Posts Tagged ‘wilderness’

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Lorraine Duvall: Weller Pond Protests and Quiet Waters

Weller Pond canoe inAs an advocate for quiet waters, on August 18, 2018, I joined with 36 canoes and guide boats on a Canoe-In to Weller Pond and Little Weller Pond to lobby for no motors on these pristine bodies of water (cul-de-sacs of the Saranac Chain of Lakes.) As we paddled toward the channel to Weller Pond nine powerboats lined the shore of nearby Hungry Bay. We chanted “All we want is 2%: You have 98,” referencing the amount of the waters open to motors on these lakes. The entire 17.5- mile route from Lower Saranac to Upper Saranac Lake allows for the unlimited use of motorboats.

The motor-boaters held signs urging that Weller be kept open to them. After hearing about the Canoe-In, they had sponsored an advertisement in the Adirondack Daily Enterprise on August 11 encouraging “Motorboat owners and boat enthusiasts to come and show your support in preserving and protecting our rights on the water.” » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Brendan Wiltse: Time to Lead on Wilderness

High Peaks by Brendan WiltseNew York State is one of the birthplaces of the American idea of wilderness. The Adirondack Park stands with Yellowstone and Yosemite as iconic landscapes that helped shape our ideas of the value of wild places. The Adirondacks served as inspiration to many of the early champions of wilderness preservation, from Ralph Waldo Emerson and his compatriots at the famed Philosophers’ Camp to Bob Marshall and Howard Zahniser, who pushed to create a national wilderness-preservation system.

Indeed, the Adirondack Park is of global significance. UNESCO recognized the value of these lands and waters when it established the Champlain-Adirondack Biosphere Reserve in 1989. It is one of just thirty Biosphere Reserves in the United States. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, August 9, 2018

A Partnership For Wilderness, 1946-2018

In July 1946, Howard and Alice Zahniser drove with their children to the Adirondacks for the first time. Howard had started work as the first executive of The Wilderness Society in Washington D.C. the year prior. Howard would begin drafting the federal Wilderness Act of 1964 (66 drafts in all) from a cabin he acquired in the Adirondacks.

Howard kept a journal of his first trip to the Adirondack Park.  The rest of us know about it thanks to his son Ed Zahniser’s small book, Where Wilderness Preservation Began – Adirondack Writings of Howard Zahniser (Ed Zahniser, Editor., North Country Books, 1992). For 72 years the extended Zahniser family, now including the fourth generation, has returned to the same place in the Adirondacks. This August I held a cook-out to welcome them back. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, June 3, 2018

Adirondack Wild: Stop the Rush to Accommodate Overuse

Hikers on Cascade Mountain, eastern High Peaks Wilderness What follows is a press release issued by Adirondack Wild: Friends of the Forest Preserve:

At public meetings held in Albany and Newcomb this week, the non-profit advocate Adirondack Wild: Friends of the Forest Preserve told the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and NYS Adirondack Park Agency (APA) that the agencies are rushing to approve complex amendments to management plans for the High Peaks Wilderness and nearby Forest Preserve units. Such haste risks exposing these wilderness landscapes to more overuse and degradation of their natural resources and wild character.

The agencies are on course to approve the amendments in just over 45 days, or half the time that the agencies previously agreed should be taken to consider complex unit management plans for “forever wild” state lands. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Gibson: State Rushing Process For High Peaks, Boreas Plans

I’d like to recognize the Adirondack Daily Enterprise for its recent editorial “APA, DEC Skimp on Public Meetings.” The newspaper wrote that two public meetings, both held on the same day (Wednesday, May 23) about numerous management amendments to the High Peaks Wilderness and Vanderwhacker Wild Forest:

“while important, are also severely wanting. These lands belong to the people of New York, and folks near New York City, in Syracuse and Buffalo, Watertown and Ithaca all deserve to have APA and DEC staff come explain what the plans mean and hear the public’s concerns. Together, the two UMP amendments run to more than 300 pages, and it would be beneficial to the public to have them explained by the people who wrote them.”

Now that the classifications are decided and amendments to the unit management plans (UMP) are underway, the process seems highly accelerated and rushed. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, May 10, 2018

Big High Peaks Changes Coming Amid Crowd Concerns

High Peaks Wilderness Map May 2018As the upcoming Canadian Victoria Day holiday weekend (May 19-21) kicks-off the start of the busy season in the Adirondack High Peaks, local advocates and officials are assessing overcrowding, making plans to accommodate more visitors, and proposing new regulations and a sweeping expansion of backcountry facilities. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, May 8, 2018

APA Agenda: Big Changes For Most Popular Adirondack Areas

APA Building in Ray Brook NYThe Adirondack Park Agency (APA) will hold its monthly meeting at its headquarters in Ray Brook, NY on Thursday, May 10th, 2018.

The meeting will include discussion on the Vanderwhacker Wild Forest and the High Peaks Wilderness Unit Management Plans (UMPs), proposed amendments to the Gore Mountain Intensive Use Ski Area UMP, an Arbor Day tree dedication, a presentation on the Lake Champlain Basin Program, and discuss proposed enhancements for the Ski Bowl Village located in the Town of Johnsburg.  What follows is the agenda issued by the APA: » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Tyler Socash On Boreas Ponds Area Snowmobile Trail Plans

Frozen tracks across Vanderwhacker PondOn April 3rd, the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) held a public scoping session in Newcomb, seeking suggestions for managing some 96,000 acres of recently-classified Forest Preserve lands, including the Boreas Ponds Tract. Hours before attending the meeting, I went on a bushwhack.

