Monday, November 6, 2017

At Boreas Ponds Will Governor Cuomo Learn From His Mistakes?

There will be no decision on the classification of the Boreas Ponds at the November meeting of the Adirondack Park Agency (APA). The APA often does not meet in either December or January so it could be that there is no decision until February 2018 or after. The Governor has made it clear that he will make the final decision on Boreas Ponds and will instruct the APA on what to do. For it’s part, the APA has prepared the paperwork for the Boreas classification, but patiently awaits the decision by the Governor.

The Boreas Ponds sit as the centerpiece of a classification package of over 50,000 acres of Forest Preserve lands that the APA took to public hearing one year ago. Once the hearings concluded in mid-December a decision was supposed to be speedy with management set by the summer 2017 field season. Yet, here we are a year later with no decision in sight.

Delay, in this case, is good news because the Governor is getting a lot of bad advice from the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and local government leaders. These folks remain infatuated with the idea of making Boreas Ponds a beachhead in the Forest Preserve for a larger hut-to-hut network they envision spreading far and wide on both public and private lands. Local government leaders have also been pushing for widespread bicycle trails on old logging roads and motor vehicle access throughout the Boreas Ponds tract with routes that loop around the ponds and extend deep into the tract to places like White Lily Pond.

The key hurdle that prevents Governor Cuomo from a full embrace of the huts idea pushed by the DEC and his political allies is the law. The Governor faces a series of decisions at Boreas Ponds about where to draw the Wild Forest and Wilderness boundary lines. And, while these decisions are complicated, the Governor has chosen to muddy the waters even more by entertaining ideas to build some form of public lodging and dining facility at Boreas Ponds – some form of tent platform/glamping facilities, cabins or yurts or huts – where the public could rent a shelter, sleep in a bed, enjoy a warm shower, get a meal, and perhaps get a beer too.

Establishing some kind of hut system at Boreas Ponds makes an already complicated set of decisions even more difficult. Some form of huts for public use would require changes to state laws and policies, which would be controversial and involve public hearings, and would also be challenged as unconstitutional under Article 14, Section 1, of the NYS Constitution. The huts in the DEC’s dreams are only legal on the Forest Preserve through a constitutional amendment.

Governor Cuomo should abandon ideas that he’s being pitched for huts at Boreas Ponds, but this means saying no to some of his most loyal aides and political supporters. The Governor can delay as long as he wants, but the months that pass will not change the law. It’s time for the APA, DEC and Governor Cuomo to state publicly that any form of hut for public use on the Forest Preserve violates existing state laws, regulations and Article 14, and move on to other decisions. Hut-curiosity has paralyzed the Cuomo Administration with inaction.

Once the Governor abandons the huts idea, one thing he could do to focus his decision-making on the Boreas Ponds would be to consider only options that are currently lawful within the covers of the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan. If the Governor decides to make classification decisions that stick to the Master Plan, then he would be smart to spend some time examining what has worked and what has not worked in his most recent Forest Preserve classifications.

The Essex Chain Lakes Primitive Area was created by Governor Cuomo at the end of 2014. Here, the Governor embraced a plan to facilitate a number of different recreational uses concentrated in one area. I have argued previously, and heard from staffers in the APA and DEC who agree, that the Essex Chain Lakes Primitive Area is a failed classification. I think its failure is born out in part by low public use. In early September, I paddled the Essex Chain Lakes in my Hornbeck canoe and on my way in I counted the number of people who had signed in at the Deer Pond parking lot in June, July and August 2017. There were just 281 people, roughly three per day. 281 people are less than those who hike Cascade Mountain on one summer weekday.

How does the Governor explain the low public use numbers at the Essex Chain? Does he even know how low the use has been there? I have heard DEC leaders talk, without referencing any data, about numbers at the Essex Chain Lakes Area as being off the charts and the area being heavily used. Is the Governor getting good information from his advisors? The Governor should ask DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos why the numbers at the Essex Chain Lakes are so low.

