately owned. Its fire tower whose original purpose dates back a century now contains modern communication equipment useful to public law enforcement and safety. The old jeep trail leading to the mountain summit at just under 2500 feet in elevation is public Forest Preserve. Due to this jeep trail and the telephone line to the fire tower, these 173 acres of Forest Preserve have long been classified Primitive. With the jeep trail and telephone line no longer in use, at least officially, APA proposes to reclassify the 173 acres from Primitive to Wilderness to conform with the Silver Lake Wilderness which wraps around Cathead’s summit to the west and north. However, the Hamilton County Emergency Preparedness director, Hamilton County Sheriff and Hamilton County Board of Supervisors Chair all asked that the tract continue to be classified as it is to ensure access to the communication equipment which “protects backcountry lives,” to quote County Sheriff Carl Abrams. The status of the emergency communications equipment, its role in public health and safety and methods of accessing that equipment certainly adds important, fact-based elements to this reclassification decision.

Returning to Boreas Ponds, North Hudson’s Town Supervisor Ron Moore has consistently sought all forms of public access, motorized and muscle-powered, on this large new tract of Forest Preserve in his town. He, like other town leaders, favor APA Alternative 1, a Wild Forest classification with some Wilderness beyond the Ponds in order to maximize what they see as the recreational and economic benefits of the public’s reaching Boreas Ponds by motor and bicycle. What I appreciate about Mr. Moore’s comments are their acknowledgement of the sensitive environmental considerations at Boreas Ponds and his refusal to demonize those who favor a large, Wilderness alternative. He effectively makes his case without bombast and without putting down anyone else.

I spoke for Adirondack Wild’s position that all or most of the Boreas Ponds tract ought to be classified Wilderness because of the scale and importance of the natural resources on the tract, and how those wilderness resources naturally grade and connect to the High Peaks and Dix Mountain Wilderness to the north of the Ponds. There is an awesome stillness here and critical ecological connection to be made which altogether presents a very rare opportunity. We should seize the chance to create a block of 280,000 acres of Wilderness. To our minds, to realize that potential means that all or most of the Gulf Brook Road be closed to public motorized uses.

I also wanted to use part of my 3-minutes in Northville to remind APA of the views of its former State Land Chair Richard Booth. Until his retirement from the APA as of July 1, Mr. Booth had served the agency for eight years as a citizen member. He was also a member of APA’s staff many years before that. He is a North County man who taught school, worked summer camps, practiced law and deeply respects the Park’s people and their needs to make a living. At the same time, he is that rare someone who also deeply respects the laws protective of the Park’s environments and who has spent countless hours thinking critically about applying those laws and the standards the State Legislature intended APA to hold. On his last day of service to the APA this summer, Mr. Booth wrote a memorandum intended for public distribution about the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan. That memo has appeared in the Almanack before, but it bears mentioning again now that the Classification hearings are well underway (five more are scheduled).

Here are the final few pages of Mr. Booth’s memo pertaining to the eventual classification of the Boreas Ponds. He writes on June 29, 2016 with one day remaining to his term as the Chair of APA’s State Land Committee.


1. Preliminary Points

  • A) As of this date Agency members have not received from the Agency’s staff any summary re the resource values inherent in the Boreas Ponds Tract (hereafter TRACT). However, I have received and reviewed various pieces of information regarding the TRACT. This section of this memo reflects what I have derived from that information.
  • B) My comments here focus on the broad question of what should be the appropriate classification for the largest portion(s) of the TRACT pursuant to the SLMP. Nothing in this memo addresses where any classification line should be drawn on the TRACT between different state land classifications.
  • C) Because my term on the Agency expires on June 30, as previously noted, I will not still be on the Agency when it eventually acts to classify the TRACT pursuant to the SLMP.

2. Primary Conclusions

As the previous discussion explains, the SLMP’s various mandates create a very strong presumption in favor of a Wilderness classification that covers the great majority of the Boreas Ponds Tract .   This conclusion pertains most critically to the TRACT’s ponds and considerable amounts of lands around those water bodies. Furthermore, this presumption should be set aside only if there is a very clear showing that a Wilderness designation for most of the TRACT would be inconsistent with the purposes of the Master Plan.