Armed with a map and a compass, I set out from Blue Ridge Road with an adventurous spirit into a dense coniferous forest. Meandering along the icy outlet of Vanderwhacker Pond, the sounds from the road began to fade as I followed a bearing of 31 degrees. The babbling stream flowed clearly between unstable ice bridges, beckoning me further along its sinuous path. A clearing in the trees signaled the presence of the frozen pond itself. I stepped onto the ice, surprised by the water body’s size, and was suddenly enraptured by wildness. » Continue Reading.


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.

» Continue Reading.


Friday, February 16, 2018

Lonesome No: Chad Dawson And His Boreas Ponds Vote

On February 2nd, as the Adirondack Park Agency’s board was listening to its staff’s proposal for a final agency recommendation to Gov. Andrew Cuomo on the classification of Boreas Ponds and the 20,500-acre parcel surrounding the ponds, board member Chad Dawson asked some tough questions of his fellow board members.

Dawson is a professor at the State University of NY College of Environmental Science and Forestry and an internationally recognized expert on recreation, natural resources and wilderness management. » Continue Reading.


Monday, February 12, 2018

Tim Rowland: Conflicted By Boreas Ponds Plans

Boreas Ponds photo by Carl Heilman IIIf I had to pick a side, I suppose I would cast my lot with the older and wiser set who are cheering the APA’s decision to classify the sublime Boreas Ponds tract as a road-accessible wilderness, balanced by an adjoining swath of Wild Forest offering sucor to wielders of mountain bikes, snowmobiles, Falcon Heavy rocketships and any other toy that might strike their fancy. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, February 4, 2018

Pete Nelson: ‘Balanced’ Boreas Plan Has The Wrong Balance

adirondack wilderness advocates logoThe decision by the Adirondack Park Agency (APA) is in: by a vote of 8 to 1 the APA Board voted to recommend a classification for the Boreas Ponds Tract that will split the tract between Wilderness and Wild Forest, leaving Gulf Brook open into the heart to the parcel.   In their comments many of the Commissioners lauded the “balance” and “compromise” they felt this recommendation represented.

» Continue Reading.


Friday, February 2, 2018

APA Decision Leaves Road To Boreas Ponds

labier flow

The Adirondack Park Agency today approved the Boreas Ponds as the State’s newest Wilderness lands in the Adirondack Forest Preserve. The APA approved the classification of 11,400 acres around Boreas Ponds, and nearly 15,000 acres of other lands bordering the High Peaks as Wilderness. The Governor issued a statement following the decision saying he would sign the classification package.

Public motor vehicle use could be as close as .1 mile to the shoreline of Boreas Ponds. Under this classification, the Gulf Brook Road may be retained as a Forest Preserve road open to bicycles and motor vehicles and used as a snowmobile trail. The Wilderness area around the Boreas Ponds limits public uses to canoes, kayaks or rowboats, hiking, cross-country skiing and camping. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, February 1, 2018

Bill Ingersoll: Boreas Ponds Plan Process Manipulated

Boreas classification mapThe buzz this week, of course, is the announcement of the state’s planned classification of the Boreas Ponds. This news came roughly ten years after we learned that the state intended to purchase this tract for the Forest Preserve, and fifteen months after the Adirondack Park Agency kicked off its formal procedure to classify the land according to the guidelines of the State Land Master Plan.

My neck is still sore from the whiplash I experienced late last week when I first heard the news. It wasn’t the classification decision itself that did it, because my first reaction to the map was one of déjà vu, as I’ll explain in a moment. What caught me off guard was the sight of the various “watchdog” groups tripping over themselves to congratulate the state for its decision, and the press that praised Albany’s direct intervention in what should have been the APA’s independent deliberations. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Gibson: Proposal for Boreas Ponds Falls Short

boreas ponds classification mapOne could almost hear the exhalation of relief by environmentalists when they learned this week that the Governor’s DEC and APA had decided on “Alternative 2 B” for the Boreas Ponds State Land classification.

Large, obvious violations of law were to be avoided, so they learned. Fears held over the past year were apparently allayed. There would be no unclassified area reserved for a future glamorous camping (“glamping”) in the interior, and no bicycle route on vanishing old roads cloaked by balsam fir leading north towards White Lily Pond and the High Peaks Wilderness. Under “2B” the Boreas Ponds themselves at 1200 feet elevation would be incorporated in that Wilderness, as would the boreal forest stretching north to 3,700 feet and the existing High Peaks Wilderness border. Motorized and mechanized access would end at the Boreas Ponds Dam, eight miles in from county highway, or Blue Ridge Road.

I confess I exhaled as well. After all, one year ago the Governor had declared in his State of the State that there would be infrastructure developed and a Hut to Hut program installed in the Boreas Ponds tract. Rumors of a long “Wild Forest corridor” to allow biking far to the north of the Ponds abounded. Wilderness advocates had dodged a bullet, it seemed. A Solomon-like compromise of Wilderness and Wild Forest access to the Ponds had been reached, or so it seemed. » Continue Reading.