At the time of the Essex Chain Lakes classification at the end of 2014, the Governor held a victory rally in Saranac Lake where he crowed that the classification was accomplished in record time. He proudly stated that he got a bunch of people together, worked out an agreement, and then sent it to the APA for approval. Since December 2014, has the Governor reflected on that process? Has he revisited his decisions in light of anemic public use? It’s been nearly three years – a lifetime in politics – but what lessons has Governor Cuomo learned, if any, from the Essex Chain Lakes classification?

At the Common Ground Alliance meeting in Old Forge in July, the crowd was treated to a speech by Venetia Lannon, the Governor’s top environmental staffer. In the days before that meeting, DEC officials had driven her around the Boreas Ponds tract and she told the assembled crowd that she was blown away by what she saw. She said that her trip affirmed in her mind “We have to get the classification of the Boreas Ponds right.”

Lannon provided no details about what getting it right meant. As one of the key people feeding information to Governor Cuomo in preparation of his decision on the Boreas Ponds classification, Lannon would benefit from investigating what the state got wrong with the Essex Chain Lakes classification, the only Forest Preserve classification handled exclusively by the Cuomo Administration. Here are some lessons from which the DEC, APA, Lannon, and Governor Cuomo could learn from the Essex Chain Lakes classification.

I’ve already written that just about three people per day visited in the Essex Chain Lakes in the summer of 2017. But I think it’s important to contrast that with the more than 3,000 people who hiked into OK Slips Falls during that same period. OK Slip Falls was classified as Wilderness as part of the Hudson Gorge Wilderness area at the same time the Essex Chain Lakes Primitive area was created.

The difference between the Essex Chain Lakes and Ok Slip Falls areas are many, but one thing that strikes me is that OK Slip Falls benefits from efficient, coherent and streamlined management provided by a Wilderness classification. These lands were classified as part of the new Hudson Gorge Wilderness Area, and as such management around OK Slip Falls was limited to hiking on a foot trail. The public expectation was set: a hike on a foot trail to reach a beautiful waterfall. In this way, both the natural resources and public experiences were protected. The success of the Ok Slip Falls trail is born out in the relatively high public use for a trail in a Wilderness area outside the High Peaks. I’ve hiked into OK Slip Falls several times, the most recent being twice on summer Saturdays, once in 2016 and again in 2017, and on both days I met more than 50 people on the trail, similar to what I encounter when hiking Blue Mountain or a less popular High Peak.

The Essex Chain Lakes classification by contrast is a hodgepodge of uses crammed into one area. The public has no idea what to expect. Management is not efficient, coherent and streamlined, but rather incoherent, forced, and unwieldy. Will there be bikes? Will people drive down to Fifth Lake? Will state agency staff be driving through area? On my visit in September, I had a hard time squaring the stunning beauty of the Essex Chain with the emptiness of the lakes. Over the years I have paddled a good deal on Low’s Lake, Little Tupper Lake, Round Lake, Lake Lila, and many other places, and I don’t think I’ve ever been alone in these places in the way I was alone on the lakes of the Essex Chain in September. The scene was a heartbreaking paradox: the beauty of dead calm waters reflecting clouds and shorelines tinged with fall colors was enveloping and overwhelming, yet it gnawed at me because in my mind it showed the failure of state policy, the profound opportunity lost, profound mistakes made.

While the protection of the natural resources on the Forest Preserve is paramount, and while I can certainly see that low public use numbers are beneficial for forest recovery, and for the quadrupeds, birds, amphibians, and fish of an area, as well as to other things, I also know that the Forest Preserve needs public use to be successful, to galvanize and engender public support for its growth and stewardship. But right now memories are not being made in high numbers on the Essex Chain Lakes like they are on Lake Lila or Low’s Lake or Little Tupper Lake. There are few young people today paddling the Essex Chain who dare to dream decades into the future of bringing their grandchildren there to reprise the same wild and beautiful experiences they enjoyed. Such dreams are dreamed every day all summer long on Lake Lila or the Oswegatchie River, among scores of other places.

