The state Department of Environmental Conservation has finalized its proposed changes to the High Peaks Wilderness and Vanderwhacker Mountain Wild Forest unit management plans, and the Adirondack Park Agency is expected vote on them next week.
The state Department of Environmental Conservation plans to close Gulf Brook Road, the dirt thoroughfare leading to Boreas Ponds, on weekdays so it can repair the road, which was damaged by deep frost and melting snow this past winter. The closure means people will have to hike or bike about seven miles to reach the ponds, which the state bought in 2016. Gulf Brook Road is an old logging road built by Finch, Pruyn and Company, the former owner of Boreas Ponds. When the road is open, people are allowed to drive 3.2 miles to the Fly Pond Parking Area, >>More
If proposals for new state lands win approval, people could be driving most of the way to Boreas Ponds later this year. The state Department of Environmental Conservation wants to build a six-car parking area a tenth of a mile from the ponds and a ten-car parking area about a mile away. Rob Davies, director of DEC’s Division of Lands and Forests, said the department hopes to build the parking areas this year. “I think they will be ready for Columbus Day and hopefully sooner,” Davies told the Adirondack Explorer after a hearing in Albany Wednesday on various proposals for >>More
The Adirondack Park Agency board voted Thursday to fast-track a number of proposals for the High Peaks Wilderness and Vanderhacker Wild Forest, including tens of thousands of acres of newly acquired state lands. Some environmental groups contend the agency is moving too fast. Among other things, the proposals call for parking lots that would allow easy access to Boreas Ponds; new hiking, biking, ski, and equestrian trails; new campsites, canoe launches, and kiosks; and relocating the trailhead for Cascade Mountain. The APA and Department of Environmental Conservation will hold two public hearings on May 23: 10 a.m. at DEC headquarters, >>More
Hikers will be able to drive to within a tenth of a mile of Boreas Ponds, but most probably will have to park farther away, under a draft management plan written by the state Department of Environmental Conservation. The Boreas Ponds parking area is just one of numerous proposals for other parking areas, trails, canoe launches, campsites, kiosks, and other facilities in the High Peaks Wilderness and Vanderwhacker Wild Forest. Most of the facilities would be on former Finch, Pruyn lands or other tracts acquired by the state in recent years. One major recommendation on pre-existing Forest Preserve calls for >>More
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?
On July 15, 1932, two giants of conservation met on top of Mount Marcy: Bob Marshall and Paul Schaefer. Marshall was partway through a marathon hike that would take him to the summits of thirteen High Peaks. Schaefer was taking photos to be used in a campaign against a proposal to allow cabins in the Forest Preserve. Schaefer’s account of the chance meeting appears in an appendix to my book Bob Marshall in the Adirondacks, an anthology of Marshall’s Adirondack writings. When informed of the cabin proposal and various assaults on the Forest Preserve, Marshall became agitated and paced back >>More