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Old 12-03-2014, 09:59 PM   #1
ADK123
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The Great South Woods Project

ESF, DEC and other partners are launching an initiative to enhance outdoor recreation in the southern part of the park.

http://www.esf.edu/aec/greatsouthwoods/

The first community meeting to gather the public's input will take place from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 17, at the Lake Pleasant Central School in Speculator, N.Y.
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Old 12-04-2014, 10:06 AM   #2
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Seems to me an east - west trail from boundary to boundary would be a good idea in that area. I also wonder if a longer circuitous route around the park could be established.
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Old 12-04-2014, 12:15 PM   #3
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I'm in stark disagreement there. Perhaps providing better facilities within this area will help discourage some of the actual abuse that happens. I'm not saying impact doesn't exist in other popular areas, but they are much better watched and maintained. The abuse in the southern areas seems to go unnoticed. Adding a little awareness and enjoyment to the general public may actually help the backcountry areas be maintained better. Maybe maintenance and backcountry or wilderness aren't two words everyone wants to see put together but we all know the reality of what happens when the DEC doesn't pay attention. I'd rather see more people use our public lands, and use them responsibly than a select few take their own liberties with them.
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Old 12-04-2014, 12:46 PM   #4
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Yes, but they could be better. But that's just my opinion. And I doubt if they were even to exploit half of what they want to accomplish, there still would be tons of room left for the bushwacker. And I guess I'm not only thinking of hiking... also skiing, climbing, canoeing, etc... this region is relatively untapped for that potential.

Personally, I hate to see the words development and Adirondacks in the same sentence, or even paragraph, but I can't say that I don't benefit or appreciate some of them. There are certainly positive ways to help these towns that don't involve camps on every square foot of lake frontage, huge hotels, golf courses and ski resorts.

I'm always glad people are looking for positive ideas on how to keep these places alive without the usual development/industry crap that always tries to sneak in.
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Old 12-04-2014, 02:33 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by montcalm View Post
I'm in stark disagreement there. Perhaps providing better facilities within this area will help discourage some of the actual abuse that happens. I'm not saying impact doesn't exist in other popular areas, but they are much better watched and maintained. The abuse in the southern areas seems to go unnoticed. Adding a little awareness and enjoyment to the general public may actually help the backcountry areas be maintained better. Maybe maintenance and backcountry or wilderness aren't two words everyone wants to see put together but we all know the reality of what happens when the DEC doesn't pay attention. I'd rather see more people use our public lands, and use them responsibly than a select few take their own liberties with them.
So will you be attending the public meeting to share your thoughts/concerns/opinions?
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Last edited by kwc; 12-05-2014 at 08:19 PM..
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Old 12-04-2014, 02:43 PM   #6
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So will you be attending the public meeting to share your thoughts/concerns/opinions?
I'd love to but unfortunately this is the only outlet I have. It's not possible for me to make a 4-5 hr drive after work on a Wednesday night and be there at those times.

Last edited by montcalm; 12-05-2014 at 09:34 AM.. Reason: Misinterpretation of bold
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Old 12-04-2014, 05:41 PM   #7
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I think when they are holding public meetings, it's possible to submit your thoughts and suggestions in writing. Might be something to look into. Personally, I'd like to see DEC enforce some of the existing regs more consistently in that area.
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Old 12-04-2014, 06:12 PM   #8
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I love the concept. People will protect the things they love. People will only love the things they know. As much as I don't want to see a body in my stomping grounds I know that the best way to save it is to have other people value it as I do.
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Old 12-04-2014, 07:25 PM   #9
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I think it's definitely a good discussion to have, especially before people officially weigh in on their opinion. I'm curious if people think that the southern Adks lack a certain degree of all types of outdoor recreational opportunities, or is this more about having easy access, large parking areas, trail register kiosks, more signs, official trail markers, and motorized access? I think we can all agree on enhancing DEC enforcement, but this area already does in fact host a wide variety of outdoor recreation, perhaps more so than any other region within the Adirondack State Park. No?
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Old 12-04-2014, 08:11 PM   #10
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Since they include motorized access, I'd say they're looking to increase snowmobile trails, maybe add some ATV trails, bring in more dollars. Maybe even build a casino with a nature trail to keep the environmentalists happy. It's all about the money. I enjoy a wide range of outdoor recreation in the Southern Adirondacks now, but none that require a motor, other than my transportation to the start.
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Old 12-04-2014, 08:24 PM   #11
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I'm curious if people think that the southern Adks lack a certain degree of all types of outdoor recreational opportunities
Some things are lacking compared to other areas, some are comparable, some are sufficient. It certainly deserves more attention.

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or is this more about having easy access
In some cases yes, in most no. I believe a certain amount of easy access hikes and paddles are good for occasional users. I don't see them making anything any easier except possibly maintaining or creating new trails. There are a number of easy access recreational opportunities but they are lacking maintenance compared to other regions.

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large parking areas, trail register kiosks, more signs, official trail markers,
You make this sound as those these are bad things. Maybe from your perspective or someone selling guide books, it is. Parking areas should be sufficient to accommodate users. In some cases they aren't and it becomes a mess or a safety concern. I can't think of any situations like that in the Southern Adks really.

Trail registers, signs, and trail markers are all good things in my mind. As are designated camp sites. There are far too many illegal ones in the area that aren't being managed for use. So you wind up with obvious, ugly man-made holes in the forest around lakes and streams.

Anyone can choose to leave a trail at any time. You don't need to sign the register, but those things are there for peoples safety. If the trails are properly designed and maintained, then the markers keep the majority of people to those areas. And best of all, signs and markers can allow people to explore as they feel. They don't need to be guided by a book. But even with the signs, people still use the books.

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and motorized access?
There is already a large degree of this in the area. There is a large degree of this in the entire park. I don't see the DEC putting up money to build roads or allowing private parties to do so. The only thing you may ever see them do is build a handicap accessible area, and frankly, I'd get used to that... it's part of the legislation now.

Last edited by montcalm; 12-04-2014 at 08:37 PM..
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Old 12-04-2014, 08:26 PM   #12
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Would state get more DEC staff to support a push for extensive use of the park?
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Old 12-04-2014, 08:30 PM   #13
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I never implied that they were bad things, I just asked a question, thanks for your reply Montcalm.

Last edited by Justin; 12-04-2014 at 08:40 PM..
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Old 12-04-2014, 08:44 PM   #14
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Sorry I interpreted it that way Justin, but how much illegal ATV activity do you see on well used trails? How many illegal campsites?

I can't see ATVs being any more prevalent than there already are... if anything more hikers = less ATVers. As far as the DEC getting behind that... unlikely unless it is already a vehicle road.

Snowmobile trails? There are tons already. If anything there are more than can be maintained and some should probably be rerouted, closed or turned into ski trails.
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Old 12-04-2014, 08:56 PM   #15
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Sorry I interpreted it that way Justin, but how much illegal ATV activity do you see on well used trails? How many illegal campsites?

Snowmobile trails? There are tons already.
Thanks, no apology necessary, and I do indeed see a fair amount in Wild Forest areas, not so much in Wilderness areas, but I do realize it happens.
And I too agree on the already existing network of communtiy-connecting snowmobile trails.
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Old 12-04-2014, 09:09 PM   #16
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I think we'll always see more illegal ATV activity in WFs than Wilderness. It's just the nature of the beast.

I just hope people aren't opposed to this because they think Speculator will turn into Lake Placid and Silver Lakes Wilderness into High Peaks Wilderness. It's simply not going to happen no matter how many trails they build.

I really do hate to see these parts of the park neglected because they aren't as spectacular as the high peaks.

I'm going to keep my eye on this and maybe they'll open the floor up for the rest of NY once it gets through the local level. My thought is if something like ATV trails comes up and makes it through there it will get squashed once it goes statewide. For those of you who can go to the meeting, please share what you find out.
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Old 12-04-2014, 09:25 PM   #17
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I'm going to keep my eye on this and maybe they'll open the floor up for the rest of NY once it gets through the local level.
Looks like that's the plan. Locations TBD:

"This meeting will be followed by workshops in individual communities across the region, from January through March, to brainstorm about ways to increase connectivity, diversify recreation opportunities, and improve recreation settings in both the less remote "front-country" areas near communities and transportation corridors, and the core "back-country" areas that offer remoteness and solitude."

(excerpt from this document:http://www.esf.edu/communications/view.asp?newsID=3147)

Last edited by ADK123; 12-04-2014 at 09:43 PM.. Reason: I can't spell. "except" changed to "excerpt"
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Old 12-05-2014, 09:23 AM   #18
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"I really do hate to see these parts of the park neglected because they aren't as spectacular as the high peaks."

That all depends one's definition of spectacular. If spectacular means campfire-less nights, trailheads with no available parking spots, and solitude being just a hollow word, then, yes, the High Peaks are spectacular.

I'll take something less, uh, "spectacular", thank you.

The southern reaches of the park-proper, are spectacular for a lots of reasons, at least for those of us with slightly different definitions of the word. Swimming, completely alone, in perhaps the most picturesque little hole one could ever imagine? Spending 8 days out in the wilds, without seeing, not even from a distance, another human? Leaning back at night, listening to the fire's final pops and cracks as its low slowly fades away?

That's spectacular, and it can be found in many, many locales outside of that other "spectacular" region.

I'm all for the GSWP.


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Old 12-05-2014, 09:38 AM   #19
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I'm in complete agreement Ordin and I knew someone would bring that up... but you can't deny the popularity of the high peaks and not understand why it is the way it is. To the majority, it is more spectacular in that it is more visually stimulating.

As much as I love the Southern Adirondacks (and all parts for that matter), I don't think they will attract the hordes even if this goes through.
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Old 12-05-2014, 11:39 AM   #20
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"I don't think they will attract the hordes even if this goes through."

You're correct. They won't. There's both good and bad fortune buried in that.

The good stuff. We won't campfire banned forever. We won't have to park in ditches because the trailheads are jammed up. We'll be able to wander into those remote places of solitude, and actually find solitude.

The bad stuff. People are not likely to advocate for things that they don't know and appreciate. The entire park needs advocates.

My time in the woods is appreciated with ALL my senses, not just my eyes. Were I to go blind tomorrow I'd still long for the smell of a campfire and the wet, watery spray of the mist jumping skyward as it courses over river rocks. My ears, as poorly as they still work, would still appreciate the sounds of winds wooshing through tree tops, ice creaking on frozen lakes, owls arguing with each other at night. The luxurious softness afforded by sleeping on the ground in a spruce needle laden forest floor would not be lost forever. Water freshly pumped from a lake or stream will still taste minerally and uniquely vegetal, and each body of water will taste different from all the rest.

Those that find only the spectacular in things visual are missing the majority of this world. I feel for them.

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