New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos announced Oct. 20 that the restoration of public motor vehicle access to the Four Corners Parking Area on Gulf Brook Road in the Boreas Ponds Tract. The completion of the installation of the temporary bridge over LaBier Flow Dam is an important milestone in the ongoing work to improve the road and promote sustainable recreation.
The Boreas Ponds Tract spans almost 20,000 acres across two Forest Preserve management units: the High Peaks Wilderness and the Vanderwhacker Mountain Wild Forest. It offers opportunities for a wide range of outdoor activities, including hiking, biking, camping, and horseback riding. It is perhaps best known for the remote and scenic paddling and fishing Boreas Ponds provide.
A severe storm on Oct. 31, 2019, caused significant damage to multiple bridges and culverts along Gulf Brook Road.
DEC worked to replace and improve upon this infrastructure to restore access and reduce potential damage from future storms. The temporary bridge installed over LaBier Flow Dam allows DEC to reopen the full length of Gulf Brook Road to both pedestrians and motor vehicles for the first time since the storm. The cost for this portion of the project is approximately $300,000 supported by NY Works, and is part of DEC’s strategic investments through the Adventure NY initiative to enhance public access to state lands and facilities and connect people with nature and the outdoors.
Additional work on road segments, signage, and several campsites is ongoing. Construction equipment may still be present in the vicinity of LaBier Flow Dam as finishing touches and cleanup concludes. Gulf Brook Road is a seasonal road that will close later in the fall or early winter once snow conditions prevent safe travel. The road will remain open to pedestrian use for the duration of the winter and reopen to motor vehicles in the spring following mud season.
For more information about the Boreas Ponds Tract, including important tips on parking restrictions and being prepared in the backcountry, go to DEC’s website.