Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Changes Coming for High Peaks, Vanderwhacker Areas

high peaks and vanderwhacker mapThe New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is planning to amend its management plans for nearly 100,000 acres of Forest Preserve in the Adirondack Park, including the High Peaks Wilderness Complex and the Vanderwhacker Mountain Wild Forest.

A public meeting is planned for April 3rd; written public comments are due by April 20th. DEC’s Commissioner told that press he hoped the construction of new recreation facilities could start this summer.

The revised plans will also include recently classified lands that were part of Boreas Ponds Tract, Casey Brook Tract, MacIntyre Tracts (East and West), the lands formerly owned by National Lead, the former Dix Mountain Wilderness lands, and other tracts of land.

“We are excited to be taking this next step along the journey of opening the Boreas Ponds to visitors in a manner that is both protective of sensitive natural resources and provides recreational access,” DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said in a statement sent to the press. “DEC is committed to making the Boreas Ponds lands accessible to visitors while preserving this unique resource, and helping the town of North Hudson and the other communities in the Five Town Hub realize the economic potential these lands can provide. We are working diligently to develop a Unit Management Plan for these lands so that construction of new facilities can start this summer.”


Tracts Included in the High Peaks Complex UMP Amendment (provided by DEC):

Dix Mountain Wilderness: 44,716 acres
Boreas Ponds Tract (in part): 11,399 acres
MacIntrye West Tract (in part): 7,364 acres
MacIntrye East Tract (in part): 4,445 acres
Casey Brook Tract: 1,450 acres
North River Mountain Range: 6,261 acres (reclassified lands formerly in the Vanderwhacker Mountain Wild Forest)
Bradley Pond Tract: 1,717 acres (Purchased in 2007)
Former NL Lands (in part): 6,816 acres (purchased in 2008 includes Henderson Lake, Preston Ponds, and portions of lands around Calamity Brook and Mt Adams)
Niagara Brook Tract (in part): 12 acres

Tracts Included in the Vanderwhacker Mountain Wild Forest UMP Amendment (provided by DEC):

Boreas Ponds Tract (in part): 9,129 acres
MacIntrye East Tract (in part): 1,604 acres
Vanderwhacker Brook Tract: 202 acres
Hudson River Tract: 287 acres
Minerva Stream Tract: 13 acres
North River Tract: 249 acres
Bullhead Pond Brook Tract: 114 acres
Palmer Pond Tract: 47 acres
Raquette Brook Tract: 37 acres
Niagara Brook Tract (in part): 66 acres

DEC is holding a public meeting on Tuesday, April 3, at 6 p.m., at the Newcomb Central School gymnasium, 5535 State Route 28N, Newcomb. The facility is wheelchair accessible. Requests for any specific accommodations should be provided in advance to DEC at (518) 897-1248. Additional public meetings on the UMP Amendment are expected to be scheduled at a later date according to DEC’s press release.

Written comments will also be accepted until April 20, 2018, and can be mailed to Forester Robert Ripp, NYSDEC, 232 Golf Course Road, Warrensburg, NY 12885, or emailed to R5.UMP@dec.ny.gov.


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18 Responses

  1. Other than being able to claim the HP Wilderness is “even bigger now!” Is there really a reason to add the Dix Wilderness to the HP’s?

    I just figure keeping it the way it was categorized would be smarter in the case that an unprepared person goes in there and gets lost.

    An “I’m lost in the Dix Wilderness” phone call might be broad/vague but it narrows the area down much more than “I’m lost in the High Peaks.”

  2. Justin Farrell says:

    I wonder if they purposely plan these public meetings in Newcomb for mid week, and then announce it only one week in advance. I guess I have no choice but to submit written comments once again…they worked so well last time. ?

    • Paul says:

      “Additional public meetings on the UMP Amendment are expected to be scheduled at a later date according to DEC’s press release.”

      This isn’t the only meeting, there will probably be one in Albany. And probably two more.

  3. Tony Goodwin says:

    As outlined in the article, this is what I had expected would be the new plan. I do agree that now including the Dix Mt. Wilderness is partly just to claim a larger overall designated wilderness. If one were to look at the now-expanded High Peaks Wilderness on a map, the word “Gerrymander” might come to mind since there are many points where the “wilderness” is not all that wide. That said, the original goal of the Dix Mt. Wilderness Area UMP was to have the same regulations there as there were in the High Peaks Wilderness. That never happened due to an apparent reluctance in Albany for any new regulations. This move just accomplishes that desirable goal a different way.

    • Scott says:

      There are also too many places where the high peaks wilderness doesn’t seem like wilderness due to manmade structures and very high use.

  4. Tony Goodwin says:

    I should have also mentioned my own frustration at making any comments – either oral or written. Before it was classified as wilderness, and having actually visited the area, I weighed in via written comment on the classification of the William C. Whitney Area at Little Tupper Lake. I suggested that a less-restrictive classification then wilderness was appropriate because a) the area hardly looked liked wilderness due to the intensive logging, and b) that the solid gravel roads would be good for mountain biking, but hardly appealing to summer hikers or backpackers.

    After the vote, I spoke with Rick Hoffman, who was then the designee for the Secretary of State on the APA Board. I knew him because he had lived in Keene Valley when he worked for the APA as an attorney. He said that he had read all of the comments submitted on the William C. Whitney classification before he voted. He said that he had noticed my comment as being well-written and well-thought out, but he voted for wilderness anyway.

  5. Michael Ames says:

    This will be great for the comunityof Adirondacks. I live in town of Schroon Lake and a outdoor enthusiasts . Also a NYS licensed guide for Hunting and fishing. Speciality is fly fishing AuSable , Saranac and Schroon River.
    Michael Ames

  6. Kathy says:

    “Preserving this unique resource ”
    “Developing economic potential”
    “Construction of new facilities”

    Why do I think these statements contradict each other and give me a sinking feeling?

    • Balian the Cat says:

      Probably because what you value, what you believe to be priceless about these areas is being degraded slowly but surely over time. Albany is sacrificing the true value* of these areas in the name of “it will be good for you.” Once the “economy” devours the essence of what you and I consider to be Natural Resources, it will move on. There will be no lasting gain and the landscape will be irrevocably changed.**

      * I understand that mine is not the only perspective on this. Many people prefer human created landscapes to natural ones, and many would argue that incremental development over time is acceptable.

      ** I understand that the forests regrow and the rivers can cleanse themselves and that animal populations can return, but those are multi-generational events that happen under ideal circumstances.

      • Paul says:

        Here you are talking thousands of acres of what are/were industrial timberland and protecting much of it as wilderness and some portion as wild forest. Both designations that will ensure that the lands will be far better protected and far less degraded than they have been in the past. You may see less wildlife once these forests mature but the “animal populations” are there it is not a case of anything “returning”?

        • Boreas says:

          We aren’t out of the woods yet, Paul. Spruce grouse and Bicknell’s thrush threatened. Native brook trout are struggling – especially with invasive species, of which I include rainbow and brown trout. Wolf, big cats, and moose are still a work in progress. Predator/prey balances will take even longer to stabilize if we do get the big predators back. And then there are the forest and water threats and changes to consider (invasives, acid rain, warming trends, etc.). I don’t deny there has been some improvement, but it is going to take longer than a couple human generations for things to come back into balance.

          • Paul says:

            Out of the woods! I like that. There will always be things to work on no doubt about that. My point here is – on this particular parcel it is obviously moving toward more protection not away.

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