The Adirondack Park Agency has released its official proposal for the classification of the 20,543-acre Boreas Ponds Tract. The Agency will take up this decision at its meeting on February 1-2 in Ray Brook.
The Agency held public hearings at the end of 2016 and deliberated internally over a variety of management options for more than a year.
The Agency staff is recommending Alternative 2B as its preferred option, which uses an area 1/8 of a mile north of the Gulf Brook Road as the Wilderness and Wild Forest Boundary. All lands north will be classified as Wilderness, all lands south will be Wild Forest. There will be 11,412 acres proposed for Wilderness and 9,118 proposed for Wild Forest. One exception is a Wild Forest corridor beginning at the Four Corners that will end .1 mile from the ponds.
Public uses on these lands will be determined through Unit Management Plans. The Wilderness lands will be added to the High Peaks Wilderness and the Wild Forest lands will be added to the Vanderwhacker Mountain Wild Forest area. Public uses will be determined through the UMP.
Though Wild Forest lands end ¼ mile from the Boreas Ponds, the Agency is proposing a Primitive Corridor for administrative purposes to maintain the Boreas Ponds dam. The Agency is not proposing any special recreational uses on that corridor. There are no other Primitive Corridors in the areas designated for Wilderness classification.
Boreas Ponds is the largest of 25 parcels The Nature Conservancy conveyed to New York State between 2012 and 2016 as additions to the Adirondack Forest Preserve as part of a much larger project. The full 161,000-acre conservation project, undertaken in consultation with local communities and stakeholders, protects more than 415 miles of rivers and streams, 300 lakes and ponds, 90 mountains, and 15,000 acres of wetlands, as follows:
- 95,000 acres of working forests protected through conservation easements that allow sustainable timber harvest, private hunt club leasing and limited public recreation, including dozens of miles of snowmobile trails;
- 65,000 acres added to the Adirondack Forest Preserve (protected as Forever Wild under the state constitution), including gems like OK Slip Falls, Blue Ledges, Essex Chain of Lakes, and, the crown jewel, Boreas Ponds;
- 1,000 acres dedicated for community enhancement projects in local communities.
The APA website includes descriptions of all the proposed Boreas Ponds Tract alternatives, a response document to the public comments, a draft Environmental Impact Statement, biological surveys, and a draft resolution.
Read more Adirondack Almanack news and commentary about the Boreas Ponds Tract by clicking here.
UPDATED: This story was updated on 1/26 to change the distance from 1/4 mile to the ponds to .1 mile, the number provided in the FEIS.
Photo: View of Gothics from Boreas Ponds, by Phil Brown 2016.