Saturday, March 11, 2017

Pete Nelson: Facts Show Boreas Ponds Tract Should Be Wilderness

Boreas Ponds ClassificationAs the Adirondack Park Agency (APA) prepares for their March meeting, a decision on classification of the Boreas Ponds Tract is not on the agenda.  That’s a good thing, indicating that more research and deliberations are ongoing and providing some comfort that the decision is not just pro forma.

Adirondack Wilderness Advocates believes that it is therefore an excellent time to review the status of the deliberation process.  In doing so, we can justly say “hats off” to the Adirondack Park Agency staff.  Their thorough analysis of the Boreas Ponds Tract, conducted as part of  developing a Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (FSEIS), and presented to the State Land Committee at the February Agency Meeting, was a breath of fresh, evidence-based, rational air in a process that to this point has been in dire need of reason and facts. 

Carefully following the Classification System and Guidelines contained in the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan (SLMP), APA staff analyzed the Boreas tract according to four required criteria: physical, biological and intangible characteristics, and established facilities.   Without any agenda other than their professional responsibility to make data and facts available to the commissioners and the public, the staff delivered a credible, thorough analysis and we commend them.

However, while the APA staff’s presentation was scientific, data-focused and unbiased, it yields a clear conclusion.  Their analysis made an unmistakable case for protecting the Boreas Ponds Tract as Wilderness.  To reach any other conclusion would require some remarkable gymnastics.  Now what is needed is to hold the APA Board’s feet to the factual fire.

The APA staff’s analysis made every point that Adirondack Wilderness Associates has put forward in our own analysis that we submitted in our formal comments:

  • In terms of size, geography, distance from roads, forest cover and wildlife, the Boreas Ponds Tract is a significant wild area, by Adirondack measures, by national measures and by global measures
  • The Boreas Ponds Tract has a high degree of ecological integrity and resilience, meaning it plays a crucial role in protection and sustainability of many rare and threatened plant and animal species.
  • Removal of dams, culverts, and roads would restore the rare aquatic system of which the Tract is part to a superior state, leaving three ponds, and an expanded and enhanced wetland.
  • The intangibles of the Boreas Ponds Tract, including its forest, scenic vistas, and remoteness, make it an ideal candidate for a Wilderness experience that is rare even by Adirondack standards.

In sum, the  staff analysis plainly demonstrated that the Boreas Ponds Tract’s wilderness values are nearly an ideal match to each wilderness criterion in the SLMP, as well as the advancing sciences of ecological integrity and resilience.

Let us review some of the APA staff’s findings.

With respect to the rarity and significance of the Boreas Ponds Tract as a wild area, the staff noted:

  • In the context of the Northeast ecoregion, Boreas is critically important. According to 2C1Forest collaboration, a major Canadian-U.S. collaborative of 50 conservation organizations, researchers, and foundations working to conserve and restore the forests and natural heritage of the Northern Appalachian Acadian ecoregion, the Boreas Tract is one of only three large areas in the Adirondacks (and ten areas total) that qualify for their “Last of the Wild” designation.  Last of the Wild areas are the 120 largest and wildest areas remaining in the ecoregion.
  • The Boreas Tract contains a sizable Mountain Spruce Fir zone, which the New York Natural Heritage Program designates a Significant Community that is imperiled or vulnerable
  • The Boreas Tract is a principal tributary of the Hudson but also supplies the St. Lawrence watershed. The fact that it connects two watersheds increases its importance and potential impact.
  • In the Adirondack Park there are 121 lakes over 300 acres in size. Only 15 are the size of Boreas or bigger and surrounded by Forest Preserve. Of these, only 6 are surrounded by Wilderness, Primitive or Canoe areas.
  • There are 7 Headwater streams, all suitable for trout. One of them, the Branch, is currently a candidate to be added to the Wild and Scenic Rivers registry.
  • Rare flora and fauna abound and there is, to quote staff, “very little development”.
  • The wetlands are value 1 (the highest rating), are very diverse, and so far are free of invasive species. Among other flora and fauna they harbor are breeding pairs of loons, a great blue heron rookery, and the threatened Farwell’s Water Millfoil.
  • Many gaps exist in documentation of the biological wealth of the tract’s wetlands and more study is needed, especially at the tract’s south end. For example, the mink frog is there but little is known about other amphibian species.
  • Wetlands are useful in a multitude of ways that benefit society. The Boreas wetlands affect and positively treat a very large combined watershed.

