It’s Really Sensitive
This area contains the state’s steepest terrain, wildest whitewater rivers, highest-elevation lakes, largest wetlands and most fragile wildlife habitat. It protects the sources of the Hudson River and shelters cold-water fisheries that are threatened by climate change. It is home to a variety of rare, threatened and endangered species.
Creating this new wilderness would be a powerful attraction to a national tourism audience. Wilderness is very rare. Outdoor enthusiasts travel thousands of miles to find the natural beauty, peace and solitude that only wilderness can provide. There are only two places with significant wilderness acreage in all of the Eastern United States. They are the Florida Everglades and the 19 Wilderness Areas of the Adirondack Park. The Adirondack Wilderness System remains incomplete. This would bring it a big step closer to completion.
A new wilderness would reinvigorate interest from the 70 million people who live within an easy, half-day’s drive. Any of them could enjoy breakfast at home and lunch on the trail to Boreas Ponds, preparing to slip a canoe into the water for the last leg of the journey.
The new wilderness would provide a stunningly beautiful experience in hiking, skiing, paddling, camping, birdwatching, hunting, fishing, snowshoeing and horseback riding. Visitors would gain new access to a network of rivers and streams including the confluence of the Opalescent River and the Upper Hudson River, and access to remote flat-water paddling on Boreas Pond.
Good for Local Communities
Nothing sells like a unique experience. People can find public lands where they can ride jeeps, snowmobiles or all-terrain vehicles almost anywhere in the Northeast. What they can’t find – and may not know exists so close to home — is a place where solitude and quiet are the dominant forces and where nature is all that one can see, smell and hear.
Surrounding communities will benefit as gateways to an exciting new venture, creating opportunities for new businesses and new jobs. Visitors will need food, lodging, fuel, gear, supplies, entertainment and guiding services.
Two of the park’s most prosperous communities, Keene Valley and Lake Placid, are the two most popular entryways to the High Peaks Wilderness Area.
Good for the Environment
Opening new trails into the state’s tallest mountains from the south will relieve pressure in overused areas of the existing Forest Preserve, especially the eastern High Peaks Wilderness Area, near Keene Valley and Lake Placid. Too many campers in those places threaten water quality, forest health, wildlife and the area’s beauty. Spreading the public’s love to new places will reduce the pressure on the trails in the eastern High Peaks.
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