After the Adirondack Park Agency voted in October to correct a previously, bungled decision to classify both the lake water and lake bottom of Lows Lake as wilderness, DEC Commissioner Pete Grannis decided to turn the other cheek.
During their September meeting, the APA Board of Commissioners had voted to classify the lands, waters and lake bottom of Lows Lake-Bog River Flow with a wilderness designation by a close 6-4 vote.
The ruling was intended to incorporate most of the waters and the lakebed of Lows Lake/Bog River Flow into the adjacent Five Ponds Wilderness Area. The remainder of the lake was to be classified Primitive, a less restrictive designation that nonetheless prohibits motorized uses.
Following an uproar from local government leaders, combined with the fact the tenure of one of the APA 's state designated commissioners term had expired, a revote was scheduled for the Agency's October meeting.
In the October revote, three of the state agency designees, including Betsy Lowe, DEC Region 5 director, reversed the decision with a 7-4 vote.
The reversal infuriated several environmental advocacy groups who felt the decision betrayed the facts. Almost immediately, there were rumblings of a potential lawsuit to preserve the protection of the park's "Finest Canoe Route."
In the most recent action concerning the Lows Lake classification process, DEC Commissioner Pete Grannis sent a letter to Adirondack Mountain Club Executive Director Neil Woodworth stating: "Effective immediately, the department will manage Lows Lake as a wilderness lake, subject only to existing riparian rights and the limited floatplane access recently provided for."
Under the threat of potential lawsuit, Commissioner Grannis wrote in the letter to Woodworth: "I am writing to reconfirm the department's commitment to establishing a wilderness canoe route through Lows Lake as called for in the Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan."