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Old 05-15-2008, 01:25 AM   #1
Marty From SF
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Best Adirondack Guide?

Am looking for a very good guide who knows the Bob Marshall Wilderness area. I am familiar with most of the sites, but there are some unknown spots I'd like to find. Historical knowledge is imporant. Want to film and write about the area. Thanks.
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Old 05-15-2008, 08:45 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by Marty From SF View Post
Am looking for a very good guide who knows the Bob Marshall Wilderness area. I am familiar with most of the sites, but there are some unknown spots I'd like to find. Historical knowledge is imporant. Want to film and write about the area. Thanks.
Ummm, the Bob Marshall Wilderness is in Montana. Since you are looking for an Adirondack guide, you probably mean the proposed Bob Marshall Great Wilderness, not yet (if ever) a reality. So... given your real intent is to go to the extended Five Ponds Wilderness area of the Adirondacks, there are guides who will take you. You could start by finding them on the NYSOGA web page, but don't get overwhelmed with the selection list. Call a few. You might start with Dave Cilley (pronounced "silly"), owner of St. Regis Canoe Outfitters. Another nearby choice is Brian (Mac) McDonnell of Mac's Canoe Livery (Brian and wife Grace were featured with several interview spots in the PBS Adirondack show). I would definitely suggest calling both of these guys first.

And... if you don't already have it, pick up a new edition copy of Bill Ingersoll's Discover the Northwestern Adirondacks.
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Old 05-15-2008, 08:31 PM   #3
Marty From SF
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Yes, thank you. I obviously meant the 'proposed Bob Marshall Great Wilderness'. I thought that name has been applied. (?) Anyway, thanks for the leads and the book! Time to get back there and get some pictures. Appreciate your help.
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Old 05-16-2008, 11:24 AM   #4
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Bob Marshall Wilderness

There are two separate but similar proposals to create a large Wilderness Areas in the Oswegatchie/Bog/Beaver headwater region. One proposal is for a "Bob Marshall Great Wilderness Area" and the other is for a "Great Oswegatchie Canoe Wilderness" or something along that line. Both proposals call for a consolidation of the existing Pepperbox, Five Ponds, Round Lake, William C Whitney, and Pigeon Lake Wilderness Areas.

To a degree the state has taken these proposals to heart. Over the last 30 years there have been several significant land acquisitions within the proposed boundaries. Most of this land is being managed for wilderness recreation. You can now travel for many miles by land and water through this region.

On the other hand, it is highly unlikely either proposal will be fully met. There are two almost insurmountable obstacles: the Adirondack RR, which bisects the region, and Brandreth Park, which has zero interest or economic need to sell to the state. Although the RR is not active for passenger trains, the potential does exist for resumed train service; and at any rate, it is an active snowmobile trail in the winter. There would be strong and powerful resistance to any proposal to shut this down to create a single, large Wilderness Area.

As for Brandreth Park: one T-shaped parcel was available recently at a very low price, but the state declined to pursue it because the Brandreths retained too many deed restrictions. It would have been key in linking the Whitney and Pigeon Lake areas.

Both proposals originate with Bob Marshall, an unapologetic maker of lists. One of his lists from the 1930s itemized all of the large "roadless" areas remaining in the lower 48 states, which in his mind were the best candidates for wilderness preservation (which was at that time still a new concept). Three Adirondack regions made it on that list (High Peaks, West Canada/Moose River, and the Bog/Oswegatchie). To Bob, who routinely hiked 30-mile day trips, a key requirement for a Wilderness Area was that it be large. To him, anything less than 200,000 acres was nice but not really a Wilderness. In his writings, he made it absolutely clear that the size of the area was more important than its condition. It didn't matter if the place had been logged beforehand, so long as it was now a place free of modern forms of transportation where someone could wander for days.

Interestingly, the RR had been in existence for 30 years when Bob explored the region... so I'm not exactly sure what he was thinking when he described it as "roadless".

Anyway, I wholeheartdly support the state's acquisition program, but I doubt there will ever be one consolidated Wilderness Area. And I don't like either of the proposed names, personally. One Bob Marshall Wilderness is enough (I've been to the one in Montana, and it is a beautiful place). Frankly, Bob already has plenty of places named after him, including a mountain in the High Peaks and a lake in Alaska, so no more honors are needed. And even more frankly, he only spent one summer at Cranberry Lake. There are many more people who had closer ties to the region.

The name "Great Oswegatchie Canoe Wilderness" is redundant. We know it's great, and canoes are not the only way to get around. "Oswegatchie Wilderness Area" is more to the point, and it would be highly appropriate for the Five Ponds and Pepperbox areas--the only two Wilderness Areas within the proposed boundaries that are ever likely to be combined into one, and which include the headwaters of all three branches of the Oswegatchie.

Last edited by Bill I.; 05-17-2008 at 06:02 PM.. Reason: Correcting my own misstakes... ;)
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Old 05-16-2008, 08:48 PM   #5
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As for Brandreth Park: one T-shaped parcel was available recently at a very low price, but the state declined to pursue it because the Brandreths retained too many deed restrictions. It would have been key in linking the Whitney and Pigeon Lake areas.
And Wild River Press opted not to purchase it as a gift to all of us?

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the Five Ponds and Pepperbox areas--the only two Wilderness Areas within the proposed boundaries that are ever likely to be combined into one
Out of curiosity, why are they still separate? I assume the Wilderness Lakes Tract and Bear Pond Rd is the reason they were originally, but since Wilderness Lakes is now public (and has been for a long time) are there any technical hurdles? Or is it just the bureaucratic gears turning at their typical pace?

Hmmm, I just re-read that and every sentence ends with a question mark. Apparently I'm feeling inquisitive.
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Old 05-16-2008, 10:17 PM   #6
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^ & why did they rename the Fisher Tract as Wilderness Lakes?

Poor ol' Mary & Evergreen was the old man's favorite.
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Old 05-17-2008, 06:52 PM   #7
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And Wild River Press opted not to purchase it as a gift to all of us?
You can ascribe that one to corporate greed. The board of directors and I voted not to cut into our multi-million-dollar profits...

Seriously, even if the state had purchased the property, there still would not have been any public access due to the encumbrances. There was an article on it in the Nov/Dec issue of the Adirondack Explorer. The asking price was only $1.8 million.

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Out of curiosity, why are they still separate? I assume the Wilderness Lakes Tract and Bear Pond Rd is the reason they were originally, but since Wilderness Lakes is now public (and has been for a long time) are there any technical hurdles? Or is it just the bureaucratic gears turning at their typical pace?
My assumption is that it is pending a revision of the APSLMP. Although it was updated in 2001, the last revision occurred in 1987. (It is supposed to be revised every 5 years... Why do today what you can put off for 30 years, right?) As far as DEC Region 6 is concerned, if they can't build a road or open a snowmobile trail there the name is irrelevant. When I asked a now-retired forester whether Jakes Pond was Pepperbox or Five Ponds, he didn't know and it didn't seem to matter to him.

Technically, the Pepperbox/Five Ponds boundary has been rendered meaningless. And for all the trainspotters out there, neither the NG Trails Illustrated maps nor the Adirondack Council's updated park maps show the new boundary correctly. The Pepperbox Wilderness now extends from the Beaver River on the south to the West Oswegatchie on the north; and from the old Bear Pond-Raven Lake roads on the east to Sand Pond on the west. It is no longer trailless, either. Within the expanded boundaries are 4 marked foot trails.

Bear Pond now has the distinction of being the only pond located in two wilderness areas at the same time. And if those miscreants on the north shore would just sell to the state...

Oh, hi Pondhopper!! Glad to see you're back!
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Old 05-17-2008, 06:55 PM   #8
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As for naming Wilderness Areas after people, check this one out:

Wild River Wilderness Area

And you thought I was just another pretty face!
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Old 05-17-2008, 07:52 PM   #9
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As for naming Wilderness Areas after people, check this one out:

Wild River Wilderness Area

And you thought I was just another pretty face!
HA! Your as wild as me.
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Old 05-17-2008, 10:21 PM   #10
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And you thought I was just another pretty face!
No, I didn't.

Thanks for the info. Interesting about Bear Pond. Stillwater misses out, huh? Pigeon Lake borders that bay on the east side of the railroad causeway, but I suppose it's pushing it a little to consider that part of the reservoir.
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Old 05-17-2008, 10:26 PM   #11
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Quote: "As for naming Wilderness Areas after people,........"

Good! Perfect. Then, based upon your inference- any further attempts in the future for naming any section of that area- any variation of "The Bob", should be moot and something containing the word Oswegatchie, would be more appropriate.

"Wilderness Lakes" seems so generic, too. Something like "Soda Lakes" et al would be more descriptive/appropiate IMO. But that will become a moot point, anyway- if it's combined w/others in the future.

BTW- I meant old man Fisher, not mine. Nice link

I think, some of those miscreants should be pressured to sell Think: 80's style greedy shareholders with an eye towards leveraging a hostile takeover.
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Last edited by pondhopper; 05-18-2008 at 12:53 AM.. Reason: mispell
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Old 05-18-2008, 11:30 AM   #12
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Colden: Notice I said that Bear was the only pond in two wlderness areas...

Pondhopper: The name "Wilderness Lakes Tract" for the Fisher Forestry land goes back to at least the 1980s. Yeah, it's kinda generic. It sounds to me like a PR name used to generate public support for its acquisition. Wherever it came from, the APA designated it the "Wilderness Lakes Primitive Area" for the 8 years that logging was being phased out. In ~1991, it was added to the Five Ponds WA, and in 2003 the DEC and APA made an administrative boundary adjustment. The road from Stillwater to Raven Lake, then east of Raven and Lyon to Bear Pond, and then Bear Pond Road to Buck Pond, is now the Pepperbox-Five Ponds boundary.

BTW, all this talk makes me want to go there again now. Thanks a lot guys!!! Like I didn't spend all of last year up in that area!
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