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Old 05-05-2016, 12:04 AM   #1
krister_W
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Boreas ponds access

Does anyone know if the Boreas ponds can be accessed by the public now?
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Old 05-05-2016, 12:09 AM   #2
DSettahr
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Yes, but the road is closed to all but foot traffic until the DEC determines how to manage the area. So you'd have to carry your canoe/kayak in if you're looking to paddle it.

If the road is added to the High Peaks Wilderness Area, it will be closed to motor vehicles permanently.
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Old 05-05-2016, 09:01 AM   #3
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I know the road is open for foot traffic beyond the gate, but what about camping?
If a soul were to carry in the five or so miles to LeBiere Flow, paddle up the Flow, carry to the Ponds, paddle the Ponds, and then reverse that route for the return...well, that's a pretty long day trip.

For my personal fitness and endurance (mental and physical) level, I would need to bring overnight gear and supplies. Maybe some other, younger bucks would have no problem as a day trip...

So, is any camping allowed?
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Old 05-05-2016, 09:47 AM   #4
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...So, is any camping allowed?
I haven't read or heard anything that it's not, other than stay off the lease properties. In any event, I'll let you know how it goes.
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Old 05-05-2016, 11:33 AM   #5
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Forgive me if I drift this thread a bit, but it is related to access.

I've not seen much debate here about the proposed land classifications, but maybe I missed it. The one thing I did notice, and is a bit of a concern I think is that if the DEC classifies the lower section as Wild Forest to keep Gulf Brook Rd open and allows snowmobiles in the winter, this could be a real mess for hikers and skiers accessing from Blue Ridge Rd.

IMO if they were going to do this it would nice to split up the hiking/ski trail from the snowmobile trail. They'd probably also want to consider adding a winter parking area at Blue Ridge Rd.

Also this may be counter intuitive but it seems to me that building a new snowmobile connector closer to Blue Ridge Rd and farther away from the Wilderness boundary to help minimize the noise for hikers and skiers. I doubt the state would do that because it would likely be more work to build a snowmobile trail that a separate hiking/ski trail. And unlikely even that would be thought of or allowed.

Does anyone know what the current snowmobile connector is in that area? I see there is trail north of Hoffman Notch Wilderness and in Vanderwhacker Mtn Wild Forest, but no current connection except perhaps along the side of Blue Ridge Rd.
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Old 05-05-2016, 01:22 PM   #6
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It seems to me that the ponds themselves (and all of the lands north of Boreas Ponds Road) will likely be added to the High Peaks Wilderness. The big questions are about how the road itself will be classified and managed:
  • Will it be open to public motor vehicle use to Boreas Ponds?
  • Will it be open to snowmobile use through to Newcomb?
A "yes" to either (or both) of these questions would require the road to be classified as Wild Forest.

Should the road be kept open to motor vehicles, I imagine that motor vehicle access will end short of Boreas Ponds themselves, by about a quarter of a mile or so, forcing paddlers to carry boats and gear over the final stretch. In other popular paddling areas in wilderness with nearby road access (Low's Lake, Lake Lila), this method seems to have generally worked pretty well at keeping the most disrespectful groups at bay.

The possible issue that you mention- the potential for conflict between foot users (snowshoe/ski) and snowmobilers- isn't something that I considered previously but I agree that it is worrisome.

Surprisingly, Protect! is actually advocating for the DEC to keep the road out of the High Peaks Wilderness, and open at least to snowmobiles. Their rationale is that the alternative, to construct a new snowmobile trail closer to Blue Ridge Road, would result in the state "cutting too many trees" (to paraphrase). If the state were to decide to construct such a trail, it is probably a sure thing that it would result in another lawsuit.

I don't think there currently is a snowmobile corridor in that area. The online snowmobile map doesn't show one. I think that is part of the demand for snowmobile access across at least part of the new acquisition- a connector corridor between North Hudson and Newcomb is needed.

Personally... I'm not generally in favor of automatically closing all roads on new state acquisitions based on unyielding principle alone. I support fully the idea of having a spectrum of opportunities, from deep, remote backcountry destinations that are little visited to heavily used city parks. I think that lakes and ponds that are managed primitively yet have some level of nearby motor vehicle access serve an important use in the Adirondacks, for groups like families that need a greater level of access, or for those who don't quite desire the full on wilderness experience.

I also support 100% the desire for a new connecting snowmobile trail corridor. I think that corridors that connect communities, whether they be for hiking or snowmobiling, are a great way to help stimulate at least a little bit of economic income in the Adirondack region.

However, with all of that being said: I am hopeful that Boreas Ponds Road is added to the High Peaks Wilderness and is closed to both motor vehicle and snowmobile use. The High Peaks Wilderness, at 190,000+ acres, is one of the largest wilderness areas in the Eastern US (only the Everglades is larger). I think that every opportunity we have to make it even bigger should be taken advantage of to the fullest extent possible.

Additionally, I haven't been there yet, but from the sounds of things, Boreas Ponds really and truly is a jewel of natural and scenic qualities. Experience has shown us time and time again that remoteness is often the single best way to protect such areas and keep them in as natural and as wild a state as possible. Areas with easy access always undergo significant changes to the resources and setting, whether it be by impact generated by users, or by management response to undo that impact and protect the area. In some areas, this is an acceptable trade off to facilitate that access. In Boreas Ponds, I suspect that it would be unacceptable to many.

