Taken together, there are three pieces in the September/October 2016 issue—“Beyond peak capacity,” “More money, more partners for DEC,” and “Balanced plan for Boreas”—that highlight, albeit indirectly, an emerging problem in the Adirondacks. The Boreas piece focused on the debate regarding the classification of the Boreas Ponds Tract. For the most part, it will be a tug of war between those that endorse the most restrictive Wilderness classification and those that support greater access for motorized vehicles. Clearly, the ultimate decisions will greatly influence the volume of visitors. The other articles I cited highlighted the adverse effects of the increase >>More
While the BeWildNY coalition has done some excellent work and while Adirondack Wild has been a member of it, we disagree with the authors of the Viewpoint “Balanced Plan for Boreas,” by Neil Woodworth and Willie Janeway [September/October 2016]. The authors argue that allowing the public to drive within one mile of the Boreas Ponds is based on “sound principles and science.” A Wilderness classification which closes the seven-mile-long Gulf Brook Road to public motorized access may well prove to be just as sound and scientific. Routine use of a road by cars and trucks can seriously impact the ecological >>More
Concerning your editorial in the September/October issue, “More money, more partners for DEC”: You are absolutely right. The Department of Environmental Conservation needs the money. We hunters, fishermen, and trappers pay an average of $50 a year in fees so we can go to limited areas maybe half the year to practice our art. Hikers pay nothing to do their thing all year long at countless locations. Solution: Charge a fee through a hiking license and place the money in a dedicated fund for trail maintenance, etc. (This, of course, assumes that the state will not rip it off as >>More
When Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the state’s purchase of Boreas Ponds and the surrounding land for the Forest Preserve it was an occasion for lofty rhetoric.
“Once in a rare while,” he said, “. . . you get a chance to do something that makes a difference forever. Forever. That literally leaves our children a place that is a better place than we inherited.”
As stirring as those words were, they will sound empty if the state doesn’t rise to the occasion and commit to using these lands in a way that truly preserves their natural wonder for the next generations.
Your cover for the July/August issue of the Adirondack Explorer was disgraceful in that it seemed an overtly staged, slanted, and shortsighted depiction of a perceived wrong. It was also a demonstration that the Explorer continues to be anything but balanced regarding the rail-trail issue. Phil Brown’s article was only slightly more balanced. Ripping up these rails is a bad decision any way you slice it. There are hundreds of biking and snowmobiling options in the Adirondacks but only one rail line through the heart of it. In its present form the lightly used line supports two growing businesses (Adirondack >>More
Tom Woodman’s editorial on management of the Park [“End piecemeal management, March/April 2016] hit the nail on the head. Creating a new Backcountry classification is necessary to adjust to the many influences on the Park that have changed and will continue to change. The growing popularity of biking is a good example. In classifying lands, officials should also pay more attention to the potential for noise pollution. Being mindful of the sounds of the Park should be a high priority. Mark Swanberry, West Fulton
I am watching the Shingle Shanty Brook/private lands issue with great interest. I paddled that route about ten years ago and remember it well. What may be more interesting to you is that here in Florida, where I live, we also had a struggle to keep a public paddling route open. It took about ten years; I wasn’t actually involved at the time, but I have been since involved in keeping the agreement and navigation rights going. We had help from Earthjustice. It was a negotiated settlement that left the creek open to the public but with some restrictions. I >>More
I must say that I agree with Bill Ingersoll’s Viewpoint [“Greens take the wrong road,” July/August 2016]. And I disagree with the major Adirondack environmental groups about the Boreas Ponds if they want to create a substantial expansion of the High Peaks Wilderness (which I do) but want to keep a six-mile access road into the heart of it open to make it easier for paddlers to get their canoes and kayaks there. It is my experience that when a place is easier to get to it becomes overused and used more by people that generally do not treat the >>More
Dennis Sullivan’s thoughts about “arranged” walks are intriguing [Letter to editor, July/August 2016]. Two years ago, I walked coast to coast in England along Hadrian’s Path and had the same excellent experience he described. A similar arrangement in the Adirondacks might boost the economies of many of the villages. I disagree with George Locker’s comments about biking on trails [Letter to the editor, July/August 2016]. Trail bikes often travel quite slowly; there’s not much danger of a collision. I’ve experienced them on the Colorado Trail and on the hundred-mile trail around Mont Blanc. But trails should be hardened if they >>More
By Tom Woodman Reporting in this edition of the Explorer shows the challenges facing the state as it tries to keep up with recreational pressures in parts of the Adirondacks. It also points to strategies that can help us preserve the natural character of the region and still serve the hundreds of thousands of visitors the Park attracts each year. Driving both the problems and the innovative responses are financial constraints. Overall, the story is at once disheartening and encouraging. Staffing at the state Department of Environmental Conservation has not recovered to adequate levels following cutbacks from 2008 through 2010. >>More