In terms of ecological integrity, APA staff discussed that with the increasing pace of climate change, the focus in scientific work on ecological integrity is changing, from preserving places and species as and where they exist today, to preserving places with a high degree of ecological integrity and resilience, “regardless of the current character of the biological landscape,” where it is possible to sustain  biodiversity  and associated ecological processes over the long term.  This definition of ecological integrity encompasses the critical role of resiliency, which includes the capacity to recover from or adapt to disturbance, connectivity.  By this definition of ecological integrity:

  • More than three quarters of the Boreas Tract has an above-average degree of ecological integrity. Furthermore, areas rated lower are those with roads and development around dams, but those areas can recover well, as the tract has high recoverability.
  • The Boreas Tract is highly resilient, which is of prime importance. As species begin mass reorganizations, current science is focusing on conserving the stage, not the players.  Boreas is resilient due to its complexity and especially its connectedness.  97% is above average in resiliency and some of it is far above average.  Boreas provides options and the lack of road subdivision is the reason.  Staff offered this sobering quote about the Boreas Tract:  it is “one of the largest blocks of intact temperate deciduous forests left on Earth, making it important on an eco-regional, if not global, level. “
  • A Nature Conservancy analysis using matrix blocks – areas able to sustain ecological processes with a high degree of resilience – found that Boreas sits right inside one of the largest identified matrix blocks in the Northeast United States.
  • Analysis of the Boreas Tract forest shows strong interconnectivity of different forest types, meaning a strong chance of sustaining long-term ecological integrity. The forests are largely unbroken and relatively undisturbed (contrary to rhetoric from some who talk about how developed and spoiled the area is), have patches of old growth forest and excellent connectivity.  Recreational overuse is one of the listed vulnerabilities
  • The Boreas Tract has 88% forest cover. There was little harvesting at high elevations or in wetlands, helping the forests to be resilient. According to staff, “Roads will… …fade back into the forested landscape”.
  • Because Boreas connects two major watersheds a terrestrial or aquatic invasive species could have an impact on both watersheds. Staff noted during the presentation that “because of the connectivity with the surrounding area, an exotic insect coming into the Boreas Tract could have major implications for the High Peaks Wilderness”
  • The Boreas Tract possesses a high degree of climate resilience. Peat bogs hold a lot of carbon, on a scale of global significance
  • The best continued capacity to support moose in the future is the High Peaks and northern part of Boreas. It is optimal terrain for sustainability for both the moose and the American marten as well
  • High elevation boreal bogs may likely disappear in the state except in the northernmost areas of the state, including Boreas
  • Removal of roads and culverts and replacement with smaller trails and bridges would have a substantial positive impact on ecological integrity. Roads that support cars are a vector for invasive species

In terms of the impact of dams and roads, and the consequences for their removal, the staff found:

  • The Boreas Dams are physical barriers: the outlet drop at the Boreas dam and the plunge pool depth at the LaBier dam are both significant impediments. There are multiple impacts to ecological integrity
  • Pre 1898 dam impoundment showed thee distinct basins. First Pond is about the same size as now and connected to Second Pond.  Second Pond is considerably smaller but with a long channel to Third Pond
  • Dam removal would mean the natural hydrologic regime would be reestablished, nutrient and sediment transport restored and connectivity restored, including between the Hudson and Ausable watersheds. This will be important as climate change has a greater future impact on the region, adding up to increasing the biodiversity of both plants and animals.  Ed Snizek, Supervisor of Natural Resource Analysis, said this: “Dam removal is a positive thing because it does recreate the natural, stable conditions.”

In term of intangible considerations, APA staff noted that Boreas has unquestionable value in intangible categories recognized in the field:

  • Bequest (a legacy for future generations)
  • Existence (just knowing that it is there)
  • Option values (“someday I could go there”)

APA staff noted that these categories are recognized by economists and that research confirms that more people like to know that a wild place is there and protected than to actually go there. Finally, staff reminded us of how uniquely remote the Boreas Tract is: less than 3% of the Adirondack Park is more than 3 miles from a road or 2 miles from motorboats.  Even if Gulf Brook Road were closed, half of the Boreas Tract would be within 3 miles of a road. Yet, it would be preserved as one of the most remote places in the Northeast.

At the question and answer period at the end of day one, APA Board member was heard to comment “We’re all a little overwhelmed.”  As well they should be: they were confronted with a plethora of facts that prove the Boreas Ponds Tract to be a precious ecological and environmental asset, a gift to the people of New York and the world that needs and deserves the highest Wilderness protection.  It is vital that we recognize what objective analysis has told us and hold the APA Board accountable for recommending a different alternative than any on the table right now: full Wilderness for Boreas, for us and for future generations.

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Pete Nelson is a teacher, writer, essayist and activist whose work has appeared in a variety of Adirondack publications, and regularly in the Adirondack Almanack since 2005. Pete is also a founder and current Coordinator of the Adirondack Diversity Advisory Council, which is working to make the Park more welcoming and inclusive.When not writing or teaching mathematics at North Country Community College, Pete can be found in the back country, making music or even walking on stilts, which he and his wife Amy have done professionally throughout the United States for nearly two decades.Pete is a proud resident of Keene, and along with Amy and his dog Henderson owns Lost Brook Tract, a forty-acre inholding deep in the High Peaks Wilderness.

59 Responses

  1. Boreasfisher says:

    Thank you for taking the time and trouble to outline these ecological assessments presented so thoroughly by the professional APA staff to the council earlier this month. It is an impressive and highly readable description of an exceedingly rare and beautiful place.

    One can only hope it will be carefully considered against the low hanging fruit of multiple uses and maximum access.

  2. Boreas says:


    Great job in condensing the presentation! After watching the videotaped portion of the presentation I came away with the same feeling. It is hard to believe it is being considered for anything other than the highest protection possible. I feel confident that after being presented the facts, the APA staff will at least reconsider their initial classification options.

  3. J. Hart says:

    Thank you for providing this clear distillation. It is very encouraging. However, it must be noted that the APA consists of eight commissioners hand-picked by the Governor and designees from three NY State Departments whose heads are also selected by the Governor. Looks like a decision will come down to scientific analysis vs. raw political power. Who do you think will prevail?

    • Paul says:

      In the end it will be a mix of both as always. The best thing to do scientifically would be to have it off limits to human use. All the other options are a mix.

  4. James Marco says:

    Thanks Pete. A good overview of a rather contentious issue. Make it Wilderness. Make it difficult to get into. Close the bleeding road. Let nature rebuild what it can, Use the existing roads for foot and bike travel.

  5. Wayno says:

    Wilderness is such a scarce and valuable resource that it seems self evident to me that we should augment the High Peaks Wilderness area by adding this scenic gem to it. Left to natures own devices it will be something our grandchildren will thank us for. There are many other regions of the Park that could benefit more from investment and development this area will be a natural draw left all on its own. The vast majority of the people of the state that care enough to comment support this idea, IMO the Governor should listen to the Citizens and get behind the effort to classify the Boreas Ponds Tract as Wilderness.

  6. Naj Wikoff says:

    Right on.

  7. Boreas says:

    If I were the governor, I would take a step back and look at ALL of the parcels that are coming up for classification. Why not allow BP maximum protection and select the Mac West/UpperWorks/Henderson Lake/Hudson River/Mac East complex as an area of more intensive use? It is just a couple miles to the west, closer to a town (Newcomb), has a better, paved/wide road, has a railroad, has significant history, and is a little less intrusive to the heart of the HPW. I am sure the state wouldn’t want to be saddled with buying the mine and its associated toxins, but perhaps the existing easements could be changed to allow building infrastructure close to the UW road – even in the old ghost town of Adirondac.

    I think it makes more sense to develop this area rather than BP. Perhaps Albany needs to sit back and look at the bigger picture and not focus on doing everything in BP.

  8. Justin Farrell says:

    “Recreational overuse is one of the listed vulnerabilities”

    I think this statement should also include the word “abuse”. It has been mentioned several times in previous discussions that many areas of the Adirondacks with easy access (including a short 1 mile hike) often suffer from overuse AND abuse.

  9. rlstolz says:

    Thanks Pete! Excellent summary of the science supporting a wilderness classification. This should be enough but in a world where facts and objectivity are routinely marginalized, and increasingly outright ignored, the political agenda carries an inordinate amount of weight. Our Governor, in a misguided attempt to give a relatively insignificant economic benefit to as many stakeholders as possible, seems determined to miss the opportunity to bestow a much larger benefit on a much larger audience.

    By presenting objective, science-based information, you give reason a stronger voice. Short-run, lowest common denominator, thinking is often easier to sell but Governor Cuomo would do well to carefully review the science that objectively identifies the unique character of the Boreas tract. In the long run his legacy would be far better served, as would the land and the vast majority of people.

  10. Tim-Brunswick says:

    Ah…and once again the Pete Nelson Fan Club has spoken! Not sure I agree with Mr. Nelson’s interpretation of “Facts” at all…..

    Governor Cuomo would do well to listen to all New Yorkers giving careful consideration to the needs of “everyone” and through due process select the classification compromise that offers something for us all. Too many folks have been denied access to too much of the Adirondacks for far too long.

    The Essex Chain Lakes classification momentum will hopefully continue and we will “all” have an acceptable variation of Alternative #1 for the Boreas Ponds acquisition.

    • Dana Rohleder says:


      Who has been denied access to state lands and where? Give us some facts please. Or are you talking about private land?

      • Justin Farrell says:

        This is obviously just another obligatory troll post from our pal Tim, and he usually does not have the common courtesy of replying when people ask him for clarification.
        – Justin

    • Boreas says:

      Pete’s article was mostly outlining facts presented by the APA staff to the board. If you watch the online video you can see the presentation for yourself with visual aids and perhaps gain a greater understanding of the facts as presented. Whether you agree with them is immaterial – they have already been presented.

    • Pete Nelson says:

      Dear Tim:

      Act today and I can send you the Pete Nelson Fan Club commemorative pin and and official song for only $14.99.

      Meanwhile, APA staff will continue present facts, blithely unaware of these lovely member benefits.


      What fun to be back on the Almanack. I missed all you kids.

  11. George L. says:

    Solid reporting, multiple compelling reasons for wilderness classification. Gov. Cuomo: It’s important to remember that this is a forest preserve, not a park, and not an “economic engine”.

  12. Paul says:

    “in the Adirondack Park there are 121 lakes over 300 acres in size. Only 15 are the size of Boreas or bigger and surrounded by Forest Preserve. Of these, only 6 are surrounded by Wilderness, Primitive or Canoe areas.”

    If you “remove” the dams as suggested what would be the size of the ponds?

    • Boreas says:


      If I remember right, during the presentation they mentioned they were unsure of the size of the water features with the dams gone. They showed the pre-dam map, but were unsure if when the map was made there was any dam. Keep in mind, logging dams were meant to be breached, and it could be there was an ‘open’ dam when the map was surveyed. This would show a slightly higher level than may be the final result with no dam. They also mentioned bathymetric data was old. There could be significant silting over the last century. But as we have discussed before, final results would be dynamic with beaver activity and flooding events.

  13. Bob Meyer says:

    I’m a bit conflicted with regards to the details of where motorized access should end, but for sure it should end far enough before the ponds to protect them and the surrounding lands.
    Proposition #1 is just a disaster of an idea that would threaten the integrity of the track and in reality produce none of the economic gains its proponents champion. This pie in the sky mantra that development will cure our economic ills has proven to be a paper tiger over and over again in the Adirondacks. Like it or not, the economic future of the Park is in ecotourism and the businesses that benefit from it like lodging, food, craft spirits, guiding, outdoor equipment and products, arts, entertainment and the like.
    It’s time to stop spouting agendas and think critically about what is best for the Adirondacks and the people that live in them. They are compatible goals.

    • Bruce says:


      Read this article on ecotourism in Costa Rica.

      It has been a boon to the country, but problems are rearing their ugly heads, some not unlike the problems being experienced by the high peaks through overuse. I’m not against ecotourism, but it needs to be managed very carefully. I’m not sure the DEC and ecotourism operators would be up to the task in the long run.

      • Bob Meyer says:

        Bruce, yes the article on Costa Rica’s issues has some valid concerns relatable to the High Peaks.
        Personally I’m a big proponent of encouraging use of other areas of the Park; admittedly partly because I’ve done the 46 ( though not registered in that club).
        What’s needed is more DEC staff in the field along with ADK and volunteers to manage the Forest Preserve. That, along with greater education of the public, including having rangers and or ADK staff or trained volunteers at the strategic entrances to the HPs wound go along way toward effective stewardship.

        • Bruce says:


          I agree more officials are needed, because classifying a tract as Wilderness is no guarantee it will remain pristine, just as other classifications don’t mean a tract will be overused and abused. I believe much of the overuse comes not from the classification, but what is there to attract visitors, as in the HP.

          I spent a week in the Long Pond Canoe area, which has road access to within 1/4 mile, and saw few others beyond a family canoe camping near me. I didn’t know about the road access so I portaged in from Hoel Pond at the other end. However, I did see one boat with a small gasoline motor on the weekend which was illegal. I think the fact there is no particular attraction to draw people, like peaks to conquer or nearby amenities, keeps that area from being pounded to death, regardless of access.

  14. lauren pereau says:

    Is this another case of rhetoric being more powerful than reality? Wilderness would provide access for disabled people, how? The roads, ponds, damns, were part of the infrastructure included in the purchase price; let us use it, let the disabled people in. All these years of motorized use and (gasp) logging, and the place is still there and beautiful as ever. How could that be?

  15. James Marco says:

    Lauren Pereau, Well, I think that the few people allowed into the ponds, ice hardening of roads, let alone the management the owners supplied, would account for it.

    I am disabled (no, I don’t draw disability) and just had back surgery to be able to walk, last fall. I hike with a DAV. I hike my canoe in, on wheels. I am an old man retired for several years. It is all about WILL POWER. How bad do you want to be there?

    Close the damn road. Maintain the dam/spillway by air or let them go. The chance to watch and study the CREATION of wetlands is remarkable in it’s own right. Make getting there half the fun of being there. Make it Wilderness, not an amusement park, themed in the woods.

    IFF we must accept a loose definition, then close the road at the current gate and turn them into camping. Canoes, kayaks, paddle boats do not need motors at the size of the pond. Limit fishing to one kill per day. Good fishing will depend on it and future generations will thank you And put in a small primitive state park, no more than 75 sites. All run by the DEC where they can clean up after the people. Yes, you can add a hostel/bunkhouse at the road.

    • Bob Meyer says:

      Here Here James Marco!

    • Laure says:

      This reminds me of pro life people. If you dont believe you should do whatever; then dont do it. Do not impose your extreme preservationism on everyone else.
      Without roads, it doesnt get seen. TNC made recommendations. Do we doubt their credibility, foresight, or experise?
      You are not speaking for me when you call for wilderness. That is a prime example of how crazy preservationists can be. No bicycles?I

      • James Marco says:

        Pro-life? It is a label meaning I am pro-death otherwise? A crude but of word propaganda, that. But it is off topic. How does this help BP? I surely was not thinking pro-death or pro-life when I wrote it…was’nt the subject.
        Preservationism? No, I simply believe in scientific sustainability and scientific observation. Not sure how I could push something on someone else that I don’t even ascribe to.
        “Without roads, it doesnt get seen.” Well, I think the thousands who visit the ‘Peaks would disagree strongly, there. And no, we don’t need parking lots and roads to all the hills and mountains in NY to see the views.
        …and so on.
        Laurie, you are not making any sense.

        “No Bicycles?!”
        Ahhh…I see…No Bikes…? Up until I couldn’t do it any more (due to extreme back pain,) I rode my bike back and forth to work, every day, about 6mi one way. Bikes are great on roads. Not so good on trails in the ADK’s. And simply poor at climbing most ADK mountains. There are a few exceptions, of course. Again, off topic and I apologize to everyone for this.

      • Boreas says:

        “You are not speaking for me when you call for wilderness. That is a prime example of how crazy preservationists can be.”

        It is a shame you feel that way. We are extremely fortunate that crazy preservationists reared their crazy heads and saved a few wild areas in the National Park/Preserve systems and the Adirondack Park before they all were gone. Would you reverse those decisions? How much is being set aside in the 21st century? When one looks at the balance sheet how much of the land in America is being developed vs. preserved and allowed to revert? Ever wonder why people from around the world visit the wild lands in the US?? Because many countries have none left. They don’t mind walking.

