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AATV Press Release
For Immediate Release
October 13, 2016
Adirondack Local Governments Call For Reasonable Access
For All Ages, Abilities at Boreas Ponds
The Adirondack Association of Towns & Villages is asking the Adirondack Park Agency and Governor Cuomo to allow people of all ages and abilities the opportunity to enjoy the Boreas Ponds property in the heart of the Adirondacks that was purchased by New York State with $14.5 million in taxpayer dollars earlier this year.
"AATV favors common-sense controls to protect the environment, but let's not keep children, the elderly and the disabled out," said AATV President Brian Towers, Supervisor of the Town of Wells. "This property was purchased by the people of New York State, and people of all ages and abilities should be given reasonable access."
Ron Moore, Supervisor of the Town of North Hudson, in which most of the property is located, said, "Governor Cuomo has shown a commitment to creating expanded tourism opportunities and new economic activity for Adirondack communities, and this is the ideal place to accomplish that. I've talked extensively with recreationalists about their interest in visiting. Our recommendations would allow for responsible recreation that brings new people and tourism dollars to the Park, while protecting the environmental health of the property."
The Adirondack Park Agency is about to open a public comment period on a state land use classification for the recently acquired property, which will determine to what extent the public will be able to access and enjoy it in the future. The final classification must be approved by Gov. Cuomo who, when announcing the acquisition, said: "By acquiring this remarkable tract, we are helping to conserve the region‘s natural beauty while also creating new economic opportunities for communities in the park. This will provide even more unparalleled settings for outdoor tourism and recreation, and I encourage New Yorkers to visit the region and see what they‘ve been missing."
Some parties have argued for a "wilderness" designation for the property, which would severely restrict public access for the disabled, the elderly, children, and all but the most experienced hikers.
But while the 20,758-acre property is incredibly beautiful and was well-protected by its former owner, it can hardly be considered "wilderness."
The Boreas Ponds property has been the setting for significant human activity for more than a century. The former owner used the property as a company retreat for its customers, leased portions of the land to hunting and fishing clubs, and sustainably managed the land for timber production. The ponds are man-made, through construction of a concrete dam, which remains in place today. An extensive network of roads leads to and around the ponds, and was used by logging trucks for generations. The property is home to 10 hunting and fishing cabins, and, for the past two decades, was home to a 3,000-square-foot lodge that was recently removed by New York State.
AATV is asking the Park Agency to adopt the position of "The 5 Towns" - Minerva, Newcomb, North Hudson, Indian Lake and Long Lake - and:
- allow reasonable public access by maintaining the logging road that leads to and around the ponds, while implementing common-sense environmental protections;
- allow the existing roads to be used by hikers, bicyclists, horseback riders, cross-country skiers, snowshoers and snowmobilers;
- allow boats with electric motors, as well as paddle boats;
- allow for a small number of parking spots near the pond.
"Access and environmental protection are not goals in opposition," said Bill Farber, Past President of AATV and Supervisor of the Town of Morehouse. "The combination has worked well throughout much of the Adirondack Park, and this property is a perfect example. Under private ownership, it was used for recreation and logging, and its environmental health was well-protected. This can, and should, continue under state ownership, with appropriate environmental controls."
"Let‘s face it: not everyone is an experienced backcountry hiker," said North Hudson Supervisor Moore. "By opening highly accessible Adirondack property like the Boreas Ponds for public recreation, we have the opportunity to introduce new people to the beauty of our region, and build an even broader, enduring appreciation for the outdoors experience."
The Park Agency will host eight public meetings on the Boreas Ponds classification as follows: November 9 in Ray Brook; November 14 in Northville; November 16 in Newcomb, November 21 in Schroon Lake, November 28 in Rochester, November 29 in Canton, December 6 in Tomkins Cove, and December 7 in Albany.
Written comments are being accepted through December 30 and can be sent to Kathleen D. Regan, Deputy Director, Planning, Adirondack Park Agency, P.O. Box 99, Ray Brook, NY 12977 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Brian Towers - President, AATV (518) 332-7625
Ron Moore - Supervisor, Town of North Hudson (518) 586-1664