At the Essex Chain Lakes, the Governor sought to maximize public use by cramming together as many recreational uses as possible. This decision was wildly cheered by local government officials who held tight to the Governor’s ear. The Essex Chain Lakes Primitive Area includes hiking, paddling, bike riding, state management with motor vehicles, enhanced drive-in motorized access, and is sliced by a motorized Wild Forest corridor. The area stands out on the APA Land Use and Development Plan Map as a Twister board of gerrymandered classifications, while most other Forest Preserve areas stand out as big blocks on light green Wild Forest or blue Wilderness.

By opening this area to so many conflicting uses without clear boundary lines, the Governor, state officials and local government leaders alienated rather than enhanced public use. Governor Cuomo ordered his state agencies to facilitate a wide assortment of recreational uses, yet he ended up with a management program that repels rather than attracts. Coherent management has made the foot trail to OK Slips Falls attractive and inviting whereas, despite the stunning beauty of the Essex Chain Lakes, incoherent management has made the Essex Chain Lakes unattractive and uninviting.

In my trip to the Essex Chain Lakes in September I paddled into the channel between Fourth and Fifth Lakes and reached “The Tube,” which is a large culvert that allows water to flow through a point in the channel connecting the two lakes where significant amounts of fill had been dumped over the decades to make a road. The culvert and roadway at The Tube should have been removed and the channel should have been restored as a healthy meandering wetland channel. But restoration of The Tube was dismissed in favor of retaining the road over The Tube for bicycle riding and patrolling by the DEC in motor vehicles. In this way, management decisions sustained degraded natural resources. Forest Preserve acquisition is an opportunity to right old wrongs, like restoring filled wetlands, rather than enshrining and sustaining past abuses.

While it’s unclear how many times state agency staff have patrolled the Essex Chain and driven motor vehicles across The Tube, of the 281 people that signed in during June, July and August, only a handful wrote that they went there to ride bikes.

Around this same time I visited, hiked, and rode my mountainbike on the Flume and Hardy Road mountainbike trail systems, which consist of specially designed and constructed singletrack trails, while doing fieldwork in preparation of public comments on the APA’s draft mountainbike trails “guidance.” These areas were highly used, with 1,500 – 2,000 people per month. These trail networks have become catalysts for local businesses and people now visit Wilmington specifically to ride these mountainbike trail networks. They have been so successful that the state is planning to build similar mountanbike trail networks outside of Saranac Lake and between Raquette Lake and Inlet.

Whereas the Flume and Hardy Road mountainbike trail networks are singletrack trails designed and built for mountainbike riding, the Essex Chain Lakes Primitive area offers former dirt logging roads for mountainbiking that are often rocky and sandy. Whereas the Flume and Hardy Road mountainbike trail networks are recreational uses that comply with the area’s Wild Forest management guidelines, the guidelines for the Essex Chain Lakes Primitive Area had to be rewritten to facilitate bike riding. Whereas mountainbike riding has been a great success in the Wilmington Wild Forest Area, enjoyed by thousands, mountainbike riding in the Essex Chain Lakes Primitive Area has been a complete dud.

As the Governor and his advisors prepare to make a momentous decision on the future of the Boreas Ponds, they should learn from mistakes made at the Essex Chain. At Boreas, they should draw boundary lines distinctly so that large blocks of Wilderness and Wild Forest stand separate and coherent, and are not convoluted Twister boards of intertwined classifications. They should make decisions based on what is allowable under the State Land Master Plan, and not force through amendments to legalize new uses. They should make decisions that facilitate viable public recreational uses, and not seek to force a variety of uses into one area. They should not make decisions based on the bogus belief that lots of people want to ride bikes on former dirt logging roads.

