APA moves to ban float-planes from Lows Lake

In late 2008, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation proposed a 10-year extension for float-plane access. But the APA struck-down the measure citing to goals of the state master plan.

The current measure will limit flights to 35 landings per month, with increased regulation during peak canoeing season. Operators will be limited to 165 landings on Lows Lake over an entire flying season.

In a DEC survey, 60 percent of respondent Lows Lake canoeists stated that they never saw or heard an airplane.

Often transporting a single customer requires several landings so that gear and equipment could also be dropped-off, Helms said.

"The one upside is that the DEC actually tried to broker some kind of broader use and didn't just roll-over to the enviros," Helms said. "We proposed several compromises - we certainly could have modified our operating procedures."

According to the Bog River Complex Unit Management Plan, the DEC has been unable to find a suitable replacement site for float-plan access.

"I really believe 90 percent of the canoers didn't care," Helms said. "Why do we have to pander to 10 percent of the population?"

Local government officials argue that the ban constitutes yet another attack on the livelihood of Adirondack residents by state officials who instead pander to tourists.

Further, they said that the designation of "wilderness area" is bizarre because Lows Lake only exists thanks to two man-made dams, said Adirondack Local Government Review Board Executive Director Fred Monroe.

But APA officials said that the ban is in-line with the master plan and a necessary step in preserving the wild areas of the park.

State officials are currently contemplating changing the Bog River Complex - which includes Lows Lake and five other ponds - from a "primitive" land-use designation to the more restrictive "wilderness" designation.

Public hearings regarding the issue will commence in coming months.

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