3. A Large Forest Preserve Acquisition That Contains Exceptional Resource Values

A) By any reasonable definition the TRACT constitutes a major addition to the Forest Preserve. Containing more than 20,000 acres, it is larger than several of the Park’s existing Wilderness Areas: Hurricane Mountain (13,948 acres), Jay Mountain (7,896 acres), Little Moose (12,258 acres), Round Lake (10,356 acres), and William C. Whitney (13,678 acres). In addition, it is nearly as large as several other Wilderness Areas in the Park: Ha-De-Ron-Dah (25,272 acres), Hudson Gorge (23,494 acres), Pepperbox (23,816 acres), and Sentinel Range (24,017 acres).

B) While my assessment of the TRACT’s resources is admittedly preliminary, it is abundantly clear that any detailed and balanced analysis of those resources must conclude that in the context of the Park’s Forest Preserve (and the Park more generally) the natural resources values and social resource values present on the TRACT are of exceptionally high order.   The materials I have reviewed to date make clear that these special resource values include (but are by no means limited to):

—- fragile soils over considerable areas, including extensive areas with soils with severe potential for erosion;

—- significant areas over 2500 feet elevation;

—- an extensive network of streams, including a significant river segment;

—- extensive areas covered by ponds;

—- extensive wetland habitat, including more than 1,000 acres of peatlands;

—- an abundance of plant and animal species, including a number of boreal species, and a number of rare, threatened or endangered species;

—- stunning vistas from the TRACT into lands already classified as Wilderness;

—– superior location re the protection of wilderness values (the TRACT adjoins the High Peaks Wilderness Area; if the TRACT is eventually classified as Wilderness and added to the High Peaks Wilderness Area, it will constitute a remarkable addition to the Park’s largest and most famous Wilderness Area);

—- its remoteness and its capacity to provide extensive opportunities for solitude  (These characteristics of the TRACT merit special emphasis. By any reasonable definition, large portions of the TRACT are remote, and the TRACT provides multiple opportunities for people to find solitude, to experience nature’s wildness over a large landscape containing widely varying resources, and to traverse this landscape in as non-intrusive ways as possible.  The importance of these qualities will be greatly enhanced if the TRACT is added to the High Peaks Wilderness Area.)

4 The TRACT’s Prior Use By The Forest Products Industry
The forested lands in the TRACT have been the subject of intensive timber management practices over an extended period (involving among other things the development of an extensive road network to permit truck transportation of logs). Due to that fact, some are arguing that the TRACT’s resource values do not justify a Wilderness classification under the SLMP.  That argument should be rejected.

If permitted to do so, nature can and will over time renew lands very heavily impacted by human activities. The previous existence of significant logging operations and the road networks built as part of those operations do not prevent regeneration of forested lands and reestablishment of those lands as truly wild lands.  This reality is clearly demonstrated in a number of the Park’s Wilderness Areas where substantial timber harvesting once occurred (e.g., Blue Ridge, Ha-De-Ron-Dah, McKenzie Mountain, Round Lake, Siamese Ponds, and William C. Whitney).  The Park’s existing inventory of wilderness would be far less substantial than it now is had the Agency in previous years allowed evidence of past logging activities to prevent designation of qualifying lands as Wilderness Areas.  Similarly, pursuant to the federal Wilderness Act, Congress has designated numerous Wilderness Areas since 1964 that had previously been substantially affected by human activity; this has been particularly true regarding federal Wilderness Area designations in the eastern United States.  Nothing relating to past forest management activities on the TRACT in any way prevents its being classified as Wilderness under the SLMP.

5.Application Of The SLMP’s Fourth Classification Determinant To The TRACT

As discussed previously, the SLMP’s fourth classification determinant requires consideration of “… established facilities on the land, the uses now being made by the public and the policies followed by the various administering agencies.  ….”  (SLMP, Section II, p. 14)  This determinant lends no weight to any potential suggestion that the great majority of the TRACT should be classified as something other than Wilderness. Because the TRACT has been in private hands until very recently, there are no established facilities used by the public that could arguably prevent the great bulk of these lands from being classified as Wilderness.  In determining how the TRACT should be treated under the SLMP, the Agency will be “writing on an essentially clean slate” with respect to this fourth determinant.

6.Other Potential Classifications For Large Portions Of The TRACT

A) I know of no circumstances that indicate any large portion of the TRACT should be classified as Primitive.However, it is possible that a small portion(s) of the TRACT could properly be classified as Primitive.

B) While the TRACT contains an abundance of stream and pond resources, I do not think the degree of the water-based recreation opportunities it offers would merit its being classified as a Canoe Area.

