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APA classifications under the radar

November 9, 2016
By JUSTIN A. LEVINE - Outdoors Writer ( , Lake Placid News

RAY BROOK - The state's recently acquired 20,000-acre Boreas Ponds tract is up for classification this year, but more than 100 other parcels are also being classified or reclassified by the agency as well.

And while Boreas may draw the most attention, the APA is looking for input on all the other classification decisions, too. Written comments on all classification proposals will be accepted until Dec. 30, and the APA is also hosting eight public hearings to take spoken comments around the state. Written and spoken comments carry the same weight.

The APA plans to classify more than 50,000 acres of land this year, the first time in five years that land will be classified by the agency outside of last year's Essex Chain decision. The bulk of that acreage is the Boreas tract, but the agency is suggesting adding more than 17,000 acres of wild forest, 161 acres of primitive land and 108 acres of state administrative lands.

Article Photos

The state Adirondack Park Agency is classifying more than 100 parcels of land this year, several of which would add thousands of acres to the High Peaks Wilderness area, seen here from Rocky Peak Ridge.
Photo — Justin A. Levine

Many of the classification decisions are far from controversial, like the APA's plan to classify part of the Lyon Mountain Correctional Facility as state administrative land. This is the same classification as where APA and state Department of Environmental Conservation office buildings sit in Ray Brook.

However, there are some larger tracts of land that may get overshadowed by the Boreas decision, like parcels that would be added to the Vanderwhacker Mountain Wild Forest and the MacIntyre West tract.

The APA is proposing to label MacIntyre West, which sits adjacent to the High Peak Wilderness Area and near Boreas, as wilderness. A 3.1-acre parcel would be labeled primitive since there is an existing road there, but the rest of the 7,365 acres would be added to the High Peaks.

Another 4,446 acres would be tacked onto the High Peaks from the MacIntyre East tract as well. Sitting in the towns of Newcomb and North Hudson, an additional 1,600 acres would be added to the Vanderwhacker Mountain Wild Forest. A little more than eight acres would be classified as primitive to accommodate an existing right-of-way (ROW) in the parcel.

Not all of the parcels up for classification this year are large though. The APA is proposing that a 0.25-acre and a 0.28-acre lot be labeled wild forest since they each currently serve as fishing access spots on the Saranac River in the town of Saranac. They would be added to the Taylor Pond Wild Forest.

There are a few other parcels that may be somewhat high-profile. A 246-acre parcel near Marcy Field in Keene is proposed to be labeled with three different classifications.

Three acres of this parcel lie between state Route 9 and the Ausable River, so those acres would be added to the Hammond Pond Wild Forest. Power lines currently have a ROW through the parcel, so the lines would be classified primitive and added to the Hurricane Mountain Primitive Area, while the rest would be added to the Hurricane Mountain Wilderness.

Just up the road, a parcel named Marcy Field would also be classified as wild forest. This is not the same as the actual Marcy Field, which is across state Route 9 from this 146-acre parcel. It abuts the Hammond Pond Wild Forest and would be added to the forest.

The Vanderwhacker Mountain Wild Forest would see another addition of 287 acres near Lake Harris state campground in Newcomb if the APA classifies the Hudson River Hyslop parcel as wild forest, even though there are currently private leases on the property.

Also near Boreas Ponds is the Casey Brook tract. The APA is planning to add the 1,451-acre parcel to the adjacent Dix Mountain Wilderness. This parcel is situated between the northeastern corner of Boreas and the Dix wilderness.

Locally, the Peninsula Trails in Lake Placid would be classified wild forest and added to the Saranac Lakes Wild Forest. The 43.5 acres may have water, power and sewer lines on it.

The APA would also like to classify the Belfry Mountain fire tower and trail in Minerva as wild forest and add the 0.82-acres to the Hammond Pond Wild Forest.

You can see the classification proposals in full at, but be warned, this is a huge document.

Written comments can be sent to, or by mail to Adirondack Park Agency, PO Box 99, Ray Brook, NY 12977.

Public hearings are scheduled throughout the state from now through the beginning of December. The locations and times of the public hearings can be found at



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