When I lugged my boat more than six miles to paddle Boreas Ponds in early June, I saw exactly no one. That wasn’t the case this past Labor Day weekend.
Evidently, more people are willing to visit the ponds now that the state has opened up the first 3.2 miles of Gulf Brook Road to motor vehicles.
When my girlfriend Carol and I arrived at the new parking lot on Sunday morning, there were already seven other cars. We biked to Boreas Ponds, as allowed under an interim-access plan released last week, and then hiked for several miles on old logging roads in the vicinity of the ponds. » Continue Reading.
Whitewater kayaking at Stone Valley is a highlight of Labor Day weekend activities in the Town of Colton. The last two water releases of the summer by Brookfield Renewable Energy for expert-level whitewater kayakers to paddle the Stone Valley section of the Raquette River are scheduled for Saturday, September 3 and Monday, September 5. The largest turnout is expected Saturday when paddlers will be doing timed runs in the afternoon on the Class 5 section of the river which begins just below the dam in the hamlet of Colton.
Spectators can expect to see expert kayakers who come from places within the eastern United States and Canada for the predictable and challenging conditions at Stone Valley on release days. They paddle the river at their own risk and on release days they usually get going by 10 am when the water is at the full release level. Beforehand paddlers will hike the trails to check conditions of the river. » Continue Reading.
In a long-awaited interim-access plan for the Boreas Ponds Tract, the state has opened to motor vehicles part of a former logging road leading to Boreas Ponds and opened all of the road to bicycles.
The future of the dirt thoroughfare, known as Gulf Brook Road, has been the subject of several articles and much debate on Adirondack Almanack and in the Adirondack Explorer newsmagazine.
Gulf Brook Road starts at County Route 2 (also known as the Boreas Road or Blue Ridge Road) and leads in 6.7 miles to the dam at Boreas Ponds. On Wednesday afternoon, state Department of Environmental Conservation announced that the first 3.2 miles will be open to motor vehicles and that mountain bikers will be able to pedal all the way to the dam.
New York State is seeking proposals for an entity to administer the Adirondack Park Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) Spread Prevention Program. The program is expected to provide support to help prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species throughout Adirondacks through a network of boat stewards and decontamination stations.
With more than 2,300 lakes and ponds, 1,500 miles of rivers, and 30,000 miles of brooks and streams, the Adirondack region is particularly vulnerable to the introduction of AIS. Once established, species such as zebra mussels and Eurasian water milfoil can spread rapidly through connecting waterways or by “hitchhiking” on recreational boat equipment, including propellers, trailers, rudders, and motors. Strategically placed boat stewards will help prevent the spread of AIS by educating boaters on how to properly identify and remove AIS, and performing voluntary boat and equipment inspections. » Continue Reading.
The Ausable River Association (AsRA), in partnership with the Kayak Shack of Plattsburgh, is hosting a Paddling River Clean-Up on Saturday, August 27th in Peru. The clean-up is open to all community members who want to restore and protect the beauty of the Ausable River.
AsRA will be working with the Kayak Shack at their Baggs’ Landing location to remove trash in and along the banks of the Ausable River from Carpenter’s Flats to the mouth at Lake Champlain. » Continue Reading.
A coalition of environmental groups that includes the Adirondack Council, Adirondack Mountain Club, and Adirondack Wild has significantly altered its proposal for the recently acquired Boreas Ponds Tract, calling for less of the region to be classified Wilderness.
Under the original proposal, about 15,000 of the tract’s 20,758 acres would have been added to the High Peaks Wilderness. This included land north and south of Gulf Brook Road, a durable logging road that leads to Boreas Ponds. The road itself would have been designated a Primitive Corridor, allowing visitors to drive as far as LaBier Flow, some six miles from County Route 2.
Under the new plan, Gulf Brook Road and the land south of it would be Wild Forest, a less-restrictive classification that allows motorized use. Thus, it would not be necessary to designate Gulf Brook Road a Primitive Corridor to allow people to drive to LaBier Flow. Some 13,000 acres north of the road would be Wilderness.
In early June, I enjoyed one of my most memorable canoe trips in the Adirondacks: I spent the morning paddling around lovely Boreas Ponds, taking in breathtaking views of the High Peaks.
I had the place all to myself. This might seem surprising, given that the state had only recently purchased Boreas Ponds from the Nature Conservancy. Usually, such a magnificent acquisition to the Forest Preserve will attract curiosity seekers. Yes, it was a weekday, but my guess is that the explanation lies in the difficulty of getting there — especially with a canoe. » Continue Reading.
As part of an effort to resolve a century-old dispute over the ownership of land near Raquette Lake, the state Department of Environmental Conservation has agreed to acquire not only the Marion River carry, but also more than 1,400 acres of land in other parts of the Adirondack Park.
In a letter to Assemblyman Steven Englebright, DEC chief Basil Seggos said the state is committed to buying from the Open State Institute 836 acres on Huckleberry Mountain in Warren County and 616 acres along Lake Champlain, including 4,000 feet of shoreline.
In addition, Seggos said DEC will be buying “some or all” of the following properties: » Continue Reading.
The acquisitions of former Finch, Pruyn lands have created a plethora of paddling opportunities ranging from whitewater dashes to pristine lakes and ponds.
A group of paddling enthusiasts, brought together by the magic of an internet forum, took my suggestions and joined me to paddle the outflow of the Essex Chain Lakes, or more simply, the Chain Drain.
We booked campsites at nearby Lake Harris for the sake of convenience and the size of our group. Groups of us began trickling in to the campsite on a Friday, the first day of the 2016 camping season at Lake Harris campground. All were greeted by warm, sunny skies and a multitude of black flies.
One of the biggest Adirondack issues of the year will be the debate over how to classify the Boreas Ponds Tract. Anyone who has paid attention to land-use squabbles in the Adirondacks for the last fifty years can describe the lineups on either side just as well as I can: recreation, access and the welfare of local communities on one side and wilderness preservation, aesthetics, non-mechanized travel and ecological protection on the other.
But what if this debate is false, predicated on outdated ideas and a fading history? What if adherence to this old narrative is detrimental to the natural world and to the residents of the Adirondacks in equal measure? Suppose instead that Wilderness protection and the welfare of local communities is in fact a synergy ripe with opportunity? Lots of evidence from across the country tells us what ought to make sense looking at how Lake Placid, Keene and Keene Valley thrive: proximity to grand wilderness is an economic asset, and the grander and better protected it is, the more valuable the asset. » Continue Reading.
The Ausable River Association (AsRA) will be offering free guided community paddling programs on the Ausable Paddling Nature Trail in Wilmington this summer.
The paddling program will introduce people to flatwater paddling skills, safety, and the natural history of Lake Everest (an impoundment of the West Branch of the Ausable River), and the Ausable River Watershed. » Continue Reading.
The registration deadline for the Adirondack Canoe Symposium, taking place from July 14-17 at Paul Smith’s College, is Friday, June 30. The symposium offers instruction for people wishing to improve paddling and precision boat control skills.
The Symposium is taking place concurrently with the Wooden Canoe Heritage Association Assembly, an opportunity to learn about the historical aspects of canoeing, meet canoe builders, and see hand-crafted wooden canoes. There will also be an interpretive freestyle exhibition and a candlelight paddle. » Continue Reading.
The final week of a month-long celebration of paddling and water-based activities kicks off this weekend in Saranac Lake with the Adirondack SUP Festival at Lake Colby beach.
The SUP festival, which is organized by Adirondack Lakes and Trails Outfitters, starts Friday and continues until Sunday. The festival will feature tours, clinics, gear demos, and races. » Continue Reading.
John Connelly became the first Northern Forest Canoe Trail (NFCT) thru-paddler this season when he reached Fort Kent, Maine on Tuesday, May 24. He left Old Forge on April 16th, on the first leg of a 1,500-mile journey that combines the 740-mile Northern Forest Canoe Trail (NFCT), the Maine Island Trail, and the waterways that connect them.
Founded in 2000 and officially opened in 2006, the 740-mile Northern Forest Canoe Trail consists of 22 rivers and streams, 58 lakes and ponds and 63 portages that stretch from Old Forge to Fort Kent, winding through Vermont, Québec and New Hampshire. The trail follows traditional travel routes used by Native Americans, early settlers and guides. It is one of the longest inland water trails in the United States. » Continue Reading.
A few years ago I learned of a fascinating but rather forgotten individual in Adirondack history. Along with his slightly older mentor Ebenezer Emmons and his younger contemporary Verplanck Colvin, he was among the first to accurately survey much of the Adirondacks. His name was Farrand Benedict.
Farrand Northrop Benedict was born in New Jersey in 1803, the oldest of seven. His parents died in the early 1830s and he became something of a father figure for his younger siblings. Graduating from Hamilton College in 1823, Benedict studied law and engineering and taught surveying and mathematics in Virginia and in Western New York before taking a professorship at the University of Vermont in Burlington in 1833. Teaching mathematics and surveying, Professor Benedict was known affectionately as “Professor B” or “Little Ben”.
Farrand Benedict first arrived in the Adirondacks in 1835, exploring and working in the Adirondacks, often bringing his wife and his brothers. He visited every year, often several times a year, until 1855. » Continue Reading.
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