So what do I think about the classification of this property?
There is no doubt that the Boreas Ponds Tract is beautiful and much of it is unspoiled by human activities. But this was Finch Pryun land so it was logged. The “Ponds” is clearly the place where everyone would want to get to but it is so clear to me that only the fittest of individuals will be able to travel the nearly 8 miles to the lake if the road is closed. Those with physical impairments need not apply. The road is so good it will be a millennium before the forest retakes the road. I did notice one thing when looking the property up on Google Earth, much of it appears to be reforested with planted trees.
What is the definition of wilderness in the Adirondack State Land Management Plan? “Wilderness: [APSLMP and CPSLMP] A wilderness area, in contrast with those areas where man and his own works dominate the landscape, is an area where the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man – where man himself is a visitor who does not remain. A wilderness area is further defined to mean an area of state land or water having a primeval character, without significant improvement or protected and managed so as to preserve, enhance and restore, where necessary, its natural conditions, and which generally appears to have been affected primarily by the forces of nature, with the imprint of man’s work substantially unnoticeable. “ I don’t think the area near the road or in the reforested areas meet that definition.
From the SLMP: “A wild forest area is an area where the resources permit a somewhat higher degree of human use than in wilderness, primitive or canoe areas, while retaining an essentially wild character. A wild forest area is further defined as an area that frequently lacks the sense of remoteness of wilderness, primitive or canoe areas and that permits a wide variety of outdoor recreation.” Clearly the area near the road meets this definition with its many culverts and bridges.
In light of the recent success of Protect in stopping the Class II trail construction why would anyone throw away a perfectly good road which could be used as a trail then go and hack a new trail through the woods. That just begs for another lawsuit.
State Lands are acquired with money from all of us. Access should be allowed to encompass the largest cross section of the pubic without compromising the quality of the acquisition. Clearly the road should be classified as Wild Forest to provide the most access possible for people across various physical abilities. That access can be provided without diminishing the environmental quality of the property since the road is already constructed and in good repair. If the Department is going to honor the intent of the ADA and provide meaningful handicapped access they need to have a parking area open near Boreas Pond.
What the Five Town Supervisors are proposing makes sense and makes sense for a wide variety of outdoor enthusiasts including snowmobilers. I will be urging all of our members to write in support of Wild Forest for the majority of the property. I hope you will take a minute and think about what you want out of this state acquisition and voice your opinion to the Governor, the APA and the DEC.
If you never speak up you will never have access to any part of this property. Over the next several weeks more information will be published about this property and how to communicate your opinion effectively.