C) I know of no circumstances that suggest that anything approaching a majority of the TRACT acreage should be classified as Wild Forest. Reasonable assessment and application of the SLMP’s land classification determinants would prevent such a classification in this case. The TRACT’s resources place this acquisition in the high echelons of any reasonable listing of valuable resource areas existing anywhere within the Forest Preserve. While careful review may result in an appropriate determination that some portion of the TRACT should be classified as Wild Forest, that classification cannot be reasonably assigned to the great majority of the TRACT’s lands.

D) The SLMP cannot be accurately or logically read to permit a Wild Forest classification of the TRACT with an overlay treating it (or large portions of it) as a Special Management Area. The essential purpose of the Special Management Area concept in the SLMP is to allow special treatment (i.e., more restrictive management) of relatively small areas inside of a larger land area. Nothing in the Master Plan contemplates the notion that the Agency may properly reduce the level of classification for a large area to a lesser level of protection than should be assigned given the resource values of that area and then use the Special Management Area mechanism to modify the impacts that would be generated by utilizing that lesser level of protection. In other words, the SLMP does not permit designating as Wild Forest an area whose resources merit a Wilderness Area classification (or a Primitive Area or Canoe Area classification) and then using Special Management Area guidelines to offset the negative impacts that will be caused by classifying the area as Wild Forest.  (SLMP, Section II, pp. 49-50)

(NOTE: the potential Special Management Area treatment of all (or most) of what are now the Essex Chain Lakes Primitive Area and the Pine Lakes Primitive Area was suggested by DEC in 2013. Fortunately the Agency rejected that approach then, and it should similarly reject any suggestion favoring this approach with regard to the TRACT.)

Photo: Boreas Ponds, courtesy Carl Heilman II

Related Stories

Dave Gibson, who writes about issues of wilderness, wild lands, public policy, and more, has been involved in Adirondack conservation for over 30 years as executive director of the Association for the Protection of the Adirondacks, executive director of Protect the Adirondacks and currently as managing partner with Adirondack Wild: Friends of the Forest PreserveDuring Dave's tenure at the Association, the organization completed the Center for the Forest Preserve including the Adirondack Research Library at Paul Schaefer’s home. The library has the finest Adirondack collection outside the Blue Line, specializing in Adirondack conservation and recreation history. Currently, Dave is managing partner in the nonprofit organization launched in 2010, Adirondack Wild: Friends of the Forest Preserve.

37 Responses

  1. Chris says:

    I can’t comment on this article specifically, but aren’t the Adirondack Mts. big enough that we can all have what we want? If this tract is left with the strongest restrictions, there must be other places for those of us who need accommodations. I will never visit Boreas Ponds. I don’t have a canoe, and no longer have my horse, but if I want to experience wilderness there are plenty of places to visit. I say leave Boreas Ponds to those younger/more capable than I, ( and other senior citizens and those with reduced abilities) Let’s face, we are not all equal.

    And my hat is off to those who do not feel the need to call nasty names and vilify those with opposing views.

  2. Justin Farrell says:

    Good piece, Dave!
    Thanks for expanding a little more on your comments at the Northville meeting! I also spoke in favor of wilderness at that meeting. I was pleasantly surprised by all of the polite comments that were made by the members of the audience, with no (or very little) direct attacks on any particular point of view, and the respectful applause that each & everyone received after their 3 minutes, regardless of the position that they supported. That said, I was a little confused how a few people made comments that if the Boreas Ponds tract were to be classified as Wilderness, then those with mobile disabilities would be unable to visit the Ponds, which we all know is just untrue. Other than that, I thought everyone made valid & respectful points as to what they believe is the right thing to do.

    • Ruth Olbert says:

      ?? Justin if the classification goes Wilderness, how will mobily impaired be able to get to the ponds?

      • Justin Farrell says:

        I would think by patronizing a local guide or equestrian business, just like nearby Newcomb Lake, no?

        • Ruth Olbert says:

          Well I’m not sure what a guide would be able to do in that situation.
          And to tell you the truth if the roads are classified wilderness, there won’t be a possibility to maintain them to the level that is safe for equestrian use. Moose Pond road just off Newcomb Lake road is a perfect example.

          • Justin Farrell says:

            Just curious as to why it wouldn’t be possible to maintain Gulf Brook Rd for horse & wagon use if it’s classified as wilderness…?
            And are Adirondack guide servises limited to only 1 guide/assistant per client?
            Sincere question, as I have seen guys in the past wheeling in/out hundreds of pounds of gear into the backcountry in their boats/canoes on homemade carts & and what not, along old logging roads in much worse shape than Gulf Brook Rd.