The Governor is hearing loudly from his small coterie of advisors to double down at Boreas Ponds on the same failed strategies and decisions used at the Essex Chain Lakes. He needs to reject this bad advice. It will take courage for Governor Cuomo to honestly reckon with the bad advice he has received, and continues to receive, about Forest Preserve management and to squarely face up to the management failures that resulted at the Essex Chain Lakes.

I hope that Governor Cuomo demonstrates in his decisions on the Boreas Ponds that he has the capacity to learn from his mistakes.

Photo of Boreas Ponds, courtesy Phil Brown.

Related Stories


Peter Bauer

Peter Bauer is the Executive Director of Protect the Adirondacks.

He has been working in various capacities on Adirondack Park environmental issues since the mid-1980s, including stints as the Executive Director of the Residents' Committee to Protect the Adirondacks and FUND for Lake George as well as on the staff of the Commission on the Adirondacks in the Twenty-First Century and Adirondack Life Magazine. He served as Chair of the Town of Lake George Zoning Board of Appeals and has served on numerous advisory boards for management of the Adirondack Park and Forest Preserve. Peter lives in Blue Mountain Lake with his wife and two children and enjoys a wide variety of outdoor recreational activities throughout the Adirondacks.

Follow Protect the Adirondacks on Facebook and Twitter.




40 Responses

  1. Smitty says:

    I think the main problem supressing use at the Essex Chain is the really long poor road to get to the parking lot, not to mention that the campsites (at least those I’ve visited) aren’t very nice. The classification is ok as it allows relatively easy access with a few short carries. Some road improvement would really help.

    • drdirt says:

      A long, poor road into Boreas exists .,., campsites are tough to find and will not be very nice at Boreas .,., your right, this will keep visitors down.

      In fact , Peter’s whole article would indicate that classifying Boreas the same way ‘Essex Chain’ is will keep numbers down .,., isn’t that what you want??? Sandy, rocky roads will keep bike traffic down .,. isn’t that what you want??? Peaceful paddling even on weekends surrounded by nature and hardly any campers or bikers or hikers around .,., ITWYW ???

      Seems to me the Guv gave you what you desire at the Essex Chain ; why does Peter make the case for more numbers being a good thing? Why does he think seeing so many people hiking to OK Slip Falls to be a good thing? Is bringing more people into the Boreas Ponds really his intention with this article? If so, he made a good case for ‘convoluted Twister boards of intertwined classifications’!!!

      • kathy says:

        The hike into Boreas at 3.5 miles with a canoe cart seemed less effort than the drive to Essex and hand carry to 3rd lake.
        Not sure why but the road condition may account for it. But….I was happy not to have to share with anyone but my 2 companions…and it was just as impressive. Not sure I would have driven in with a downpour even with a Jeep on that Deer Pond road.

  2. Larry Roth Larry Roth says:

    I find this an interesting commentary, not least for what it leaves out. Classification issues, bad advice from DEC, local politicians jumping on the bandwagon, the governor crowing about bringing everyone together while holding a victory rally…

    If you don’t see the parallels between this and the Alt 7 fiasco over the rail corridor, well it’s enough to make a person wonder.

    Anyone concerned about what happens to Boreas Ponds and the way the legal process is being subverted should be urging strong pushback against the State going ahead with the appeal of Justice Main’s decision. It’s all of a piece.

  3. Tyler Socash says:

    This is a well-researched piece and it sets forth a compelling argument for a holistic approach for tract classification. My argument about Boreas Ponds would be that Value-1 Wetlands aren’t restricted to Boreas Ponds itself. LaBier Flow is a Value-1 Wetlands (with 2 more emergent/deepwater marsh species than it’s bigger neighbor), Andrews Brook & Andrews Brook Tributary are Value-1 Wetlands, Brant Brook is a Value-1 Wetland…

    All of these other wetlands are found in various corners of the 20,758-acre Tract.

