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Thursday, October 23, 2014
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No real difference

Wednesday, July 31, 2013 - Updated: 9:08 PM

When you go for a hike in any of the Adirondack Forest Preserve, visually, it all looks pretty much the same. You are in the woods. You are on a marked trail. Visually, you don't notice much difference between Wild Forest and Wilderness lands. In fact, many of the trails in Wild Forest provide a better "wilderness experience" than some trails in Wilderness, because they are used less.

About the only difference between Wild Forest and Wilderness is whether or not a seaplane might land or take off from a lake. But in true wilderness, such as exists in northern Canada and Alaska, the only way to reach a wilderness lake is by seaplane.

I would suggest that as long as a hiker is on a marked trail he is on wild forestlands. Once you go off trail and start to bushwhack, you are in the wilderness -- and it doesn't matter what the official land classification might be.

Here in Hamilton County, a majority of those who have been lost in the woods and never found have been in Wild Forest. Recent never founds have been in the Blue Mountain and Moose River Plains Wild Forest areas.

The occasional seaplane landing on Tirrell Pond in the Blue Mt. Wild Forest or on the ponds in the Sargent Pond Wild Forest does not ruin the "wilderness experience" for those who hike in. If the West Canada Lakes Wilderness was to be reclassified as Wild Forest, for example, the only thing that would happen is a few additional people, who don't have the physical ability to hike in that far, would be able to access and enjoy the lakes and trails there. As things now stand, that will never happen.

But the new state lands around the Essex Chain of Lakes, soon to be classified by the Adirondack Park Agency, could and should be classified as Wild Forest. This would make it possible for more people to access and enjoy these newly acquired lands, and for the towns and their residents to achieve commensurate economic benefits.

     

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