Pilots win reprieve

Just before we went to press for the May/June issue of the Adirondack Explorer, the Adirondack Park Agency voted 9-2 to allow floatplanes to continue landing on Lows Lake for three more years, thus ending almost a year of public debate. As a sop to green groups, the APA and state Department of Environmental Conservation agreed to classify Lows Lake and adjacent state lands as Wilderness. Look for a story on the decision when you get your Explorer. I am posting here two of the important documents relating to the decision. In one, DEC spells out the rationale for allowing commercial pilots to land on Lows and the rules they must abide. The second is a memo to the APA board in support of the proposal, written by the APA’s acting executive director and its counsel. It’s interesting that the memo fails to mention that the APA’s state-lands staff concluded that extending floatplane access to Lows Lake would violate the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan.



About Phil Brown

Phil Brown edited the Adirondack Explorer from 1999 until his retirement in 2018. He continues to explore the park and to write for the publication and website.

Reader Interactions


  1. Jeff Nadler says

    On Lowes Lake Phil . . . . I just got together with an outdoor friend I have not paddled or camped with for years. We agreed to get together this summer and I asked him to choose the wild destination of his choice. He quickly replied, ” I’ve always wanted to paddle and camp for my first time on The Bog River Flow”. So I agreed only have been in there once myself. Although we will probably go mid-week, I sure hope our wilderness experience is not tarnished by the sounds of planes frequently using this body of water. Although a classic historical means to arrive in the wilderness for many sportsmen and I don’t necessarily want them to loose any options to do this, I would certain prefer not to be on the lake while it is going on . . .”not on my watch!”

    Jeff Nadler

    the continued passion to photograph Adirondack birds will no doubt be a goal there!

  2. Matt Gormley says

    I like many of you like wilderness paddling and all that goes with it. I also feel that the float plane has some historical reference to the Adirondacks and that the float plane is vital for some to experience the mountains. I was paddling Lower Sergant pond last year and saw Tom Helms fly in to take trash out. Kudo’s to Tom Helms. After carring my boat in and paddling on a pond that I had to myself, I can’t say that I was discouraged to hear and see a float plane. Good paddling to all.


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