I also feel that Allen Mountain should be kept as wild and as remote as possible. I understand that Allen Mountain represents a source of anxiety and trepidation for many aspiring 46ers... but becoming a 46er was never meant to be easy in the first place. The process of climbing the 46 should be one that forces individuals to grow and gain experience along the way. Many of the High Peaks are far easier to climb now than they were even as little as 10 or 15 years ago. Keeping at least a few (or even one) of them remote and inaccessible is needed to preserve the challenge. With easy access to Boreas Ponds, I think it would only be a matter of time before a herd path forms up the east side of Allen (or worse, an illegally constructed trail).

I'm fine with (supportive of, even) keeping a reasonable buffer along Blue Ridge Road as Wild Forest so that the snowmobile corridor can be constructed. (I would even volunteer to help construct such a snowmobile trail through volunteer work days if labor is an issue in order to better facilitate the addition of the bulk of the acquisition to the High Peaks Wilderness.)

Anyways, that is my two cents on the issue.
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Old 05-05-2016, 01:36 PM   #7
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D - my feelings are nearly exactly the same. I'm not a snowmobiler, and sometimes they get to me, but I understand the need in the Adirondacks to allow them access and have connections to towns.

I really, really, really don't like to have to use the same trail in the winter though for hiking and skiing. Not only is it not as enjoyable, it becomes rather dangerous in some areas.

I'm fine with the road staying open to traffic in the summer and drawing the border for the wilderness there - I actually think it may help alleviate some of the congestion at Upper Works (at least that is my hope).

If the state classifies the whole thing as Wilderness, which I highly doubt will happen, then all this a moot point and snowmobilers lose on every front. But if it goes the way I think it will, and that will be keeping a Wild Forest buffer near the road, I really hope it can be managed in a way to keep everyone happy.
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Old 05-06-2016, 10:40 AM   #8
Justin
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...I think it would only be a matter of time before a herd path forms up the east side of Allen (or worse, an illegally constructed trail).
I've never climbed Allen, but I'd be willing to bet that a path probably already exists from the White Lily Pond/Sand Brook road. As I'm sure you've seen many times, it is not uncommon to find illegally cut trails on state land coming from nearby private land leading towards an attractive landmark... or at least part way.
Anyone who's been to Allen ever happen to notice a possible path coming from that direction by any chance?

Last edited by Justin; 05-06-2016 at 11:04 AM.. Reason: Question
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Old 05-06-2016, 11:09 AM   #9
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I've never climbed Allen, but I'd be willing to bet that a path probably already exists from the White Lily Pond/Sand Brook road. As I'm sure you've seen many times, it is not uncommon to find illegally cut trails on state land coming from nearby private land leading towards an attractive landmark... or at least part way.
Anyone who's been to Allen ever happen to notice a possible path coming from that direction by any chance?
As a matter of fact I once did a spiraling BW ascent of Allen from Skylight Brook corkscrewing my way up the mountain 360 degrees. Saw lots (tons) of moose signs but no sign of a human-made path.
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Old 05-06-2016, 11:26 AM   #10
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Thanks for the reply, Neil!
I definitely take your word for it.
So much for my theory.
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Old 05-06-2016, 11:50 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by montcalm View Post
Forgive me if I drift this thread a bit, but it is related to access.

Does anyone know what the current snowmobile connector is in that area? I see there is trail north of Hoffman Notch Wilderness and in Vanderwhacker Mtn Wild Forest, but no current connection except perhaps along the side of Blue Ridge Rd.
I'm not a snowmobiler so I don't know of all the connectors, but I do know that a key component of all the former Finch acquisitions in the North Hudson area is connecting a snowmobile trail to Minerva and Newcomb. I've been into Boreas Ponds and foresee this road being a snowmobile trail, or at least part of it.

Meanwhile, this thread may shed some light on the regulations. I don't think camping is allowed yet, but I would confirm any use with DEC R5
http://www.adkforum.com/showthread.php?t=22902
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Old 05-06-2016, 12:24 PM   #12
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I don't think camping is allowed yet, but I would confirm any use with DEC R5
Just got off the phone with the DEC office in Ray Brook, whom couldn't answer my question and then transferred me to the Warrensburg office, whom also didn't know, but took my name & number and said someone will get back to me.
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Old 05-06-2016, 01:04 PM   #13
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Just got off the phone with the DEC office in Ray Brook, whom couldn't answer my question and then transferred me to the Warrensburg office, whom also didn't know, but took my name & number and said someone will get back to me.
Awesome, I'll be interested to hear what they tell you Justin.

The Ponds are beautiful but not extensive. They're really not that big of a body of water and very shallow at the northern end and could be weed-choked at times. That's why making LeBeire Flow and a short portage between it and the ponds part of a trip might make sense if parking is down by the flow. Who knows how this will end up as that debate lies ahead. I personally believe that since the Governor held his press conference there in 2013 and showed the place off that access via the road will be allowed at least to the flow.
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Old 05-08-2016, 09:11 PM   #14
Justin
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A friend & I (+ our dogs) backpacked in this weekend.
It took us 2 hours to reach LeBeir Flow, 2.5 hours to the dam at the Boreas Ponds, and it was by no means a difficult hike, as far as I'm concerned. However, our off-trail explorations once we got to the ponds was anything but easy.
Spectacular scenery, and some of the best loon serenades that I've ever heard!

Trip report with photos HERE.

Video will be posted soon.

Last edited by Justin; 05-09-2016 at 11:46 PM.. Reason: TR
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Old 05-10-2016, 10:15 PM   #15
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Cuomo officially made the announcement today. As you can see, they're talking it up pretty good: http://adkhunter.com/2016/05/cuomo-t...r-finch-lands/
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