Lake George, nicknamed the Queen of American Lakes, is a long, narrow oligotrophic lake located at the southeast base of the Adirondack Mountains , in the northeastern portion of New York. The lake extends approximately 32 miles on a north-south axis, is quite deep, and varies from 1 to 3 miles in width.
In September 2015 I had the opportunity to take a canoe/camping trip on the Essex Chain of Lakes in the Adirondacks. The camping was primitive and extremely remote. However the tranquility was undeniably amazing!
In 2012, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that the state would purchase, in stages, 65,000 acres for the Forest Preserve, including the Essex Chain Lakes, OK Slip Falls, parts of the Hudson Gorge, and Boreas Ponds. The other properties have already been acquired.
“We are grateful to Governor Cuomo and his team for recognizing that investing in nature is an investment in New York’s future. From providing cost-effective natural water filtration and carbon storage to bolstering the tourism economy, protecting these forests and waters is an investment that will produce very big returns. We look forward to continuing to work with the state and Adirondack communities,” said Mark Tercek, president and CEO of the Nature Conservancy.
DEC and the Adirondack Park Agency now will have to decide how to manage and classify the Boreas Ponds Tract — decisions sure to be controversial.
Environmentalists want most of the tract added to the High Peaks Wilderness, whereas local officials favor a Wild Forest classification. The main difference between Wilderness and Wild Forest is that motorized uses and bicycling are banned in Wilderness Areas.
The Adirondack Council and Adirondack Mountain Club (ADK) are sponsoring a petition drive dubbed Be Wild NY to persuade the Cuomo administration to add to the High Peaks Wilderness not only the bulk of the Boreas Ponds Tract, but also the Dix Mountain Wilderness and some smaller parcels of former Finch, Pruyn lands. If this is done, the High Peaks Wilderness, already the largest Wilderness Area in the Adirondack Park, would grow to roughly 280,000 acres from 204,000 acres.
But North Hudson Supervisor Ron Moore, whose town includes Boreas Ponds, told the Adirondack Explorer last fall that he wants the tract classified as Wild Forest to facilitate public access and maximize its recreational potential. For example, he wants people to be allowed to bicycle on old logging roads in the area.
“We’re not looking to destroy the environment,” he said. “We’re looking to use an existing infrastructure of roads. We want as many people to enjoy the area as possible.”
Willie Janeway, executive director of the Adirondack Council, maintains that the Wilderness classification will attract a variety of outdoor enthusiasts, including hikers, paddlers, snowshoers, and cross-country skiers, and boost the local economy. He added that the tract could serve as a new gateway to the popular High Peaks Wilderness.
Controversy also has arisen over the status of Gulf Brook Road, a former logging road that leads to Boreas Ponds. Environmentalist groups agree that much of the road should be left open to allow the public to drive as far as LaBiere Flow, an impounded section of the Boreas River about a mile from Boreas Ponds. From there hikers could walk and canoeists could paddle and portage to the ponds.
Some wilderness advocates, such as Bill Ingersoll, publisher of the Discover the Adirondacks guidebooks, maintain that the road should be closed. This would require people to hike about seven miles to get to the ponds. In contrast, Moore contends that the public should be able to drive beyond LaBiere Flow to within three-quarters of a mile of Boreas Ponds. The disabled, he said, should be able to drive to within a quarter-mile of the ponds.
Gulf Brook Road also figures in a disagreement among environmentalists over where to draw the line between Wilderness and Wild Forest.
Protect the Adirondacks contends that Gulf Brook Road is the logical boundary. Under this scenario, it would also serve as a snowmobile trail in winter connecting North Hudson and Newcomb.
The council, ADK, and Adirondack Wild favor a plan that would extend the Wilderness boundary south of Gulf Brook almost to Blue Ridge Road, a major county highway. The snowmobile trail would then be cut between Blue Ridge Road and the Wilderness Area.
The hitch with this plan is that Gulf Brook Road would then penetrate the Wilderness Area. In order to allow people to drive to LaBiere Flow, the road would be classified as a Primitive Corridor.
Peter Bauer, executive director of Protect the Adirondacks, contends that creating a Primitive Corridor would weaken the protections for Wilderness in the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan. “If we’re going to have a motorized road, it should be in a Wild Forest Area,” he told the Explorer last fall. He also said that using the road for the snowmobile trail would obviate the cutting of thousands of trees.
Janeway counters that the Be Wild NY plan maximizes the amount of land to be classified as Wilderness and that state regulations would limit the number of trees cut for the snowmobile trail.
Other issues are whether a lodge on the south shore of Boreas Ponds, built by Finch, Pruyn as a corporate retreat, should be removed and whether a concrete dam at the foot of the ponds should maintained.
Author: Phil Brown Adirondack Explorer
It was the weekend of August 11th & 12th and our family made the 194 mile trip from our home here in Endwell to Lake George, NY to kayak and visit Fort Ticonderoga. Lake George sits on the southern end of New York’s massive 6.3 million acre Adirondack Park.
On Monday morning before heading north to Fort Ticonderoga I stopped in the Lake George, NY Post Office to mail 10 postcards around 0930. At the counter now and the only one in there I waited 5-6 minutes to be waited on while a few clerks gabbed behind the scenes. Once being waited on I informed the clerk all postcards had proper postage and I was requesting to have them hand canceled. I promptly received the glare of death and was told in a stern manner that the United States Post Office does not hand cancel! Ok I’m mad! In response, I politely informed the clerk that this was odd as I have not been in a Post Office that does not hand cancel (except in Grand Central Station, which is a whole other story) and asked if the Postmaster was available in order to clarify.
As you can see by my image provided the clerk finally obliged and I received my hand cancels on all 10 postcards. Cannot wait to return next year and ask again.
I love my Adirondack’s! On August 11th our family made a short overnight journey to Lake George for some kayaking and to visit Fort Ticonderoga. Weather was spectacular with low humidity, sunshine and temps only near eighty degrees. We launched from the boathouse of Lake George Kayak Company http://www.lakegeorgekayak.com in Bolton Landing. Here we rented Max a kayak for his first solo voyage. Max rocked it and most importantly loved it. Now we have purchased him his own kayak.
Lake George was abundant with boat traffic and the wakes at points were taking power boats right out of the water. It was both exciting and a bit nerve racking at the same time. Surprisingly enough all four of us barely had any water in our boats.
On the 12th we drove north to Fort Ticonderoga. I haven’t been there since I was a kid and my wife and sons had never been there. So it would be a new experience for us all. Fort Ti is pretty awesome and the tour is well informed. We were treated to a live musket fire demonstration. Was hoping for some cannon fire myself but the musket’s were cool.
The last week of nothing but glorious sunshine has me chomping at the bit to set off on an adventure in my kayak. Late last summer I began to get up well before sunrise and travel to the Finger Lakes Region of New York State to watch the show. There is something so peaceful and surreal about the quiet calm at that time of the morning. The beginnings of a new day, another day I’m alive enjoying life. The water is like that of glass as the calls of wildlife echo throughout.