            • Ruth Olbert says:

              Truthfully from my experience of running a guide service I have found that the majority of inquiry’s for hiring one guide never come to fruition due to the cost associated with guiding. If you are saying people with mobility issues could hire multiple guides, I believe that would be cost prohibitive.
              As for the Gulf Brook road it is going to need ongoing maintenance. Spring runoff damage is just a fact of life with gravel roads. It is unrealistic to think anyone could maintain it using hand tools. If you cant get a machine in there to repair wash outs and plugged culverts, it is not long before a horse and wagon users would find it too dangerous to use at all. This fall I saw one culvert that had a hole the size of a hoof. Pretty scary with the leaves covering it.
              So these canoe carts. What are your thoughts on those? I rent a lot of these but truthfully are they not in the same category as bicycles?

              • Justin Farrell says:

                Thanks for the reply, Ruth. As for bicycles & canoe carts…I enjoy using both, but I’m not in favor of allowing bicycles in Wilderness areas.
                – Justin

  3. Tony Goodwin says:

    I’m just back from the Schroon Lake hearing. Again, the audience and the speakers were very respectful of all the opinions expressed. My own statement, given at the very end with not much of an audience left, supported Option 4. This option provides for a three-mile approach to the ponds. I said it really wasn’t much of a paddling destination since one could paddle to the end in an hour or so. Therefore, easier paddling access was not needed. For backpackers, it is an easier approach to a scenic lake than Lake Colden with possibly a new trail from the ponds to Panther Gorge and Marcy.

    I concluded by going “off message” and asking for a reclassification of the Essex Chain west of the Chain Lakes Road as Wild Forest. This would first of all resolve the questionable bike and motor vehicle access now questionably permitted in its Primitive classification. I also advocated for much closer put-in access to the lakes and the end to the ban on campfires. This should be a place where people can relatively easily set up a comfortable camp, hang out for a few day, relax, and maybe fish. Then Boreas as Wilderness would seem less exclusive with the easier access Wild Forest designation just a few miles away.

    • Bill Ingersoll says:

      There is no “possibly” or “new” about a trail from Boreas Ponds to Panther Gorge. One already exists.

      • Tony Goodwin says:

        There is no marked and maintained trail that makes that connection. There are some very overgrown lumber roads that could become trails, but currently they are a lot harder to follow than the average herd path.

        • Bill Ingersoll says:

          Seriously, there is an existing trail from Boreas Ponds to the state trail from Elk Lake. Marked, no, maintained, yes. It appears on USGS maps, and has connections with the AMR trails near the Stillwater. Several friends of mine have hiked it, and I am told it is quite easy to find from the Boreas end. This is neither a bushwhack along an overgrown trace of a road, nor a herd path. My understanding is that the sportsmen’s clubs were using it.

          • Tony Goodwin says:

            The old road shown on the USGS map was already growing in as of 1976 when the map was field checked. Today it can be followed, but with some difficulty. Going in to look at the Marcy Swamp bridging project with, among others, Forest Ranger Dell Jeffrey, e lost the road/trail at one point. As I said, it’s now harder to follow than a herd path, but easier than outright bushwhacking.

            • Craig says:

              I hiked from the Boreas Ponds inlet to the Elk Lake Marcy trail along the old roads shown on my Garmin topo map series back on October 9th. The pathway was very distinct until about 1/4 of a mile from the Marcy trail where blowdown had obviously not been cleared for a few years, even then I had no trouble following it. There were some sections around Casey brook when tag alders were encroaching a bit, but no worse then on some marked trails I have been on. This route is a very easy way to get to the Marcy trail and IMHO is easier than the Elk Lake trail because there is no significant elevation gain or loss.

              • Tony Goodwin says:

                I do know that rangers took snowmobiles along a version of that route two years ago on a search for some hikers lost on Marcy. I guess that more recently they have returned to further improve that route, since he description above does not sound like what I encountered two years ago. Still, it’s only a possible route to connect with the Elk Lake-Marcy Trail and nothing like a marked trail. And with the current gate it is nearly three miles longer than the start from Elk Lake. Granted there is less elevation gain and loss, so it would be personal choice whether to take the extra distance in exchange or less climbing.

                • Bill Ingersoll says:

                  Given the public’s acceptance of unmarked trails in the High Peaks, the presence or absence of markers would hardly seem to make a difference, especially if access to a peak is at stake.

                  I say this only because it supports my argument that placing a trailhead at Boreas Ponds or LaBier Flow would only result in more work for people like Tate Connor and Scot VanLaer, because it’s only a matter of time until its existence is discovered. It doesn’t take much digging to find people who are excited about the possibility of a scenic shortcut to Allen Mountain by way of White Lily Pond.

                  The Boreas Ponds Tract represents the interesting paradox in which we can enlarge the High Peaks Wilderness and make it less remote at the same time.

                  • Tony Goodwin says:

                    Bill, any “scenic shortcut” to Allen Mt. by way of White Lily Pond will be many years off if users are looking for the easiest route. The east side of Allen has extensive areas of blowdown – some dating back to 1950 and other extensive areas dating to Floyd in 1999. Unless someone constructed a trail there, it would be years before the few adventurers actually created anything resembling a herd path that would be easier than the current approach and herd path on Allen Brook.

                    • Craig says:

                      I’m sure it is true that it will take many years for Boreas to reach peak popularity as various routes are developed. But in the scheme of things, 10 years is not very long. I’m sure many of us can remember hiking Marcy and only seeing 1-2 other groups, or only seeing a few cars in the Heart Lake parking lot. Its highly unlikely that once a place exceeds it’s natural capacity to support human presence that we will ever be able to walk back the decision made many years prior.

                    • Craig says:

                      To me, it makes sense to take the long view of what Boreas will become after many years when evaluating it’s classification.

  4. Paul says:

    Like this past election I can’t wait till this “argument” is over. I am fine with whatever they decide is best for the tract. Wilderness will be cool, a wild forest designation making it easier to get into paddle the ponds is also a good result.

  5. Craig says:

    Additionally, I would add that on Friday, October 7, there were 43 people who registered at the trailhead. I met most of these people and would say that nearly all of them were post-retirement age, and represented large range of physical fitness. The ponds had probably 20 boats on them that day, even though it required a 3.5-ish mile carry.

    How many people will be on the ponds on a busy summer weekend?

  6. tim-brunswick says:

    The “wilderness” classification applied to the Boreas Ponds tract is an affront to properties that really can be regarded as wilderness. Classifying Boreas Ponds as wilderness from any standpoint is an attempt at “creating” wilderness where there is currently none nor has there been for over a hundred years.

    • Justin Farrell says:

      Hey Tim, not sure if you’re aware or not, but a “Wilderness” classification would be a Forest Preserve protection management plan. Many areas of the Adirondacks were not the definition of “Wilderness” before they were classified as such, and perhaps some will argue that they will never be. That certainly doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t have such management & protection plans here in New York. I must say, your constant, troll-like, anti-wildeness comments are extremely annoying, but I guess that’s the point. Just sayin’. Happy Thanksgiving buddy!

    • Boreas says:


      Well, yes, that is exactly the idea – let the property revert to wilderness, such as what was done at the creation of the Park.

      • Bruce says:

        To hear some tell it and if “reversion to wilderness” is a primary consideration, then any sizeable forest land acquisition by the state should be automatically designated Wilderness, regardless of previous use or what man-made edifices (such as heavy duty roads) are present.

        If this were the case, the APA wouldn’t be needed except to sort out private use issues. Unfortunately for some, the APA mandate is broader than that, and it is their job to arrive at some equitable or balanced “best use” classification for each acquisition. So far in the broadest sense, they’ve been doing a great job.

        Some have stated that the reason the tourists come is because of wilderness. That’s not entirely true because it is my contention as a yearly Adirondack visitor that if the land were just hundreds of thousands of acres of woods without any particular sights, views or attractions, the land would see far fewer visitors from outside.

        The half million acres or so of actual Wilderness classification is only one of the attractions, not necessarily the primary one.

        • John Warren says:

          Bruce, your comment creates a straw man and then makes a demonstrably false claim. And, it’s not “some” who “have stated that the reason the tourists come is because of wilderness,” it’s nearly a decade of repeated, professionally organized tourism studies.

          If you have ANY actual evidence that the vast majority of tourists don’t come to the Adirondacks for the wilderness experience – in other words, tourism studies showing a different conclusion – you should present it.

        • Boreas says:


          Referring to your first paragraph, this thread is talking about the BP tract (“the property”), not all sizeable lands acquired by the state. It is ridiculous to construe my statement about allowing BP to revert to wilderness into supposing all such acquisitions should automatically” be designated Wilderness. I don’t believe ANY group is saying that.

          WRT the APA, they both micromanage and macromanage these lands. IMO, their track record is inconsistent based on political pressures and administrations in Albany. But that is the real world.

  7. Tom Payne says:

    Time to “Drain the Swamp “.

    • George L. says:

      Mr. Payne

      What swamp do you propose to drain?

      If I am missing a wilderness reference, please tell me.

      Otherwise, your remark is inappropriate and not cute.

  8. Tyler says:

    As a millennial, the more I learn about the State Land Master Plan, the more impressed I am with the forethought of our environmental leaders in the 1960’s and 1970’s. I think this guiding document, which is designed to protect the natural resources of the state, should lead a non-partisan APA towards a mostly Wilderness classification for Boreas Ponds. Brant Brook, Andrew Brook, LaBier Flow, and Boreas Ponds are all rare Value-1 wetlands requiring making protection. Additionally, the steep slopes of Ragged Mountain and the 2,500ft+ slopes of Boreas are also fragile and warrant Wilderness protection. A magnificent wilderness classification will be highly regarded in the future as more and more wilderness is desecrated. The real economic draw for this region will be the wilderness that distinguishes it from the encroaching hum of civilization in nearly every other corner of the northeast.

  9. adkDreamer says:

    Dave and everyone – Thanks for keeping: the public informed, important issues fresh and in the forefront, and this forum. As a layperson, I find Forest Preserve land use and classification discussions consistently devolve into outright war. I find myself in conflict with how polarized opinions have become regarding land use. I keep finding myself going back to the beginning: Article XIV.

    “The lands of the state, now owned or hereafter acquired, constituting the forest preserve as now fixed by law, shall be forever kept as wild forest lands. They shall not be leased, sold or exchanged, or be taken by any corporation, public or private, nor shall the timber thereon be sold, removed or destroyed. Nothing herein contained shall prevent the state from constructing, completing and maintaining any highway heretofore specifically authorized by constitutional amendment,…”

    The remainder of Article XIV consists of exceptions. So as I see it there is only one classification in law: Wild Forest. As far as any roads are concerned (highways), this law states clearly that a constitutional amendment is required.

    I looked in Black’s Law dictionary and I can’t find a definition for Wild Forest.

    Black’s Law dictionary has 4 definitions for highway, the second of which is: “A free and public roadway of street that every person may use.” I noticed the word “may” in this sentence. To me this word choice is important, the definition being permitted to use or a possibility to use and only loosely is “may” defined as required, shall or must.

    So perhaps I need an understanding of original intent of Article XIV with regards to these undefined or ambiguous terms.

    Barring my lack of education on this subject, but relying on law only I am opined to this chain of reasoning:

    1. Boreas Ponds land shall be classified as wild forest. Whatever wild forest is defined to be and not necessarily the current definition that resides as one of a current set of choices of: Wilderness, Primitive, Canoe, Wild Forest, Intensive Use, Historic, State Administrative, Wild, Scenic and Recreational Rivers, and Travel Corridors. Article XIV does not provide for a choice, just wild forest lands.

    2. No roads(highways) in Boreas Ponds. Article XIV states clearly that highways require constitutional amendment. I am fairly confident that the DEC and/or APA simply do not possess lawful power to adopt an opinion on roads(highways) and enforce it via UMP.

    Perhaps my post here belongs in another forum article or not at all. I am pretty sure some of you out there may thrash me on this post so I am expecting push back. I am simply uneducated, so I site the law, as written, defining terms as I can in an attempt to interpret law and apply its original intent without prejudice.

    • Craig says:

      adkDreamer – I would also refer to this:

      • adkDreamer says:

        Hi Craig – I will read that to further my education. Thank you.

        Help me out here: If Article XIV has no amendments to contradict or rescind its current form, then the law of Article XIV should stand as immutable.

        • Craig says:

          I’m certainly not the best person to speak to legal questions regarding the constitution, the APA authorization statutes, and the SLMP. However, my cursory reading of the SLMP is that is provides a useful framework to understand state law and regulation in the park.

    • adkDreamer says:

      Correction: ‘or’ replaces ‘of’ as in: “A free and public roadway ‘or’ street that every person may use.”

      Correction: add ‘lands’ as in: “1. Boreas Ponds land shall be classified as wild forest lands.”

      Of note: I noticed that UMP’s describe classifications with capital letters as in: ‘Wild Forest’. Since Article XIV states: ‘wild forest lands’, I am fairly confident that in law ‘Wild Forest’ and ‘wild forest lands’ are not necessarily referring to an agreed upon definition.

      Sorry, I messed up.

Wait! Before you go:

Catch up on all your Adirondack
news, delivered weekly to your inbox