        • Paul says:

          You don’t have to argue for everything to be classified as Wilderness to be a “preservationist”. This land is going to be protected either way. There are lots of beautiful well protected Wild Forest lands in the Adirondacks. If some of this gets that designation it would fit in there. Even if you get a few huts like the gov seems to want you are still getting over 10K acres of new Wilderness, enough to qualify for it’s own new Wilderness area.

  16. Chuck Parker says:

    Pete Nelson’s Article should be renamed Pete’s “selected” Facts Show Boreas Ponds Tract Should Be Wilderness
    In fact there is a statement within the ASLMP from which Peter drew many of his”facts” from that states a sound alternative for a Wild Forest classification “ A wild forest area is an area where the resources permit a somewhat higher degree of human use than in wilderness, primitive or canoe areas, while retaining an essentially wild character. A wild forest area is further defined as an area that frequently lacks the sense of remoteness of wilderness, primitive or canoe areas and that permits a wide variety of outdoor recreation.” Look at what is there to base your facts on.

    • Boreas says:

      “A wild forest area is further defined as an area that frequently lacks the sense of remoteness of wilderness, primitive or canoe areas and that permits a wide variety of outdoor recreation.”


      I am trying to understand your position. Are you saying BP would benefit from removing its sense of remoteness? “Wide varieties of outdoor recreation” certainly abound within the Park. Remoteness, lack of invasive species, and wildness do not. Would the people of NYS benefit more from yet another multi-use playland, or adding more wild and remote land that cannot easily be created? I think it makes more sense to create the playland south of Upper Works that has even more history and better infrastructure.

      Any parcel could theoretically be classified as Wilderness and protected, whether it is remote or not. But “remoteness” cannot be easily created. The BP parcel gives NYS a rare and unique opportunity to add remoteness to the existing HPW in the south. It is not unique because it has wetlands and forest, but rather it is unique because of its wildness, remoteness, and lack of previous public access.

      • Justin Farrell says:

        “I am trying to understand your position”

        Is it really that difficult?

        • Chuck Parker says:

          Justin, I submitted a reply to either you or Boreas but for some reason I do not see it. Could be my error. It basically (repeated) that within the ASLMP there is a justification for a Wild Forest Classification, that would protect the environment and allow for greater opportunity for all to enjoy what Boreas has to offer. I don’t see that as difficult to understand. The UMP process would properly protect these lands.

          • Craig says:

            Chuck, I’m not sure if you watched the videos, but Kathy Regan of the APA handled a question exactly like that.

            She said something like: “If the UMP is where the rules really get made, then we could just classify everything as Intensive Use and let the UMP do all the work. But that’s not how the process is supposed to work.”

    • John Warren says:

      Boreas Ponds is one of the most remote areas in the Adirondacks.

      • Boreas says:


        Do you know if NYS has a version of this map showing the addition of BP with a potential Wilderness classification? It would be interesting to see how the blue (remote) are would expand with BP and Mac E&W as Wilderness. I can imagine it, but it would be interesting to see documented.

        • Bill Ingersoll says:

          A comparable map can be viewed here:

          The Mac West and East tracts are shaded gray.

          • Boreas says:

            Thanks Bill!

            • Bill Ingersoll says:

              You’re welcome. Note that the remoteness shown at Boreas Ponds on this map is only achieved when Gulf Brook Road is closed in its entirety. Every mile that is opened to public motor vehicle use–by anyone, for any purpose–results in a corresponding reduction in that remoteness. Open the road to LaBier Flow, and Boreas Ponds become as remote as Cascade Lake near Eagle Bay–which is to say, not remote at all.

              • James Marco says:

                Yes, a rare opportunity to create some very remote terrain for posterity. Close the road. Leave 250-300yd from the main route for his Yurts and Hostels as intensive use near a parking lot for access to the area. BTW, I also support the Hut to Hut program to increase tourism. Even though these are not allowed, I believe an exception can be made to allow this. I would sure welcome a fairly warm, dry place to stay in rainy and cold weather.

                • Boreas says:


                  Perhaps they can save a couple of the camps for this. Most are out around the current interim gate I believe.

    • Pete Nelson says:

      I didn’t draw information from the APSLMP, the APA Staff did. If you think my report of their analysis is biased, your can go watch the video, which is posted on the APA’s web site. Then you can write your own report and see if your argument holds water. To save you some time, I and everyone else who has watched it – including some who have commented here – will tell you that it won’t be worth your time. The analysis was as I said it was.

      I just adore how in our current culture facts don’t matter, only opinions. Someone can deny my report just because they want to and you have a public place to write a baseless denial. Someone can even cherry pick the Wild Forest description out of the SLMP, which has nothing to do with anything in this analysis. But the facts are the facts, regardless, and the government agency charged with presenting them did their job.

      Folks, don’t take my word for it. Go watch the video. Heck, just download the slides. I stand by everything I wrote, as will be plainly obvious if people take the time to go look instead of just dashing off empty attempts to discredit the APA staff’s good work.

      • Boreas says:


        The link again. Start at Section 22 of the Agenda. Have about 3 hours set aside and grab a beer. If you can stream it to a large TV, all the better!

      • Boreas says:

        To see the maps and slides in higher resolution at your own pace:

      • Craig says:

        I watched the video also, and Pete’s summary is well done and representative with what was said.

      • Bruce says:


        I agree the APA does a good job in spite of the naysayers, but I wonder what your feelings will be if they don’t classify it all Wilderness, and go with the one mile buffer at the ponds?

        • Boreas says:


          I can’t answer for Pete, but I believe classification is only part of the process. The APA determines the formal land classification, but the DEC is charged with implementing that classification. While the classification may ALLOW a certain amount of automobile access to a particular area, the DEC has the option of opening the road(s) to the general public, restricting access to people with permits, or closing the roads altogether. I would assume they also have the option of opening/closing gates seasonally.

          I guess what I am trying to say is that the classification process is only the start of the access process.

        • Pete Nelson says:

          I’ll be disappointed but not surprised. But this is only one small turn in a long, complicated dance. There is more in the wind than the four alternatives in the DSEIS. There are more serious matters ahead, as will become public soon.

          So work and advocacy will go on. I and my colleagues are invested in a long game, for the perpetual protection and benefit of Wilderness.

          We are fortunately indeed to have these places over which to debate.

    • James Marco says:

      I believe that all lands fall under a heiarachy of the three major classifications. With no more than three “exceptions” to be determined by the parcel in question, No, existing dirt roads don’t count, because they easily revert to natural surroundings.

      As such, yes BP easily fits into a Wild Forest classification. It also fits into a Primitive classification. And it fits into a Wilderness classification. Yes, you are correct, but you do not take the logic far enough. Primitive classification is perhaps the the best you can do with NO exceptions. But as part of the ADK’s, you find many areas that reach this due to something: Dams to create lakes at Lowe’s lake for example. An excepton that still allows Wilderness. The Bow Scout camp there and their use of motor boats is another. There are many more elsewhere, and following this precedent, it can be an “exception” at BP.

      The water and wetlands need our protection. We should not allow masses of people into the area. Ideally I wouldn’t want ANY people, but this is simply not possible. Like the policy of the DEC, make it harder to get to. They closed the fire road behind the Hungry Trout in Wilmington due to people trashing that area. Yes, it is still possible to hike in. They closed and/or shortened many other access roads to limit people going into other areas, too. I was initially against this, but after visiting several of these area’s, and finding it works, I was forced to change my thinking. Invasive species? Well, I’ll let you figure how and where they are transported around.

      There is no truly remote area left in NY. I believe it is possible to walk anywhere within a day of your car. You are implying that ALL Wilderness is classified wrong. But, that is a different debate.

  17. Paul says:

    Lands are often re-classified. This is not the last time that this can be addressed. Way too much is being made out of this particular classification. We could easily be here again in 10 years.

    • Boreas says:


      I agree. I think the reason so much is being made about BP are the issues of local communities, gateways, infrastructure improvements, state development funds, etc.. I would suspect the parties involved are awaiting something more final as opposed to something that may change.

  18. Charlie S says:

    Very nice to read this but will it be enough to keep the vultures away? Time will tell!

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