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Old 03-19-2014, 10:10 AM   #21
Bill I.
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I am looking at satellite photos to gauge what the recreational outlook might be for the Benson Tract; this is one place that will have my full attention this summer, if it is opened to the public in time.

It certainly looks like there is a substantial road network to explore there, several large vlies, and of course a portion of West Stony Creek. The new acquisition will consolidate that half of the Shaker Mountain Wild Forest, and is certainly a worthwhile investment. I think a snowmobile trail here is a foregone conclusion. Paddling Hartwell Swamp might be a possibility. I expect some user group will want to be able to drive at least as far as Tomantown. I don't see any permanent ponds or open ledges, except on the existing tract of state land to the north, along the new NPT corridor.

So here's a question:

Last year we all suffered through the highly politicized classification process for the Essex Chain, where everybody wanted something--and got a complicated mess as a result, thanks in part to weak advocacy on the part of organizations like the Geriatric Mountain Club.

What if the state had owned places like the Tomantown parcel at the time, and was considering its classification simultaneously? Would it have been easier for APA to see the bigger picture when drawing up their maps--the people who want motorized access can have Tomantown, and those who want wilderness can have the Essex Chain?

And if so, does that mean that wilderness advocates should make a stink over Tomantown? I can tell you right now that no one expects a controversy over this classification; the parcel is sandwiched between two Wild Forest tracts, and it has a road network that will be desirable for snowmobile trails.

But the existing state land south of Tomantown was dedicated in the Shaker Mountain Wild Forest UMP as a trailless area, and the parcel to the north is the home of the new NPT. The consolidation of these parcels will create a unified tract that would qualify for a Wilderness classification.

So if everybody wanted a piece of the Essex Chain--and got it--then should the motorless crowd demand something here, too? Do I hear any support for the Mayfield Hills Wilderness Area--the first designated wilderness within Fulton County?

Don't hold your breath waiting for groups like ADK to take action; the executive director is close to retirement and simply wants to go with the political flow. This is something that would have to start at the grassroots level.

Thoughts?
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Old 03-19-2014, 10:15 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by ADK Tank View Post
Justin,

I would give it a few years before exploring the Benson Road Tract, the whole area was just logged off by the nature conservancy extremely heavily. I don't know if I have seen an area logged off more heavily unless it was clear cut. Truck loads of 6" diameter logs coming out of there headed to the paper mill was the norm. I was surprised by it and I have a forestry degree. They just pulled the equipment out last Friday. If you do decide to explore send me a PM and I will tell you how to get to a pretty nice waterfall though.
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Thanks for the update Tank. Pretty sad when you think of what the name implies they (TNC) stands for!!!
Has anyone noticed the recent logging along the southern half of Elk Lake Road in the High Peaks? This too is on TNC land, on the Boreas Ponds tract that the state will be purchasing soon.

I'm hesitant to demonize TNC, though; this kind of logging on the future Forest Preserve lands is the price for having to hold on to it for so long. Everybody knew at the onset that TNC had taken a big financial risk acquiring a property that was so large. The logging revenue may have been required to keep the Adirondack chapter solvent until the state was finally in a position to buy the land.
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Old 03-19-2014, 10:59 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by Bill I. View Post
Has anyone noticed the recent logging along the southern half of Elk Lake Road in the High Peaks? This too is on TNC land, on the Boreas Ponds tract that the state will be purchasing soon.

I'm hesitant to demonize TNC, though; this kind of logging on the future Forest Preserve lands is the price for having to hold on to it for so long. Everybody knew at the onset that TNC had taken a big financial risk acquiring a property that was so large. The logging revenue may have been required to keep the Adirondack chapter solvent until the state was finally in a position to buy the land.
Bill,

as far as the logging part goes, I think you are right. It is the price that had to be paid to hold this land long enough for the state to buy it, but I was surprised at how heavily it was logged off and maybe they logged this portion of the land off more heavily becuase of the location and lack of "wilderness" potential.

I don't see this area ever becoming a designated wilderness area. There is a main corridor snowmobile trail along the existing road that has been there for decades. It is the only connector from the Great Sacandaga lake area to the rest of the trails in the Adirondacks. Also I believe that TNC gave snowmobile trail easements to the towns for this trail to make sure it would never be shut down in order for the towns to approve the sale to the state.
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Old 03-19-2014, 03:13 PM   #24
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I don't see this area ever becoming a designated wilderness area. There is a main corridor snowmobile trail along the existing road that has been there for decades. It is the only connector from the Great Sacandaga lake area to the rest of the trails in the Adirondacks. Also I believe that TNC gave snowmobile trail easements to the towns for this trail to make sure it would never be shut down in order for the towns to approve the sale to the state.
And the Essex Chain was expected to be mostly motorless, with the snowmobile corridors already routed along the periphery to avoid the need to cut through the interior of the new property. Look how well that worked.

A wilderness classification is NOT dependent upon forest quality; the fact that TNC just logged Tomantown is irrelevant.

A snowmobile trail to Tomantown is also irrelevant; as we learned with the Essex Chain, the APA is quite clever when it comes to finding ways to carve up a tract of land into multiple designations. Even with one snowmobile trail cutting through the area, there would be enough terrain left over to consider at least one wilderness designation, especially to the north.

The point being, regional politicians whined to Holy Hell when they thought a wilderness designation at the Essex Chain would somehow exclude their constituents and kill the economy--and they persisted until they got something out of it. Wilderness proponents should therefore return the favor by taking the Tomantown tract--which no one expects to be controversial--and proposing a motorless designation on all or part of the property, so that again "everybody wins."
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Old 03-19-2014, 05:15 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by ADK Tank View Post
Justin,

I would give it a few years before exploring the Benson Road Tract, the whole area was just logged off by the nature conservancy extremely heavily. I don't know if I have seen an area logged off more heavily unless it was clear cut. Truck loads of 6" diameter logs coming out of there headed to the paper mill was the norm. I was surprised by it and I have a forestry degree. They just pulled the equipment out last Friday. If you do decide to explore send me a PM and I will tell you how to get to a pretty nice waterfall though.
Thanks Tank.


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Originally Posted by Bill I. View Post
So here's a question:

Do I hear any support for the Mayfield Hills Wilderness Area--the first designated wilderness within Fulton County?


Thoughts?
I would definitely support a Wilderness Area classification, although I'm not sure how effective it would be at keeping out the illegal use of motor vehicles. Just today I followed these 4x4 ruts along the unmarked trail to "The Notch" within the Silver Lake Wilderness.
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Old 03-19-2014, 05:48 PM   #26
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Justin,

I would give it a few years before exploring the Benson Road Tract, the whole area was just logged off by the nature conservancy extremely heavily. I don't know if I have seen an area logged off more heavily unless it was clear cut. Truck loads of 6" diameter logs coming out of there headed to the paper mill was the norm. I was surprised by it and I have a forestry degree. They just pulled the equipment out last Friday. If you do decide to explore send me a PM and I will tell you how to get to a pretty nice waterfall though.
Everybody loves trees. Some like them vertical and some like them horizontal. I use to agonize oven each cut tree but have softened as of late. Without natural calamities a young forest accommodates a lot of species. I still mourn when I see a grandfather snuffed out.
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Old 03-19-2014, 05:56 PM   #27
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And the Essex Chain was expected to be mostly motorless, with the snowmobile corridors already routed along the periphery to avoid the need to cut through the interior of the new property. Look how well that worked.

A wilderness classification is NOT dependent upon forest quality; the fact that TNC just logged Tomantown is irrelevant.

A snowmobile trail to Tomantown is also irrelevant; as we learned with the Essex Chain, the APA is quite clever when it comes to finding ways to carve up a tract of land into multiple designations. Even with one snowmobile trail cutting through the area, there would be enough terrain left over to consider at least one wilderness designation, especially to the north.

The point being, regional politicians whined to Holy Hell when they thought a wilderness designation at the Essex Chain would somehow exclude their constituents and kill the economy--and they persisted until they got something out of it. Wilderness proponents should therefore return the favor by taking the Tomantown tract--which no one expects to be controversial--and proposing a motorless designation on all or part of the property, so that again "everybody wins."
Bill, how do you not become weary of being the paladin of wilderness? Don't you ever feel hopeless and forlorn over this inevitable battle? Well, here is one guy that appreciates the effort. Godspeed.
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Old 03-21-2014, 04:18 PM   #28
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There may be another parcel coming this year:

http://www.adirondackdailyenterprise....html?nav=5008
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Old 03-21-2014, 04:34 PM   #29
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Bill, how do you not become weary of being the paladin of wilderness? Don't you ever feel hopeless and forlorn over this inevitable battle? Well, here is one guy that appreciates the effort. Godspeed.
Years ago there were guys like Bob Marshall, Clarence Petty, Verplanck Colvin, etc.
Today there are guys like Bill Ingersoll.
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Old 03-21-2014, 04:40 PM   #30
Bill I.
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Bill, how do you not become weary of being the paladin of wilderness? Don't you ever feel hopeless and forlorn over this inevitable battle? Well, here is one guy that appreciates the effort. Godspeed.
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Years ago there were guys like Bob Marshall, Clarence Petty, Verplanck Colvin, etc.
Today there are guys like Bill Ingersoll.
Thanks. The way I see, there need to be people like me to counter the other "advocates" who will piss on places like Lot 8 if gets them something else.
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Old 10-27-2014, 01:35 PM   #31
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Buell Valley and Buell Mountain

Hello all, restarting an old thread for new info.

Is the "Buell Valley" area open to recreation now? Does anyone know of any leases in the area that would prevent hunting or hiking?

I have read posts in the past of Buell Mountain, and Buck Mountain having private property on them. I scoured the maps to find private landowners, but they don't show leased land.

Thanks for your help in this.
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Old 11-02-2014, 10:02 AM   #32
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ganeale58:

To the best of my understanding, nothing has yet changed about the acquired lands access-wise; perhaps someone else can offer you better information. However, I can tell you that the majority of the Buell valley area was already public, and is opened to hiking, etc.
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