    What’s more! Susceptible 2,500+ elevations and steep “Erosion Hazard” slopes are also found in all corners of the Tract, not to mention Ragged Mountain that abuts against Blue Ridge Road.

    To entertain that the SLMP considers any of these other portions of the Boreas Ponds Tract is less important than the Boreas Ponds themselves is just as myopic as urging public motorized access into one of the last remote areas of New York State.

    Considering this large, remote, and holistically significant Tract as anything but full Wilderness leads to more of current Adirondack back country to become more ordinary Adirondack front country.

    • Boreas says:

      Tyler,

      I don’t know if you have viewed this, but it is worth your time. It is the APA board meeting where the APA staff presented in detail the various ecological areas within the tract. What I found interesting was at the end of the presentation was the relative silence – almost as if they had been presented a great deal of material that they hadn’t considered when making their initial decisions while only looking at maps. I had the feeling they were blindsided by the complexity and beauty of the area. Haven’t heard much from them since.

      http://nysapa.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=2&clip_id=465&meta_id=15289

    • Paul says:

      Are many of these wetlands artificial based on the damming of the ponds?

      • Boreas says:

        There are some dams of course – both human and beaver- but they were certainly wetlands prior – just not big ponds. Streams and marshes with some small ponds. Indeed, some of the issues to be addressed include some of the culverts for the roads that are barriers to aquatic species – a common problem everywhere. If you can find some old maps of the area you can see that the dams didn’t create something from nothing. It is basically a broad, marshy, valley – except of course for the surrounding mountains.

        • Paul says:

          Thanks I was just asking. Wasn’t sure if there were ponds prior to the dams. Sounds like you know that there were. Culverts blocked by beavers have created some of the best ponds and marshes I have seen.

          Wetlands are a good thing no matter who made them.

          • Boreas says:

            Paul,

            I believe there were originally 3 ponds – 2 very small and one decent size pond. The main dam basically combined them and enlarged them. But it isn’t a tall dam, so the ponds it “created” are shallow except for the original large pond which has a little depth to it. There is also another small dam downstream from the main dam.

            There may be other small ones but these are the main ones that some believe should be removed.

  4. Paul says:

    “The Governor has made it clear that he will make the final decision on Boreas Ponds and will instruct the APA on what to do.” Based on what evidence?

    Today we see so much of this sort of – because I say it’s so it is. This is a favorite tactic of the current administration in DC.

  5. Paul says:

    Peter, this is a good article but also very long. Why do you use the paragraph break where the next paragraph is still part of the one before? Just curious how this writing style works?

    Here is a good example:

    At the Common Ground Alliance meeting in Old Forge in July, the crowd was treated to a speech by Venetia Lannon, the Governor’s top environmental staffer. In the days before that meeting, DEC officials had driven her around the Boreas Ponds tract and she told the assembled crowd that she was blown away by what she saw. She said that her trip affirmed in her mind “We have to get the classification of the Boreas Ponds right.”

    Lannon provided no details about what getting it right meant. As one of the key people feeding information to Governor Cuomo in preparation of his decision on the Boreas Ponds classification, Lannon would benefit from investigating what the state got wrong with the Essex Chain Lakes classification, the only Forest Preserve classification handled exclusively by the Cuomo Administration. Here are some lessons from which the DEC, APA, Lannon, and Governor Cuomo could learn from the Essex Chain Lakes classification.

    • Boreas says:

      FWIW, I LIKE to see white space in an article. I probably would have put a break there as well. Makes it seem lighter. For whatever reason, I prefer short paragraphs and sentences – both reading and writing. Seems less daunting. Probably a result of my limited ability to concentrate. And I have never read Hemingway…

      • Paul says:

        I agree, and use the same technique when I write. I just tend to put them between one topic and the next. Just curious what Peter was thinking here.

      • Paul says:

        For example on the one I note, the first para has 3 sentences and second para has just 2.

    • Smitty says:

      Peter’s articles would likely get much better readership if he would edit for brevity. I think it was Mark Twain who said, “Sorry this letter is so long. It would be shorter if I’d had more time.”

  6. Is this really true or are you muddying the water? As the President of Paradox Brewery my wife and I are committing to build a 5.2 million dollar brewery in the hamlet of North Hudson. This project will bring jobs and well needed economic devolpment to the North Country. We also support our farmers with free food for their animals. I guess you can get a beer if you carry in your pack.

    Governor has chosen to muddy the waters even more by entertaining ideas to build some form of public lodging and dining facility at Boreas Ponds – some form of tent platform/glamping facilities, cabins or yurts or huts – where the public could rent a shelter, sleep in a bed, enjoy a warm shower, get a meal, and perhaps get a beer too.

  7. Jack Smith says:

    In my opinion, the low usage of the Essex Chain of Lakes is do more to it’s accessibility. It’s a long road from Newcomb to the parking area and then one has to carry their boat/kayak to the lake access point. A lot of people do not want to or may not be capable of the carry. In addition, I believe there is a low volume of people through or into the Newcomb area.

    With regard to Boreas Pond, I am looking forward to paddling there but do not want to carry my kayak 2 -3 miles to do so. I consider myself in fairly good shape at 65, but that length of carry has kept me from going there this summer.

    I am not in favor of building new roads through the forest, but in both cases, there are existing roads which could be used to get closer to water access points. So if the state wants these areas used by more people they need to consider that the average person, may not be capable of or be willing to carry boats over long portages.

    We should not continue to buy new lands, and then have them only available to a small handful of people who are able and willing to make long carries to access the water.

    • Boreas says:

      Jack,

      If you have a kayak cart it isn’t much more than a long walk. One person I heard actually rigged the cart to his mountain bike.

      I do understand your concern about access being in the same age group as you. I have arthritis that would make the simple round- trip walk a chore. What you should keep in mind is what areas in the state ARE available to the average or impaired visitor. What makes the ADKs unique are their ruggedness and remoteness. It isn’t all about access and people – keeping large areas natural and vehicle-free is also important. I personally do not believe ALL new land acquisitions need to be open to vehicular traffic.

      • jack smith says:

        I agree that not all new areas should be easily accessible, but when a road exists there, why not use it to make the area more accessible to those who cannot portage that far.
        I paddle a lot of areas in the park which are close to the road, Fishing Brook and County Flow at Newcomb being two. They have easy access, yet I have not paddled there yet where I have seen anyone else. So having easy access does not mean that the area will be overrun with people.

    • kathy says:

      A canoe cart is what I used for Boreas (68)and I wanted to be there before any decision was made to make it more or less accessible. Even tho I was near my limit of endurance I got to see it and paddle it in relative solitude. Only 4 Hornbecks total and the 2 groups of hikers we passed.
      Definitely worth the effort..

    • Chuck Parker Chuck Parker says:

      Mr. Smith, I read Peter’s article several times and was trying to figure out how to make a responsible and accurate response, and also have it be relatively brief. I read your comments. You hit the nail on the head. It is about real access and protection of the environment. Maximum use of Wild Forest Classifications can accomplish both goals and is subject to periodic review to insure future best use and the best protection. Thank you for speaking up.

  8. Balian the Cat says:

    In order to learn from a mistake, one has to be capable of admitting to making one. A heavy lift for megalomaniacs.

  9. Paul says:

    I’m sorry, why is an environmental group so anxious to get a classification that will lead to larger numbers of users (as they claim) into the backcountry? Statements about the reasons for low use numbers at the Essex chain are just bold speculation. No real data has been collected. The state should not base their decisions on speculation.

  10. Paul says:

    I’m sorry, why is an environmental group so anxious to get a classification that will lead to larger numbers of users (as they claim) into the backcountry? Statements about the reasons for low use numbers at the Essex chain are just bold speculation. No real data has been collected. The state should not base their decisions on speculation. I do think that it is an interesting assumption. But maybe more people went to the falls because there was a big waterfall at the end of the hike not the Wilderness classification. Maybe few people went to the Essex chain because it still has all the leases going on and it is still a bit hard to access with a boat?

  11. Norma Doeing says:

    All the Govenor is worried about is making money for the state its. Going to ruin the Peacefulness of the area. Leave well enough alone.
    And get those tankers out of the adirondacks.

  12. Peter Heckman says:

    Outboard motors should be allowed on the Essex Chain Lakes.

  13. Paul says:

    Any classification now is still subject to review and can be changed later. Made stricter if there is a problem, this happens often. Any of the proposals (even if they did a yurt thing) contain considerable additional Wilderness lands added to the park. Classification is not something that is set in stone and can never be changed. If real data – really show that the Essex chain could benefit from a stricter classification than it has now that can be proposed and it can be changed. Also, there is not a strict correlation between user numbers and economic impacts on the surrounding towns. It all depends what the people visiting are doing with their money. Lots of things to measure and analyze. Here people are just speculating and writing and posting.

  14. geogymn says:

    Create more wildness..it’s not a bad legacy.

  15. Charlie S says:

    Boreas says: “If you have a kayak cart it isn’t much more than a long walk. One person I heard actually rigged the cart to his mountain bike.”

    > I hiked into Boreas Ponds last year. I met a retiree couple back there who hauled their kayak in just the way you propose above Boreas. They said it was an easy hike and they were in their mid 60’s would be my guess.

    “What makes the ADKs unique are their ruggedness and remoteness. It isn’t all about access and people – keeping large areas natural and vehicle-free is also important.”

    > Thank you Boreas you clear-headed individual you.

  16. Charlie S says:

    “Peter Heckman says: “Outboard motors should be allowed on the Essex Chain Lakes.”

    Yes but only if the carry to get to the ponds is an eight mile hike one way.

    • Paul says:

      Actually (as I am sure that you know Charlie) the Essex Chain Lakes have had outboard motors on them for many years. They apparently have not had much of an impact – the place is beautiful. Not an advocate for motors there myself.

      Personally I wish that the land had remained in private hands with a conservation easement to limit any development. Then the clubs could have remained. They could have stewarded the land for another hundred plus years and it would have remained a “gem”. Now it is all up in the air with the state involved. Even folks that want a Wilderness classification want their access.

      • Boreas says:

        Paul,

        Probably right. It may be better in some instances to purchase easements with the condition that NYS gets first dibs on any future sale. I would think that would be possible. Perhaps the state figures they ‘may as well just buy it instead of buying an easement’, but they seem to overlook the political, logistical, and financial costs to manage and patrol the area(s) into the future. Must be the available Environmental Fund dollars are burning a hole in their pockets.

        • Paul says:

          The state would not get “dibs” on a future sale. But in most cases only a timber company would be interested since any other development isn’t possible. The company pays the taxes leaving more $ for other things like forest rangers. Plus less people on the land and less impact. Barbara McMartin herself in The Privately Held Adirondacks book she wrote praised these privately stewarded lands and their importance to the park.

    • jack smirth says:

      Motor boats are not needed in the Essex Lakes, they are small enough to paddle around without too much difficulty.

      I agree that the State should allow the Gooley Club to remain, They should be allowed to lease the property around their buildings, but must abide by all of the other rules when using the lakes. this would give the State income from the lease which could be used to purchase more land, or maintain access roads for public use.

      Private clubs like the Gooley Club or Polaris Hunting Club have been around for years and to me, are part of the Adirondack heritage.

      • Paul says:

        Amen! Well said. Too late and the state is too clueless.

        • Blutarsky says:

          State Land is Public Land. The public owns the land now. Would the Gooley Club or Polaris Hunting Club allow me and other public owners to use their facilities? If so then let them stay.

Leave a Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *