The High Peaks Wilderness Complex and the Vanderwhacker Mountain Wild Forest Draft Unit Management Plan Amendments have been released for public review, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos announced today.
Two public meetings will be held on May 23, 2018, as follows:
- 10:00 a.m. at DEC Headquarters, 625 Broadway, Albany, NY
- 6:00 p.m. at Newcomb Central School, 5535 State Route 28N, Newcomb, NY
The High Peaks Complex Draft UMP Amendment proposes management actions for recreational opportunities on the recently classified lands in the southern and eastern portion of the High Peaks. Additionally, this Draft UMP Amendment proposes changes to the recreational infrastructure along State Route 73 to address safety and overuse issues currently experienced in these areas. The proposed management actions include:
Recently Classified Lands, including Boreas Ponds
- Establishing hiking and skiing opportunities within the newer tracts, as well as providing connections to portions of the existing High Peaks Wilderness lands;
- Establishing rules and outreach efforts to effectively educate and inform the public about the High Peaks Wilderness and the new lands added, including the former Dix Mountain Wilderness Area Lands, so that both the natural resources and wilderness experience of users can be protected;
- Providing access for persons with disabilities to hand-carry launches and designated primitive campsites at several locations;
- Enhancing paddling opportunities, including providing a hand-carry launch at Henderson Lake and Chapel Pond; and
- Designating primitive camping opportunities throughout the tract, including roadside, backcountry, and water access.
Overuse and Safety
- Constructing new parking lots and expanding current parking lots off State Route 73;
- Permanently moving the Cascade Mountain Trailhead to the Olympic Sports Complex;
- Constructing a new trail connecting the trailhead in the Olympic Sports Complex to the Cascade Mountain Trail; and
- Constructing a new trailhead parking lot for Ampersand Mountain off State Route 3.
While the Vanderwhacker Wild Forest Draft UMP Amendment proposes actions regarding recreational opportunities mainly on the recently classified lands in the northern portion of the unit, it also covers other smaller tracts of recently classified lands. The proposed management actions include:
- Establishing mountain bike, equestrian, hiking, and skiing opportunities throughout the tracts;
- Designating routes for public motor vehicle access, including parking;
- Selecting a preferred alternative for the community connection discussed in the 2015 Community Connector Trail Plan for the multiple-use trail that connects North Hudson and Newcomb;
- Maintaining nine miles of Forest Preserve road for motor vehicle access opportunities;
- Maintaining 3.4 miles of additional Forest Preserve roads for seasonal access and camping during big game hunting season;
- Providing access for persons with disabilities to hand-carry launches, equestrian facilities, and designated tent sites along several roads;
- Enhancing paddling opportunities, including a hand-carry launch on Boreas Ponds, LaBier Flow, and along the Hudson River;
- Designating primitive camping opportunities throughout the tract, including roadside, backcountry, and water access;
- Maintaining the historic cabin at the Four Corners and evaluating potential future administrative uses until a final disposition for the structure is determined; and
- Designating single-track mountain bike networks.
The Adirondack Park Agency will conduct a separate but concurrent public review of the Draft UMP Amendments’ compliance with the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan.