RAY BROOK - As the Adirondack Park Agency holds its monthly meeting this week, one conspicuous absence from the agenda is a decision on Boreas Ponds.
The APA board meets monthly, and at the February meeting, the 11-member board heard almost a full day of presentations about the more than 20,000 acres that make up the state's latest land purchase.
The classification of Boreas Ponds has become a hot debate topic among Adirondack residents, town leaders and advocacy groups. Some groups are calling for a less restrictive classification that would allow motor vehicle access close or right to the shore of the tract's namesake waterbody. Other groups have put forward plans that would let motor vehicles get a mile from the lake, and still others are calling for the entire property to be declared wilderness.
Protect the Adirondacks, a green group based in Lake George, decried the delay in a press release issued last week. Executive Director Peter Bauer said he hopes the APA won't repeat what he called mistakes made in classifying the Essex Chain Lakes south of Newcomb.
"The hodge-podge of public uses that the APA approved at the Essex Chain Lakes area was designed to provide a variety of public use options with the purpose of attracting high numbers of people to the Essex Chain Lakes," Bauer said in the release. "Unfortunately, this approach backfired and overall public use has been low because the public does not know what it's going to find when it gets there."
The APA's monthly meeting typically spans two days, but this month the board will only meet on Thursday. It is not unusual for the board to have just a one-day meeting.
At 10 a.m., the meeting will kick off at agency headquarters in Ray Brook with the executive director's report, followed by the State Land Committee, which will decide if a proposed amendment to the Moose River Plains Wild Forest Unit Management Plan in the central Adirondacks conforms to the State Land Master Plan. Agency staff recommend the board approve the proposed change that would add a couple of parking areas and access for the disabled near Eighth Lake, while also expanding mountain bike opportunities by adding 23 miles of trails in the wild forest.
The committee will also vote to authorize a public comment period on a "Minimum Requirements Approach Guide (MRA) for the construction of trail bridges in areas classified as Wild Forest," according to the agenda. The MRA helps guide planning of trail bridges that are made of non-natural materials.
After lunch, the board will reconvene to hear a presentation on the Town of Colton's land use plan, and the Enforcement Committee will deliberate on an alleged junkyard in the town of Moriah.
To see the agenda or read the materials sent to each board member prior to the meeting, go to www.apa.ny.gov/Mailing/2017/03/index.htm.