After years of public debate, the Adirondack Park Agency voted 8-1 on Friday morning to approve a classification for the Boreas Ponds Tract that splits it into two main categories, Wilderness and Wild Forest. Most environmental groups applauded the decision, characterizing it as a compromise that will protect the ponds, streams, wetlands, and mountain slopes on the 20,543-acre tract while giving the public reasonable access. Under the proposal, the lands north of two former logging roads—all told, 11,412 acres—will be Wilderness. The lands south of the roads, 9,118 acres, will be Wild Forest. The main difference between the two classifications >>More
The state plans to combine the High Peaks Wilderness and Dix Mountain Wilderness after the Adirondack Park Agency classifies the Boreas Ponds Tract and other nearby lands. Kathy Regan, the APA’s deputy director, told the agency’s board Thursday that the expanded High Peaks Wilderness would encompass 274,000 acres, making it by far the largest Wilderness Area in the Northeast. The expansion is possible as a result of the state’s acquisition of the Boreas Ponds Tract, MacIntyre East Tract, MacIntyre West Tract, and Casey Brook Tract. The last tract provides a crucial link between the existing High Peaks Wilderness and Dix >>More
Several environmental groups are applauding a recommendation by the Adirondack Park Agency staff to classify most of the 20,543-acre Boreas Ponds Tract as motor-free Wilderness. The APA board is expected to begin discussing the recommendation at its meeting next Thursday and vote on it the next day. The agency’s staff considered five classification schemes. The preferred alternative, called 2B, would classify 11,412 acres as Wilderness, 9,118 acres as Wild Forest, and eleven acres as Primitive. It’s expected that the Wilderness acres will be added to the High Peaks Wilderness. Boreas Ponds themselves—an impoundment of three ponds—would be Wilderness under the >>More
Is the controversial idea of establishing huts at the ponds dead?
Neil Woodworth of the Adirondack Mountain Club says the state can take steps to remove empty tank cars on Adirondack tracks.
The state has reopened Gulf Brook Road on the Boreas Ponds Tract as far as the interim parking area created last year. As a result, the public can drive 3.2 miles up the dirt road. From there, hikers must walk another 3.6 miles on roads to the southern end of Boreas Ponds. Mountain bikers will once again be able to ride as far as the ponds, but no farther. It’s a long haul for paddlers, but they have the option of shortening the portage by paddling a half-mile across LaBier Flow, a dammed stretch of the Boreas River. The flow >>More
The Adirondack Park Agency met last week but did not take up the question of how to classify (and manage) the 20,758-acre Boreas Ponds Tract. It’s uncertain whether the APA will take up the issue at its next meeting in June. One of the big questions facing state officials is whether to allow the public to drive on the former logging road that leads to Boreas Ponds. The seven-mile dirt thoroughfare is known as Gulf Brook Road. Two environmental groups, Adirondack Wilderness Advocates and Adirondack Wild, want the entire tract classified as Wilderness, which would close the entire road to motor >>More
Adirondack Wilderness Advocates has sent the Adirondack Park Agency a detailed paper, replete with photos, maps, and charts, arguing for a Wilderness classification for nearly all of the 20,758-acre Boreas Ponds Tract. The 46-page document also contains recommendations for several other lands recently added to the public Forest Preserve. The first half of the document is devoted to the Boreas Ponds Tract, the most controversial and largest of the classification decisions facing the APA. Adirondack Wilderness Advocates was formed last year by Bill Ingersoll, Brendan Wiltse, and Pete Nelson to counter classification proposals from environmental groups that they say fail >>More
The Adirondack Park Agency board will soon lose its strongest defender of wilderness: Dick Booth does not intend to serve another term. Booth’s current four-year term expires June 30, but he said he will stay on awhile if a successor is not appointed by then. A professor in Cornell’s Department of City and Regional Planning, Booth told the Adirondack Explorer he is leaving partly out of frustration with decisions at the agency. He also said the long drive from Ithaca to Ray Brook for monthly meetings and poring over stacks of documents in preparation for those meetings proved draining over >>More
The 22,560-acre Pepperbox in the western Adirondacks is one of the smaller Wilderness Areas in the Park, but it also is one of the wildest. It has no lean-tos and only two miles of foot trails. The State Land Master Plan observes that the lack of a trail system “offers an opportunity to retain a portion of the Adirondack landscape in a state that even a purist might call wilderness.” Now the state Department of Environmental Conservation is proposing to create a 1.3-mile trail to Gregg Lake and build a lean-to at a primitive campsite on the lake. The trail >>More