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Boreas Ponds should be wilderness area

To the Times of Ti:

Your editorial about Boreas Ponds – part of the coming Finch Forest Preserve acquisition - is notable for its relative moderation and thoughtfulness when compared with those who see “motorized” as a necessary descriptor of “access.” Such views are very limiting not only in the types of wilderness access, but in the public values, including but not limited to economic ones, that underlie this acquisition and the stewardship of the land that follows. You rightly do not support motorized uses around or on Boreas Ponds, but I suggest there are other reasons for your position that could persuade you that this area should be managed as Wilderness by stopping motorized access at some reasonable distance, still allowing auto and pick-up access to that point, and then requiring muscle-power to reach the ponds and points beyond it, incorporating the ponds within the High Peaks Wilderness Area.

If Boreas Ponds and environs are viewed as a wilderness benefit, the lodge itself detracts from the wilderness values, attracts motorized uses (including invasive species), must be maintained and serviced at considerable cost, and thus the feasibility of relocating it to another place in North Hudson close to Rt. 28N where it can serve as a small business catering to wilderness and other recreationists should be studied.

As to persons with disabilities, study after study across the country shows that they value wilderness as much as able-bodied people do, and have no more desire to spoil wilderness by allowing motorized access right up to it and through it than anybody else. Further, they expect no special treatment to access wilderness that is unavailable to anybody else. There are a handful of organizations in our region which specialize in bringing persons with varying levels of disabilities to experience wilderness areas safely without use of motors of any kind. Those organizations and businesses can be encouraged, even expanded by this acquisition. We are all aging, and we are all going to experience diminished physical capacity. That does not mean that wilderness is any less popular even among those unable to physically reach it.

Editor’s note: The writer is a partner in the non-profit organization Adirondack Wild: Friends of the Forest Preserve

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