Protect the Adirondacks is hosting a Canoe-In for Motorless Waters on Weller Pond on Saturday, August 18, 2018. PROTECT is aiming to get 100 canoes and kayaks in a flotilla of protest calling for state action to make Weller Pond and Little Weller Pond motorless waters.
The protest is starting at 10 am. People who plan to attend should register online. Boat rentals are available in the area.
“Weller Pond and Little Weller Pond should be managed by the State of New York as a quiet waters area, made off-limits to motorized watercraft and only accessible by non-motorized vessels. These ponds should be managed by state agencies as a quiet and beautiful refuge and respite among the heavily motorized and extremely popular Saranac Lakes Chain,” Peter Bauer, executive director of Protect the Adirondacks, said in an announcement sent to the press.
PROTECT issued the following list of reasons why the Weller Ponds should be motorless:
1. The Weller Ponds would be the only motorless refuge on the popular and motorized Saranac Lakes Chain.
2. It would be easy to do. The State of New York owns the entire shoreline areas around both Weller Pond and Little Weller Pond. The state owns the lands around the navigable channel that connects these ponds to Middle Saranac Lake. The state has the authority to the close these ponds to motorized boat traffic; it simply needs the will to do so.
3. Across the Saranac Lakes Chain, from Lake Flower to the Saranac River to Upper Saranac Lake, the area totals over 9,000 acres of open waters. Weller Pond and Little Weller Pond are just 190 acres – just 2% of the waters of the Saranac Lakes Chain. Why can’t we set aside 2% of these waters as a motorless area?
4. Across the Adirondacks there are relatively few opportunities for motorless waters on large lakes and ponds. It’s important to note that most of the major Adirondack lakes are open to all manner of motorized watercraft. A report published by Protect the Adirondacks in 2013 The Myth of Quiet, Motor-free Waters in the Adirondack Park found that of the 100 largest lakes in the Adirondacks, from Lake Champlain to Beaver Lake western Adirondacks, 77 are open for all manner of motorized boating and floatplanes, 14 lakes are privately owned and provide no public access, and just 9 are motor-free. Boreas Ponds, number 95 among the Park’s biggest lakes, was recently purchased by state agencies and classified as Wilderness to create the 9th large public motorless waterbody. Of the nine motor-free lakes among the Park’s top 100, just six are relatively easy to access and motor-free. Just 17 of the biggest 200 lakes are easily accessible and motor-free. The demand is high for motor-free experiences, but the supply is low. The public deserves greater opportunities for motor-free waters across the Adirondack Park.
5. The administration of a motorless Weller Pond is manageable because there is only one entrance point – the 1,000-foot channel from Middle Saranac Lake. A sign stating that no motorboats are allowed could be placed at the entrance to the channel and a short distance into the channel. The DEC campsite reservation system could be changed to state that the lean-to and three campsites on Weller Pond are available only for non-motorized watercraft. DEC could also advertise the motorless state on its website.
Canoe-In for Wilderness on Little Tupper Lake in August 1998
On August 15, 1998, the Canoe-In for Wilderness was held on Little Tupper Lake. Over 300 people in over 200 canoes, kayaks, guide-boats, rowboats, and one small sailboat, rallied on the open sloping lawns of the Whitney Headquarters on the shore of Little Tupper Lake and then paddled out onto the lake in a massive flotilla. Those who gathered supported a Wilderness classification for newly purchased Little Tupper Lake.
A number of important motorless waters were created in the years after the 1998 Canoe-In and the Little Tupper Lake classification marked one of the most active periods for the creation of Wilderness lands and motorless waters in the history of the Adirondack Park. The years after the creation of the William C. Whitney Wilderness Area saw the creation of the Madawaska Flow-Quebec Brook Primitive Area, classification of Henderson Lake as Wilderness, the reclassification of Low’s Lake to Wilderness, classifications of Bog Lake and Clear Pond as Wilderness, and motorless management of Thirteenth Lake. These years also saw the creation of the Round Lake Wilderness Area and expansion of the Five Ponds Wilderness by more than 30,000 acres and near doubling in size of the Pepperbox Wilderness.